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Zoning change paves way for $60M Kensington Estates project

A rendering of Kensington Estates, a proposed luxury

A rendering of Kensington Estates, a proposed luxury development for residents aged 55 and older that straddles the border between Oyster Bay and Huntington towns. Credit: handout

An 18.6-acre luxury senior housing complex is to rise along the border of Oyster Bay and Huntington towns on a site once so neglected that massive mulch piles there regularly caught fire.

Oyster Bay officials last week granted conditional zoning-change and site-plan approvals, paving the way for the $60 million Kensington Estates project, which is to straddle Woodbury and West Hills.

Some minor land-use approvals are still needed before construction begins as estimated in early 2014, said Elysa Goldman, of the Whitestone, Queens-based developer, Triangle Equities.

Goldman on Thursday said potential residents include seniors from the area, "people who raised children here, spent most of their lives here and want to stay here . . . but want to scale back from single-family homes."

The complex at Plainview Road and Jericho Turnpike is to have 66 age-restricted units in Huntington and 14 in Oyster Bay. Residents must be 55 and older, and planned amenities include a pool and tennis court.

Developers also are to build three single-family homes that aren't age-restricted in Oyster Bay outside the gated Kensington complex.

Huntington officials approved zoning changes for the portion of the project in their town in January 2011 and granted conditional site plan approval in February.

Oyster Bay's go-ahead comes with restrictions, many suggested at a June public hearing where residents were cautiously optimistic about the project.

Among the caveats: Part of Jericho Turnpike must be widened according to state recommendations, construction vehicles may enter only from Jericho Turnpike and not the more residential Plainview Road, the work site must be screened from Plainview Road during construction and only those 55 and older may live in the complex, with renting or subleasing prohibited. Huntington's conditions include a required $33,000 park and playground fee for the developer.

Goldman said Triangle has agreed to the conditions.

The property was formerly the site of a ranch where 30-foot piles of mulch regularly smoldered. Oyster Bay, citing imminent danger, removed the larger piles in 2011. The town in 2008 took ranch owner John Dougal to state court on violations of requirements to maintain the property, operating a business in a residential zone and keeping wood logs and commercial trash bins in a residential zone.

Harvey Fixman, 69, who lives next to the site, said the senior housing is preferable to the "eyesore" now there.

He said he hopes Triangle keeps construction equipment and debris off his property.

"What we've been enduring for years and years is unconscionable, and to have an upscale project -- the construction of which we have to endure until it is built -- gives us light at the end of the tunnel," Fixman said.



The Kensington Estates project


Cost: At least $60 million

Size: 18.6 acres

Estimated groundbreaking: Early 2014

Residential units: 80 for those 55 and older, 66 on 13.5 acres in Huntington and 14 on 5.1 acres in Oyster Bay

Amenities: Gated complex, pool, tennis court, recreation building

Also: Three 20,000-square-feet single-family homes outside development in Oyster Bay

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