A developer has scaled back plans to build a rare cluster of rental apartments east of the Shinnecock Canal in Southampton Town after neighbors’ protests sidelined the project last year.

Georgica Green Ventures LLC of Jericho has shrunk the Sandy Hollow Cove apartments in Tuckahoe to 28 units in three buildings from 34 units in four buildings.

But neighbors continued to criticize the plan at a public hearing Tuesday, saying it still calls for too much development on the 2.6-acre lot along Sandy Hollow Road. “I thought this was insane at the first proposal, and now I think it’s just crazy on the second proposal to put this much housing on such a small lot,” said Brian Cooke, who lives near the site in Tuckahoe.

Southampton Town’s housing authority says the project would help fill a dire need for housing for town employees and other moderate-income workers in the wealthier section of town.

Proponents say affordable housing is needed to abate the traffic-snarling “trade parade” of service workers who travel east to work in Southampton Town.
“It’s axiomatic that there is a desperate need for affordable rental housing in this town,” said David Gilmartin, an attorney for the developer. “I think it’s a failure of our predecessors who did not anticipate this type of need.”

The project requires four of five town board members to approve a zoning change. Another public hearing is scheduled for May 27.

Town approves 5-year capital plan

The Town of North Hempstead has passed a five-year capital plan that includes facility upgrades and renovations for nearly two dozen projects.

The plan requires $18.25 million in new town bonding for the general fund, averaging $3.65 million each year and representing $48 million in total costs.

The town has $26.4 million in funding from federal and state grants, and remaining funds have been borrowed and can be used for the capital projects.

The town’s five-year plan requires $13.6 million in new town bonding for its Town Outside Village Fund, averaging $2.7 million in bonding each year. That represents $22.3 million in total expenditures. Another $4.2 million in federal and state grants will fund the plan, largely for road projects.

Projects include a new, 4,200-square-foot greenhouse at the Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson; a playground at Manhasset Valley Park; restoring the landmark Schumacher House; expanding the Hempstead Harbor shoreline trail; launching kayak routes; renovating the Roslyn Train Station; and the abatement and demolition of the Grand Street School in New Cassel, a Brownfields site.

General services to be reorganized

The Town of Huntington is reorganizing its general services department. Freshman town board member Tracey A. Edwards said that in January when she was sworn in, Town Supervisor Frank Petrone asked her to look at streamlining departments across the town.

“He wanted to see if there was a way to one, provide better service, and two, if there is an opportunity to streamline and be more efficient,” Edwards said.
After a three-month review, changes in general services are underway.

The changes will include adding two divisions under the department: golf course maintenance and Dix Hills Park maintenance. It also renamed and reordered the responsibilities of three other divisions.

The division of buildings and grounds is now the division of building maintenance; the division of facilities management is now the division of off-street parking maintenance; the division of parks maintenance is now the division of parks and grounds.

The reorganization includes plans to create a second deputy director position. So far there has been no formal resolution creating the job or its funding. The two deputies will report to the department’s director, Tom Boccard.

The changes were approved 5-0 at last week’s town board meeting.

The changes have to be approved by both the state and county civil service departments, town officials said.

Edwards said the town is also looking to add a 311 phone feature to Huntington at Your Service, the Internet-based system that gives residents a quick and easy way to send officials questions and seek information. The 311 feature would allow residents to call town hall with their queries and to find out information.

Dry cleaner on DEC’s hazardous site list

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation announced Wednesday that a Rockville Centre dry cleaner has been placed on its Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites.

Gem Cleaners at 84 N. Village Ave. is no longer active, although it was unclear when it closed. The one-story masonry building is in the center of the village near other business and apartment buildings.

It used and stored chemicals on site, including tetrachloroethene, also known as perchloroethylene or PCE.

At the site, depth to groundwater is about 19 feet below grade, said the DEC report.

An investigation in 1997 found a low concentration PCE plume throughout the site. The source was believed to be a floor drain in the stairwell to the basement.

A Preliminary Site Characterization (PSC) completed in 2007 showed PCE contamination in the groundwater.

