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Board withholds decision on Bayport boat center

Islip Town Hall in an undated photo.

Islip Town Hall in an undated photo. Credit: Erin Geismar

The Islip Town planning board has reserved decision on the pending zoning application for a heavily debated plan to build a boating center in Bayport.

U.K. Motorsports Ltd. wants to create a boat repair and sales facility on a 1.3-acre parcel on Montauk Highway and is seeking a change of zone, along with three special permits that would allow for boat sales, storage and repair.

But several residents of nearby McConnell Avenue said at a hearing April 4 that the business would bring noise and exposure to potentially toxic gases, impacting residents' quality of life and property values.

"We're looking at an industrial operation . . . being set up in a residential area," said Tim Boyd, whose home on McConnell abuts the property.

Justin Lite, a West Islip attorney representing Michael DePalo, who purchased the land for $400,000 earlier this year with plans to open the facility this summer, said his client has spent about $10,000 cleaning the parcel, which he said had become a dumping ground for debris, building materials and garbage.

The land, developed as a food stand in the 1940s and later used for a luncheonette, has stood vacant for several years, said Lite, who described DePalo as an "impeccably clean and honest" skilled boat mechanic.

DePalo said the business would be family-run and operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with about 20 boats for sale and 25 in storage.

"My vision for this place -- it would probably be one of the nicest properties on Montauk Highway," said DePalo, who operated Nicolls Point Marina in Oakdale for 20 years. He said the mechanical work would take place away from the abutting six homes.

Several DePalo supporters testified on his behalf, including Bob Draffin, president of the Bayport Civic Association, though some residents said the association had not consulted them.

Planning Commissioner Dave Genaway said the town would like to further research the residents' concerns and recommended the board reserve a decision, which is typical of a first board hearing.

The board also reserved decision on an application from O'Shea Properties of Ronkonkoma for a parking relaxation for its property on the south side of Veterans Memorial Highway in Holbrook, which would allow a dance school to open at the site.

The company is requesting a 42 percent reduction in the 55 required parking spaces at the building, which is home to schools for karate, children's gymnastics and music.

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