Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter delivers the 2023 State...

Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter delivers the 2023 State of the Town address at Town Hall on Wednesday. Credit: James Carbone

The Town of Islip is creating a new long-term policy plan that will outline “goals and objectives in critical areas like housing, the environment, and job creation,” Supervisor Angie Carpenter said at her annual State of Town address on Wednesday.

"Our town has expanded. So I’ve made it our duty to revisit the visions of yesterday ... and get to work to foster smart and sustainable development that will set the stage for growth for decades to come," Carpenter said.

The town's last comprehensive was adopted in 1979 and has undergone revisions since then.

The new plan will be open to public input.

Carpenter criticized Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to add 800,000 housing units statewide in the next decade, including on Long Island, where several town supervisors have expressed concern over how the proposal could interfere with local control over zoning rules.

"However, we are not deaf to the need for more housing," she said. 

Carpenter highlighted housing opportunities created under the town's "adaptive reuse strategies," including 75 affordable senior apartments on Mechanicsville Road in Bay Shore and the partial completion of what will be more than 250 residential units at Gull Haven Commons in Central Islip. Adaptive strategies involve reusing existing structures for new purposes.

"In total, we have over 2,000 residential units in various stages of development ," Carpenter said. "Islip is growing smartly in conjunction with our civic groups, at a pace and in a direction that makes sense for our town’s unique identity."

On the economic front, Carpenter, said her tenure has "closed on over 100 projects, representing over $1 billion in capital investment and more than 9,000 jobs." As an example, she pointed to Water Lilies Food, a global commercial food manufacturer that expanded last year to the old Entenmanns Bakery in North Bay Shore, bringing 300 new jobs. 

The town has allocated grants up to $5,000 to more than 350 small businesses and nonprofits over the past year through a program that's underway, funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act, she said. It also has extended outdoor dining permits through Jan. 31, 2024.

Carpenter also highlighted ongoing investment into Long Island MacArthur Airport, which is owned by the Town of Islip, and continued progress on the $2.8 billion Midway Crossing development in Ronkonkoma. The proposal calls for 2.7 million square feet of new construction, including a convention center; a 300-room hotel; health sciences facilities; a new air terminal at Long Island MacArthur Airport; and a walkway connecting the airport and Ronkonkoma’s Long Island Rail Road station.

The town has continued to improve local parks, including Roberto Clemente in Brentwood, which was the site of illegal dumping in 2013 and 2014 and will soon be home to a new skate park. 

Ross Park and Byron Lake Park are also undergoing renovations, Carpenter said, and the town is investing in a new inclusive play area at Sayville Marina Park and additional pickleball courts.

The town is also working to clean up its waterways. The municipality has obtained an emergency permit to dredge in areas where it’s difficult for boaters to navigate at West Islip Marina, the first step in renovations that will include rehabilitating the boat ramp and west side bulkheading.

District 1 Councilman Jorge Guadron, a Democrat, said, “Municipalities know best the sentiment, needs and strengths of our communities," adding, “However, more can be done to ease the housing crisis we face today.”

Guadron said new development projects in the town with more than 10 units should be required to offer 30% or more of those units as affordable workforce housing for different income levels, and the town should offer tax rebates or abatements for every additional 5% of eligible units made affordable.

Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood) said Carpenter and Ramos have developed "a very good bipartisan relationship" and have been able to "partner up on a lot of projects." He said he's been able to help secure millions in funding for town projects, such as those at Roberto Clemente park.

"Although we differ in ideology, ideology has nothing to do with a lot of what we both do," he said. "There is no Republican way to build a park ... We just have to roll up our sleeves and get it done."

Ramos said, however, that he supports the governor's housing plan. More affordable housing will create more options for people to live in a broader range of communities, he said.

"This initiative will serve to diversify other more wealthy communities on an island that is one of the most segregated in the United States," he said.

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