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Residents upset over apartments, religious hall

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) Photo Credit: Nancy Borowick

Dozens of worried residents showed up at a meeting of the Babylon Town Board Tuesday night to voice concerns about proposals to build apartments on the site of a mobile home park in North Amityville and a Jehovah’s Witnesses hall in a West Babylon neighborhood.

The apartments would include affordable housing, according to developer R Squared LLC, but mobile home residents of Frontier Park fear the apartments will be more expensive than the $635 they pay on average now to rent space.

“I don’t think the town can get any more affordable housing than we already have,” said Frontier Park resident Roger Cornell, moments before the board ordered an environmental-impact statement for the plan to build 500 apartments and 45,500 square feet of retail space on the site off Route 110.

Town officials said the impact statement would address traffic conditions, financial impact and quality of life issues for residents in the area.

Town supervisor Steve Bellone told Cornell he could raise his concerns once a draft version of the statement is circulated and during future public meetings.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses hall proposed for Forest Avenue was not on the board’s agenda, but Tracie Morea, who lives across from the site, drew cheers from her neighbors when she warned of traffic and “chaos” it would bring.

“This is not about their religion,” she said. “This has to do with the safety of my community.”

There are about 80 congregations and 33 halls on Long Island, Robert Hendriks, a Jehovah’s Witnesses minister and representative, recently told Newsday. He said the group, which purchased the property a year ago, would use the space for religious education and the occasional wedding.

Bellone said the proposal is under jurisdiction of the planning board and directed town officials to arrange a meeting between neighbors and the town planning commissioner.

The next planning board meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday. at Town Hall, 200 East Sunrise Highway in Lindenhurst. Public comment on the matter is open until May 16.

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