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Residents crowd meeting on plan to oust mobile home park

Elvis Jr. shows off his bicycling skills while

Elvis Jr. shows off his bicycling skills while riding up and down his street at Frontier Park, a trailer park in Amityville. (March 20, 2011) Credit: Nancy Borowick

More than 100 residents of a North Amityville mobile home park flooded a Babylon Town planning board hearing this week on a proposed development that will eliminate the park.

But few residents of Frontier Mobile Home Park spoke at the Monday meeting once planning board chairwoman Patricia McMahon warned that the board would only hear "site-plan specific" comments.

Developer R Squared Real Estate Partners of Plainview is looking to build 500 apartments with retail space at the site of the 20-acre park. Planning board approval is one of the final steps for the project.

The planning board reserved decision on the plan and requested further information regarding landscaping, security and fire safety among other concerns.

More than 500 residents live in about 300 mobile homes in the park, paying a monthly rent of about $600 to owner H. Lee Blumberg. Residents said their homes, which they purchased for tens of thousands of dollars, are too old to relocate.

Speakers at the meeting raised questions of whether the development would bring more traffic to the already-busy Route 110. Several also questioned the need for more apartments and retail when empty developments and storefronts already dot the region.

Park resident Nelson Cortes, who is a volunteer with the North Amityville Fire Department, asked about fire safety since the project includes four-story buildings for which he said the department has neither the equipment nor training. R Squared has agreed to spend $250,000 for a new truck, but after the meeting, Cortes said the money "will not even pay for training."

Dennis Andreano, 62, who has lived in the park for 30 years, wondered how the board could consider the plan while the park's civic association has three pending lawsuits to stop the redevelopment. He also questioned R Square's relocation offer of $20,000 over three years once residents have moved.

"I can't afford a house by myself," he said. "We're being paid over three years after we leave. Would you sell your house that way?"

McMahon said the record would remain open until Sept. 23 and that public comments could continue to be submitted in writing until then.

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