An artist's rendering of the proposed South Bay Village housing...

An artist's rendering of the proposed South Bay Village housing development in Sayville. Credit: Rechler Equity Partners

Daily Point

Trying again in Island Hills

Ten months after partners Gregg and Mitchell Rechler first began talking about reintroducing a development for the 114-acre Island Hills Golf and Country Club property in Sayville, they’ve emerged with a new plan that bears little resemblance to their first attempt — right down to its name.

To refresh memories: The previous proposal by Rechler Equity Partners included 1,365 apartments — all rentals — in 26 multifamily buildings up to four stories in height. It used the Rechler brand — Greybarn — and would’ve required a significant zoning change, since existing zoning allowed for 98 single-family homes.

The Islip Town board rejected that proposal in 2021.

The new plan, called South Bay Village, will still require a zoning change. But it now encompasses 890 units, including 576 rentals and 314 for-sale. The maximum building height will be three stories and 143 of the units will be single-family detached homes. The units will range from studio apartments to those three-bedroom detached homes now called “cottages.” More than half the units will be age-restricted, open to those 55 and over. And up to 15 affordable rental units will be reserved for adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.

The plan, unveiled this week and officially filed with the Town of Islip on Monday, emerged after a lengthy effort by an independent advisory committee made up of five area residents who met with a variety of stakeholders last year and released a 53-page report that detailed the community’s feedback.

The report noted, however, that some area residents and business owners did not want to speak to the committee or voice opinions supporting or making suggestions regarding the development out of concerns that they would be ostracized, or businesses would be boycotted. But developer Gregg Rechler told The Point that the committee’s work was still an important way to hear from local residents, including those who opposed any proposals.

The future of the Island Hills golf course will once again be in the town’s hands. While the new proposal seems to address some issues raised in that report, South Bay Village may still be in for an uphill climb. The advisory committee’s report points to concerns regarding traffic, parking and density, and noted a variety of examples in which civic groups, school board representatives and others objected to any zoning change and especially to any inclusion of rental units.

“Ownership means better people and less crime,” one meeting attendee was quoted as saying.

But Gregg Rechler said he thought the community input, and the ways the plans had changed, would make a difference.

“The process was different this time,” Rechler said. “I believe that the entire community had a voice in this process and I don’t think that narrative can be derailed at this point. The important part was to make sure everyone who lives in the community could express their feelings and give their input. And it’s been heard and has been incorporated in this plan.”

— Randi F. Marshall

Pencil Point

Doctor's advice

Credit: Englehart

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Reference Point

Preventing July Fourth from turning into a car crash

The Newsday editorial from July 2, 1960, and the cartoon...

The Newsday editorial from July 2, 1960, and the cartoon from July 2, 1966.

Mayhem on the roads is a persistent worry of modern travel — but it is not new. The dangers involved in driving on Long Island have been a perennial concern for Newsday’s editorial board, concerns that spike around big driving holidays. Like July 4.

“The July 4 weekend is one of the most dangerous of the whole year if you’re out on the highway,” the board wrote back on July 2, 1960.

Newsday’s board noted that the National Safety Council was predicting that 370 people would be killed and more than 13,000 would be injured in car accidents nationwide over the holiday period.

Six years later, the board revisited the topic with an editorial cartoon on July 2, 1966 that featured a car, a boat, a swimmer, and an exploding firecracker askew in a cloud of smoke labeled “ACCIDENTS” over the title of the drawing: “Celebrate Without the Fireworks.”

Over the years, the editorial board often has returned to the topic of highway safety, especially on holiday weekends.

A lot has changed over those 64 years. Cars are bigger and safer. Seat belts are mandatory. But more people are driving, faster and more aggressively, and roads are more congested.

In 2024, the AAA forecasts record holiday travel with nearly 1 in 5 Americans — more than 60 million people — expected to drive more than 50 miles over the July 4 period. And the National Safety Council estimates that 599 of them will die on the roads, with alcohol being “a major contributing factor.”

So the advice offered by Newsday’s board in 1960 still applies:

“Remember, our highways and parkways are bound to be badly jammed, and as a consequence extra hazardous. Drive carefully!”

— Michael Dobie, Amanda Fiscina-Wells

Programming Point

The Point will be back on Monday. Happy July Fourth!

Subscribe to The Point here and browse past editions of The Point here.



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