In response to learning that a developer plans to construct senior-living apartments for rent on Bayview Avenue, residents of East Islip have formed a coalition and have begun raising funds for an …
In response to learning that a developer plans to construct senior-living apartments for rent on Bayview Avenue, residents of East Islip have formed a coalition and have begun raising funds for an attorney and traffic engineer.
The prospective developer, Greenview Properties, has purchased multiple residential properties on Bayview Avenue near the intersection with Main Street with the intent of constructing a 29-unit senior living facility, which would call for five separate buildings and 59 parking spaces. After purchasing 7 and 9 Bayview Avenue, the developer submitted an application to the Town of Islip Planning Board for a change of zone on both properties from single-family residential zoning to Residential Zone C.
Pat Blair, an organizer of the resident-based coalition coined Citizens Against Bayview Ave Apartments, called a meeting last Saturday primarily to inform residents on how they can be most effective in regard to addressing their concerns to the Islip Town Council, as the board will ultimately have final say on the application.
“You need to go to the town meetings so it gets into the public record. [You] need to write letters to the planning board. They don’t care about the character of the neighborhood, your privacy, people talking outside of your house… those things are irrelevant to them,” Blair said to a crowd of approximately 130 people. “The only thing we can win on is the traffic.”
Another significant reason for the meeting was to ask residents for monetary support in order to pay for an applicable attorney as well as a traffic engineer. Donations can be sent through mail or through Venmo at @NoRezoneBayview. Additionally, lawn signs to signify opposition to the overall project are on sale for $20.
In regard to letters to town councilpersons and the supervisor, Blair is distributing template letters for residents to submit to each of the four councilpersons as well as the supervisor, each of which is individually addressed. In the letters, the “most compelling” reasons for concern are listed.
“The proposed zoning of 7 and 9 Bayview Avenue is incompatible with the surrounding properties. The residents in the surrounding area bought their homes with the current zoning in place. Changes to the zoning could have a negative impact on the resale value of their homes,” the letter reads.
“Nearby intersections simply cannot handle the dramatic increase in traffic that will occur if the rezoning is permitted. Additionally, the Bayview Avenue and Main Street intersection, one lot from this property, does not function well and is a high-risk intersection for pedestrians due to the heavy traffic, especially during lunch hour, rush hour, and during the summer months. This intersection is an active walking and biking route for neighborhood children to Brookwood Hall Park, where fireworks and carnivals are enjoyed, not to mention the booming ice cream shop, [and] Ralph’s Famous Italian Ices. The significant increase in traffic flow at this intersection that will result from this rezoning is a notable risk to our children and other pedestrians,” the letter continues.
The letter also indicates that the coalition is interested in learning if the town has offered or plans to offer monetary incentive to the developer, whether in the form of tax breaks or aid.
“We are not interested in funding any form of corporate welfare, especially when there is a strong possibility of wreaking havoc on our community,” the letter reads.
The East Islip Community Chamber also weighed in on the proposal, raising additional concern for the effects on local businesses as well as emergency services, which are primarily volunteer based.
“While the prospects of new business from an influx of people is appealing, we find that many people avoid the local businesses during high-traffic times,” said Gary Teich, chamber president. “[Additionally,] there is going to be an increased burden on the volunteer services — the fire department and EMS. We are very thankful that they are doing their job, but [this would be] putting more of a burden on them as well as the police.
“This is a residential area that is based on single-family homes,” Teich continued. “Everybody is going to bear the burden of upgrading the infrastructure as well. While change is inevitable, perhaps it is not the change that we need.”
The developer has also approached American Legion Post 1635, located at 3 Bayview Avenue, to purchase its property, which is adjacent to the two single-family properties, according to the post’s commander, Frank Frumento.
“There is an offer to buy the property and lease it back to American Legion for $1 per year,” Frumento said. “We will turn this offer down and will remain independent.”
At the meeting on Feb. 15 at the American Legion, residents cited seeing traffic-monitoring cameras nearby on Main Street, indicating that the developer has begun conducting a preliminary traffic study.
Although no agenda from the Town of Islip has been published, Blair said she is anticipating that a hearing on the matter would be held at the next Planning Board meeting, which is slated for March 4. Blair encouraged everyone to attend and has relayed this message on Facebook groups encapsulating the topic.
Additionally, Blair and other organizers of the coalition have asked residents not to protest the developer’s application during the Islip St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 1. n