The West Islip School Board said Tuesday they could not come to an agreement with the selected developer to turn the abandoned Emil D. Masera Elementary School property into senior apartments.
Steve Gellar, president of the school board, said discussions are ongoing with another developer who previously made a bid. Gellar said they would like to continue with the proposal.
“After much discussion and deliberation, the Board has chosen to stick with its original plan to build a fifty-five and over community, but we are still exploring the type of housing and other critical components,” Gellar said in a statement.
School officials said the proposal for the 650 Udall Rd. property was to turn the building into housing that would be a mixture of condos and two-bedroom, two-bathroom rentals.
Officials had to decide before the March 12 board meeting whether to put a proposition on the ballot to approve the sale, but an agreement could not be reached with the developer and schools were closed amid the spread of COVID-19. The proposition will not appear on the ballot in May.
Gellar said the health crisis will lengthen the time to complete negotiations between both sides. The developer, who has not been named, will present a proposal to the community in an open forum when a deal is finalized and safe to do so, Gellar said.
The building closed its doors in 1992 due to declining enrollment, Superintendent Bernadette Burns said. Eastern Suffolk BOCES, which leased the building in 2000 through 2009 and in 2010 for another 10 years, vacated the building in October.
At a community forum in February, the majority of residents who spoke said they were not in favor of the proposal. The developer could build up to 132 units pending town approval.
Joe DeCarlo, president of the West Islip Association said residents would still like to see single family homes.
“We're hoping that this school board would keep the character of the surrounding community the same,” DeCarlo, 66, said. “It’s only fair. We’re one community and we feel that we should be supporting residents of that area.”
John Davis, president of the Willetts Point Association, which has been involved in civic matters in the hamlet, said the board should listen to what the community wants.
“Somebody is going to develop it into something,” Davis, 75, said. “The board’s position is they’re trying to do what’s best for the community.”
Bus driver indicted ... Jamaica station improvements ... No booze on the LIRR for SantaCon ... Motorcycle toy delivery