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Modest apt. building is what Long Island residents need

The property at 840 Montauk Hwy. in Copiague,

The property at 840 Montauk Hwy. in Copiague, seen on Jan. 29, 2019. Credit: Raychel Brightman

Saying a new 16-unit apartment building in Copiague will add to the traffic on Montauk Highway is like saying that spitting in the waves makes the ocean larger.

Yet residents in Copiague are using that claim to fight the construction of just such a project, even though it’s just about the lowest-impact use imaginable for the property, long an eyesore. The land has a Wendy’s on one side and a shopping center on the other. Nearly anything else that would be a reasonable use of the parcel would create more traffic and disruption than 16 apartments most residents would come and go from once or twice a day.

The project, planned to be three stories and include 24 parking spaces, is being constructed by a local developer, Mitchell Giannini, who owns other complexes in the area and has a good reputation. Last month, he presented his plan to the Babylon Town Planning Board and took the expected, ritualistic abuse from neighbors who objected.

Giannini paid for a traffic study that found there would be little impact. Naysayers want another one done on summer traffic patterns.

Residents also complained that the complex would block sightlines and make it harder to see when turning onto Montauk Highway, although renderings show the building set back behind the parking. And they argued that excess cars will park on bordering side streets, though this is what current residents often do.

This apartment building is exactly the kind of housing Long Island needs. This land is an appropriate setting for it. But that will never stop the reflexive instinct to thwart such projects.  — The editorial board


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