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Brookhaven IDA board again rejects tax breaks for $55M senior housing project

Heatherwood Golf and Villa has most of the

Heatherwood Golf and Villa has most of the approvals it needs to build the $54.9 million project, but company officials have said they can't start construction without tax breaks.   Credit: Randee Daddona

The Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency has again rejected a Commack developer's request for more than $2 million in tax breaks to build a senior housing complex at a South Setauket golf course.

Heatherwood Golf and Villa's application for economic assistance failed to garner the four votes needed on Monday for approval, IDA board chairman Frederick C. Braun III said in an interview. The board voted 3-2 in favor of the plan, but two board members were absent, he said. 

It marked the second time in four months that the IDA board rejected the Heatherwood plan. The board voted 4-3 in August to deny the application.

Heatherwood officials and their attorney, Peter Curry of Uniondale, did not return calls for comment.

Braun, who voted in favor of the tax breaks, said he is not sure Heatherwood officials should try again to get the plan approved.

“Based on the sentiments of the board, I would say probably not,” he said, adding that changes proposed by Heatherwood officials failed to persuade opponents on the board to change their votes.

Heatherwood has proposed building 200 residential units, including apartments and houses, at the 70-acre golf club at 303 Arrowhead Lane. The sprawling club, which would be reduced from 18 holes to nine, includes parts of Centereach and Port Jefferson Station.

Heatherwood has most of the approvals it needs to build the $54.9 million project, but company officials have said they can't start construction without tax breaks.

The latest Heatherwood application requested about $2.2 million worth of sales and mortgage tax abatements and payments in lieu of taxes to defray construction costs. The proposal would have paid about $1.454 million more to school, fire and library districts and Brookhaven Town than the plan rejected in August, Braun said.

The new proposal also would have increased the number of affordable and "workforce" housing units that would be built at the complex, Braun said.

Felix Grucci and Frank Trotta voted against the plan, while Braun, Martin Callahan and Scott Middleton voted for it. Gary Pollakusky and Ann-Marie Scheidt, who opposed the plan in August, did not attend Monday's meeting, Braun said.

Ed Garboski, vice president of the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Civic Association, said he was pleased the proposal was rejected.

More than a dozen residents had spoken against the plan at a public hearing in July, citing concerns about traffic. They said they also worried that reduced tax payments would hurt the Three Village and Comsewogue school districts.

“The community hasn’t changed their minds about what’s going on,” Garboski said. “We didn’t feel they should be getting the tax breaks there. That’s twice now. I’d be hopeful that with the other two people there, they still wouldn’t have voted for it.”

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