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Letter: School board: Elwood plan too dense

An architectural rendering by Robert M. Swedroe Architects

An architectural rendering by Robert M. Swedroe Architects and Planners showing the front and rear views of a four-unit building designed for The Seasons at Elwood, a 360-unit senior housing development proposed for the site of the Oak Tree Dairy in East Northport. Photo Credit: Robert M. Swedroe Architects and Planners

Newsday's overheated, dismissive rhetoric on the Oak Tree Dairy change of zoning sought by developers reveals a shallow understanding of the community's concerns and the impacts of the proposed plan ["Let rationality govern development in Elwood," Editorial, May 29].

Our residents are concerned with the intensity of the 360-unit development in this relatively small Elwood community, not whether the property should be developed. It is for this reason that the school board shared its perspectives with the Huntington Town Board.

For the record, what the Elwood school board opposes is an intensity of use that requires a substantial zoning change that would significantly affect student safety and transportation. The proposed development abuts our high school and middle school campus, which accommodates more than 1,400 children and dozens of staff members each school day.

We also acknowledge the potential long-term threat of overcrowding our schools, because the covenants of a restricted community cannot, by law, be held in perpetuity.

Further, "reaping $1.9 million in taxes" is, at best, a misunderstanding. If this development was added to the tax base today, its impact would be to modestly lower the school district tax rate. There would be no $1.9 million check waiting to be cashed by the district. This is a highly disingenuous position Newsday has communicated to its readers.

Finally, we take issue with the editorial board for using words like "hysteria" and "lunacy" when discussing the opposition to The Seasons at Elwood development. We are just passionate about our community and exercising our right to preserve sanity and balance in the request for a zoning change.

Dan Ciccone, Elwood

Editor's note: The writer is the vice president of the Elwood school board.