Islandia has built several houses for returning members of the armed forces in the village -- and the mayor has his eye on building more homes for veterans on county-owned land.
Mayor Allan Dorman is trying to persuade the Suffolk County Water Authority to donate eight of 13 acres of wooded land it owns in the village, on the corner of Old Nichols Road and the north side of the Long Island Expressway.
Dorman wants to build 16 to 20 low-cost single-family homes for veterans on the donated land, continuing a project with Long Island Home Builders Care, the charitable arm of the Long Island Builders Institute, to provide veterans homes built with donated materials and labor.
"I'm saying, don't sell it to a developer," said Dorman, a former Marine who served in Vietnam. "Transfer it to the Long Island Builders people and build homes for veterans."
Last year, six homes for veterans were built on 3.5 acres on Motor Parkway in Islandia, donated by CA Technologies, formerly Computer Associates. Six veterans bought the 1,200-square-foot houses for $199,000, below market value.
A water authority spokesman said most of the 13 acres the mayor would like donated is under contract for sale to a developer. "While we're pleased to have recently worked with Long Island Home Builders Care Development Corporation to provide public water at the lowest possible cost for an affordable housing project for veterans in Islandia, the property Mr. Dorman would like us to donate is in contract for sale and, additionally, as a public authority, it is against the law for us to donate property," spokesman Tim Motz said in an email.
The water authority is selling 8.12 acres of the 13 acres it owns for nearly $1.5 million to a developer, Motz said, with another 2.86 acres reserved for water projects.
Dorman said the state law prohibiting land donation could be amended, with support from State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley).
"The village's goal of expanding the program is one where I would like to be as helpful as possible," Zeldin said. "Obviously, this particular location is a little bit more complex, but I would like to help as much as possible."
Dorman said the value of the housing for veterans goes well beyond the financial gain to the water authority.
He said he still hopes the water authority decides not to sell to the developer. "They should be thinking more to help the veterans," he said.