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Suffolk Legislature gets $15M offer to reopen Foley nursing home, passes bill regulating drones

The John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility, located

The John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility, located in Yaphank, is seen here on March 27, 2013. Credit: Doug Kuntz / Doug Kuntz

Suffolk County received a $15 million offer from Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center for the now-shuttered John J. Foley nursing home, lawmakers said as they held their first public hearing Wednesday night on a competing $20 million offer.

The legislature also unanimously passed a bill regulating drones in Suffolk parks.

The not-for-profit East Patchogue hospital has proposed expanding outpatient care such as dialysis into the facility, and bringing in assisted living, veterans care and chemical dependency treatment.

"The reopening of this facility will provide needed services to the community," wrote Richard Margulis, president and CEO of Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, in a letter to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone dated Tuesday.

The public hearing on the resolution authorizing the $20 million sale was extended until the next meeting on Oct. 6 in Riverhead.

Jon Schneider, deputy county executive for Bellone, declined to address the hospital's bid. "The Administration has negotiated a $20 million sale and submitted that higher offer to the Legislature for consideration and approval," he said in a statement.

The 264-bed Yaphank complex closed in 2013. The county has looked to sell the building to help close its budget deficit.

In July, Kenneth Rozenberg, CEO of the Bronx-based Centers Health Care, made a $20 million offer to reopen Foley as a nursing home, contingent on getting an approval from the state and zoning approval from Brookhaven Town.

Amos Goodman, a candidate for legislature from East Hampton, called the proposal a "one-off gimmick" that benefits a New York City owner.

Brookhaven Memorial's offer is contingent on an inspection of the building. The nonprofit hospital said in a letter it does not need financing or grants to raise the $15 million.

Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley) whose district includes Foley, said she likes the services the Brookhaven proposal provides and the fact it would be run locally.

"If they're $5 million short, their services make up the difference," she said.

Representatives of Brookhaven Memorial and Rozenberg could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

The drone bill requires a permit for most drone flights over county parks. Bellone vetoed an earlier version.

The new bill, worked out with the administration and sponsors Legis. Tom Muratore (R-Ronkonkoma) and William Spencer (D-Centerport), covers drones without cameras and imposes steeper fines. Drone users also are required to fly them only within their line of sight.

"I appreciate the county executive stepping up and setting the stage for drone use, and using them safely," said Muratore, who authored the original bill Bellone vetoed, before Wednesday night's vote.

No member of the public spoke against the drone bill.

Lawmakers also approved a memorandum of understanding that would allow the transfer of almost an acre of land near the Shinnecock Canal in Hampton Bays to the town of Southampton and a developer for road improvements and public access to the canal.


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