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Proposal for 264 apartments at Colonial Springs Farm moves forward

The latest apartment proposal has been slowly moving through the Babylon Town approval process for two years.

Colonial Springs Farm & Nursery in Wheatley Heights

Colonial Springs Farm & Nursery in Wheatley Heights is pictured April 28, 2017. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Town of Babylon board members on Wednesday are to vote on an environmental report for a proposed Wheatley Heights apartment complex that neighbors have been fighting for more than a decade.

Colonial Springs Farm owner Gustave Wade wants to use 16.09 acres on the southern end of his 32-acre farm — the last working farm in the town — to build 264 one- and two-bedroom rental units.

Dozens of neighbors have slammed the proposal as too dense, saying it would increase traffic and place a burden on the Half Hollow Hills school district. Wade has countered that the development would meet a need for rentals in the area and would bring in more than $1.2 million in additional tax revenue, of which more than $763,000 would go to the school district.

Wade has been trying to redevelop the farm since 2001 when he proposed building 494 senior units and 100 assisted-living spaces on the entire site. In 2004, he sought to build 264 senior apartments and 149 co-op units. In 2006, the town board approved Wade’s application to build 56 single-family homes on the site.

The latest apartment proposal has been slowly moving through the town approval process for two years, with the last public action taking place in June 2017 when hearings were held on the proposed rezoning and on the draft version of the environmental report.  

“I think the long time period in between is really about the proposed mitigations being looked at very carefully,” said Rich Groh, the town's chief environmental analyst.

He said many of Wade’s proposed mitigation measures are still being worked out, but one change to his original proposal calls for 54 units to be made affordable housing, with 10 of those units set aside for disabled military veterans. Those individuals would not have to pay rent for two years, Groh said.

Wade has also proposed placing two radar speed signs on Colonial Springs Road to alert drivers to their speed and the speed limit for that area.  

At the Wednesday night board meeting, members are expected to vote on accepting the environmental report findings. If that is done, then the town will have a 20-day public comment period. The town will then have to adopt the final report at a later date before voting on the rezoning.  

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at Town Hall, 200 E. Sunrise Hwy., Lindenhurst.

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