North Amityville residents expressed concerns Monday night at a hearing for a proposed apartment development in their neighborhood.
Bunt Development Corp. of Manhasset wants to build 98 one-bedroom rental apartments plus a caretaker’s building with an apartment, office space and storage on six acres between Harrison Avenue and Steele Place. The proposal is before the Babylon Town planning board and requires a zoning change, from single-family homes to multiple residences.
Mark Garabrant, the attorney for the developer, said at the hearing that there will be 13 two-story buildings. The units, which will be 1,100 square feet, are expected to rent for $1,400 to $1,500 per month, with 20 percent designated as affordable units as required by the town.
Residents who live on Harrison and Albany avenues, which abuts the proposed development, said they are concerned about the increase in traffic to the area, which they said already has busy roadways. Adding more vehicles without more traffic lights and signage is a “disaster waiting to happen” one resident said.
“It’s almost impossible to get out of my driveway because of the traffic,” said Rosalind Johnson, who lives on Albany almost directly across from the proposed entrance/exit for the development.
The proposal will undergo a traffic study, Garabrant said, but the proposed driveway off Albany Avenue — which board member Edward Wynn also questioned — had been deemed acceptable by the town’s traffic engineer, he said.
Residents also questioned the proximity of the apartment buildings to homes. Bunt attorney Steve Kretz said there would be 25 feet between the properties on Harrison and the new buildings. Many of those homes have rear yards of more than 200 feet, he said, and there will be six-foot-high fencing around the complex.
Residents noted crime in the neighborhood and more recent attempts to rebuild the community through single-family homeownership.
Kretz said company head Kadandale Shetty is investing $4 million, “probably one of the single largest investments in North Amityville” in some time. “This will breathe life into the neighborhood,” he said.
The Plaza at Amityville, a 51-unit affordable housing complex built more than 30 years ago, is located near the project, and Greybarn, a 500-apartment luxury rental complex, is being constructed about a mile away.
“There is an oversaturation of apartments,” said Johnson, a 65- year resident who noted Shetty bought the land more than 40 years ago from her family, who ran a farm. “It doesn’t make sense. They are hurting a community that’s struggling to develop.”