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Developer behind North Babylon proposal changes plans after outcry

A parcel on Deer Park Avenue in North

A parcel on Deer Park Avenue in North Babylon slated for apartments sits next door to Marion G. Vedder Elementary School on April 24. Credit: Newsday/Rachel O’Brien

Developers seeking a $2.2 million tax break to build a 40-unit apartment complex next to a North Babylon elementary school have reconfigured the project after public outcry from hundreds of residents.

About thirty people spoke at the Town of Babylon Planning Board public hearing on March 4, more than a dozen sent letters objecting to the plan, and hundreds signed petitions asking town officials to reject the application to develop the 2.2-acre lot at 766-768 Deer Park Avenue.

The vacant lot is zoned for business use, is surrounded by small businesses and needs a zone change to multifamily residential.

It’s south of Marion G. Vedder Elementary School, which drew concern from residents citing fear that traffic would be detrimental to students.

“North Babylon residents care about the safety of our children and of our community,” resident Cesar Garcia wrote in a March 6 letter to town officials. “We oppose this development. And I hope you do the right thing for our children and the future of our community. This development will not serve the best interests of residents.”

The site plan for the 1,133-square-foot, one-bedroom units has been altered to address some concerns, including relocating apartments planned along the rear property line close to residences. Instead, parking spaces will be in the rear, among other spots throughout the development.

The amended plan increases buffers along the property lines, widening the original 15 feet in the rear to 25 feet, and from 14-15 feet on the sides to 19-20 feet.

The original 80 parking spots were increased to 91 after residents said they feared cars would park on nearby residential streets.

The original plan called for an almost 3,000-square-foot stand-alone recreational building, which has been replaced with a single 1,133-square-foot unit.

Finished basements will be replaced with unfinished basements for storage only. Residents feared they would be used as living space, potentially adding bedrooms and tenants.

Dan Baker, a lawyer from East Meadow-based Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP, said his clients, including principal owner Robert Curcio Jr., met with civic leaders and residents.

“They took in the comments and changed the plans to accommodate the concerns,” Baker said.

The proposal needs approval from the planning, zoning and town boards. A second public hearing with the  planning board will take place May 20 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall in Lindenhurst.

Curcio has applied for a 44 percent tax break from the Babylon Industrial Development Agency, saving him $2.2 million over 20 years, if approved.

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