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Islip recommends zoning change on controversial lot

The Islip Town planning board has recommended zoning

The Islip Town planning board has recommended zoning changes for a controversial East Islip parcel the town sold to a developer last year. It voted 5-2 on an application for the site known as 100 Carleton Ave. (Dec. 13, 2013) Credit: Steve Pfost

The Islip planning board has recommended zoning changes for a controversial East Islip parcel the town sold to a developer last year.

The planning board voted 5-2 last week on the application for the site known as 100 Carleton Ave. LLC in East Islip. Board member Joseph DeVincent, who had secured an ethics investigation into the sale of the site, voted against the recommendation, as did Michael Kennedy.

The application seeks to rezone the 2.45-acre site at Carleton Avenue and Union Boulevard from partly residential and business to all business, with no deed covenants or restrictions.

The town board has scheduled a change-of-zone public hearing on the application at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Town Hall.

The site is a repair and maintenance shop for the town's Department of Public Works vehicles.

In 2012, the board voted to sell the property to restaurant developer John Bohlsen for $3.2 million. He asked the planning board to eliminate deed covenants and restrictions limiting the property to a used-car lot and automobile showroom. The Bohlsen Restaurant Group plans to develop the parcel into a medical office building.

Spurred by complaints from neighbors, DeVincent in September asked the town's ethics committee to look at how Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt handled the sale of the property to Bohlsen, who is her neighbor, contributed to her re-election campaign, and has used her husband's legal services.

DeVincent also asked the ethics board to investigate how the property was advertised and how potential buyers were solicited before the board agreed to sell to Bohlsen.

The ethics board found no impropriety with the sale.

At the meeting last Tuesday, DeVincent said the issue at hand was the zoning change, not a review of the sale. "While I share the concerns about the way the sale was brokered and the way the sale was negotiated . . . the zoning issues are separate," he said.

After the vote, resident Shawn Linz said he was "very" disappointed in the board's decision. Linz, who lives adjacent to 100 Carleton, tried to submit a letter to the planning board, though chairman John Schettino told him there was no public comment portion.

Linz later said at a town board meeting that "there is a cloud hanging over the sale of this property," and he asked the board to postpone Thursday's public hearing until plans for the project are filed with the planning department.

None of the board members responded to his request at the meeting.

Bergin Weichbrodt did not respond to a request for comment. Town attorney Robert Cicale said Bergin Weichbrodt should not comment on the application so close to the public hearing. "I feel it's improper for any council member to comment on the eve of a public hearing," he said.

 

The property in question

WHAT: 100 Carleton Ave.

WHERE: Corner of Carleton Avenue and Union Boulevard in East Islip

SIZE: A 2.45-acre lot that was an Islip Department of Public Works shop for maintenance and repair of town vehicles and may become a medical office building

PRICE: $3.2 million

BUYER: John Bohlsen of the Bohlsen Restaurant Group

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