In 2008, an additional groundwater sampling revealed much higher PCE contamination.

“This site represents a significant threat to public health and the environment,” said the report.

A state health department assessment said: “People are not drinking the contaminated groundwater because the area is served by a public water supply that is not affected by this contamination. [But] . . . the potential exists for the inhalation of site contaminants in indoor air due to soil vapor intrusion in on-site buildings.”

The state said it notified neighbors of its findings.

700 LEDs installed to save on electricity

New LED lights were installed this week inside four Smithtown Town buildings to save the town money on electrical bills, officials said.

About 700 LED interior lighting fixtures were installed Monday inside Town Hall, the Eugene A. Cannataro Senior Citizen Center, the Town Hall Annex and the building that houses both the Engineering and Environment and Waterways departments, said Smithtown Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio.

The fixtures cost $74,000, and the town expects to receive $35,500 in rebates from PSEG Long Island, said Vecchio. The $38,500 difference should be paid within 2½ years, he said.

Vecchio said the measure “is a continuation of our environmental and cost-savings initiatives,” adding that he expects the switch to LED to reduce the electrical consumption by about 65 percent.

The town first installed LED lights on arterial roads in 2010 after receiving $1.06 million in federal stimulus money, he said.

Book program at Eisenhower Park

The East Meadow Chamber of Commerce plans to host its “Walk, Ride, Read for Success” event on Sunday to support the launch of the Reach Out and Read program in the pediatric clinic at Nassau University Medical Center.

The family-friendly event will be held rain or shine from 1 to 4 p.m. at Eisenhower Park’s Field 1, on Merrick Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow. Participants will walk or ride their way around the park’s three-mile paved circuit. There will be educational and entertainment stops along the way.

Entry fees — $20 for adults, $7 for children 12 and younger — will be tax deductible. Every participant will receive an event T-shirt.

Reach Out and Read is a program in which doctors give new, developmental books to young children 3 months through 5 years of age, along with guidance to their parents about early literacy, early learning, development and school readiness.

For more information, visit eastmeadowchamber.com.

Officials: Volleyball courts by summer

The Amityville Village beach will have volleyball courts and a working concession stand in time for the June 28 beach opening, trustees said this week.

Trustee Dennis Siry said the projects signal a recovery for the facility, where attendance had dropped even before superstorm Sandy badly damaged the building housing the concession stand and employee offices.

“This is not going to be Jones Beach, but we’re going to have our beach back,” Siry said Wednesday.

In two votes Monday night, trustees gave 5-0 approval to spend up to $25,000 in beach grant money on the volleyball courts and up to $30,000 on repairs for the concession stand, which would be paid through FEMA and insurance reimbursement.

Children and adult volleyball leagues are planned for the summer. Siry said he has approached several vendors about selling hamburgers and hot dogs out of the concession stand, something many families with young children have requested, but no deal is in place.

Construction of the volleyball courts will require moving playground equipment installed with volunteer help only last year. The plan drew criticism from Joan Donnison, a resident and Bay Village Civic Association president, who said it could discourage similar volunteer efforts in the future.

Siry said the relocation was unavoidable but that the piecemeal approach to improvements would not be repeated if the village goes through with plans for more complicated projects intended for the beach’s east side.

Those projects include repair or replacement of the building that houses the concession stand and a sprinkler run, but Siry said that officials will wait for possible funds through the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program before beginning work.

Volunteers to work on community garden

Sustainable Long Island and the Cedarmore Corporation plan to host a “Seed to Table” Community Garden Build this Saturday in Freeport.

The event is to be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Zion Cathedral Church of God in Christ, on 312 Grand Ave. in Freeport. The rain date is June 14.

Volunteers from the Long Island Volunteer Center and BJ’s Wholesale Club will join community members to build eight more garden beds at the site on top of the current eight.

Some of the benefits of a community garden include increased access to fresh food, preserved green space, beautified neighborhoods, increased property values and reduced neighborhood crime, organizers said.

For more information about volunteering, email info@sustainableli.org.

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