The developer behind a senior housing project in Elwood that neighbors had fought against for years — and lost — is back with a second proposal.
Jericho-based Engel Burman is proposing a 190-unit townhouse community for ages 55 and older in Elwood on a 14.32-acre former manufacturing site, less than two miles from the Seasons at Elwood, which faced deep opposition from residents when it was first proposed in 2014 and led to tense public town meetings.
Town board member Gene Cook said he plans to sponsor a resolution at the Feb. 23 town board meeting to change the zoning on the parcel from residence and light industry districts to garden apartment special district.
Engel Burman Daly Road LLC applied for the zoning change, a requirement before it can start developing the Seasons at East Northport on Daly Road.
David Burman, a partner in Engel Burman, said the demand for that type of housing in the area helped in the decision to return to Elwood.
"After all the backlash there was huge demand; we sold out very quickly," he said.
He said building housing on the former industrial site is a better fit for the surrounding residential neighborhood.
Cook voted against the 256-unit Seasons at Elwood because he said at the time the traffic impact on Elwood Road would have been too intrusive, but now believes that project turned out well.
The property is located on the east side of Daly Road, just south of Ellendale Court, with Doyle Court to the east. Access to the townhomes is proposed on Daly Road and Doyle Court. Representatives of the developer said at a Dec. 15 public hearing on the zoning change application that the height of the buildings will be no taller than 35 feet.
Cook said the new proposal would have less of an impact on traffic compared with the Seasons at Elwood, and residents of the development would access nearby shopping and entertainment using Daly Road and Doyle Court.
"That’s key," Cook said. "With COVID and how businesses are hurting we need to get things moving fast."
The development will comply with the town’s affordable housing requirements, which dictates 20% of units must be made available through an affordable housing lottery administered by the town’s Community Development Agency.
At the public hearing, experts hired by the developer touted tax benefits of the development to the community, minimum traffic impact and the aesthetic improvement to the vacant lot owned by Engel Burman.
They also noted that the current zoning for industrial use would allow for such things as "a last-mile type warehouse and distribution center" or a 45-foot tall commercial building.
"The change of zone represents a true downzoning of the property as we are replacing a large industrially zoned site with a very reasonable designed low intensity residential development," Uniondale-based attorney William Bonesso said.
Several residents who spoke at the public hearing expressed concerns over environmental issues at the property, traffic and insufficient community outreach about the development. A local business owner and a representative from the Long Island Builders Institute spoke in support of the project.
The developer's website — engelburman.com/dalyrd/ — has frequently asked questions about the proposed Seasons at East Northport.