Our guest speaker, Christine S, from Four Towns civic Association , visited  CCA on January 23, 2018 to inform us about the continuing protest  against the Heartland  Town Square project, which will be built off of Commack rd. in Brentwood .Four Towns civic association represents residents from   4 Townships; Islip, Babylon, Huntington and Smithtown, because  they all  surround the Pilgrim  state property.  The group was initially formed to monitor  the development of this former  state   hospital  land.

 In March, 2017 this project was  approved by the Suffolk County planning  board. Then the  Islip Town Board ,which controls  local zoning of the  former Pilgrim Psych center property,  finalized their approval. The full proposal is to build 9000 apartments , 26,000 square feet of office space and 560,000 square feet of retail space on the  land . Mr Wolkoff, the developer  contends this is a 30 year project before all 3 phases will be completed. Currently  construction  has been approved for 3500 apartments. Initially, the Islip Town  zoning  required  one house per acre for  this land, but this was  modified  on behalf of the development.

All across New York state,   state managed  hospitals were closed and the land put up for sale under the guidance of Governor Pataki. The  basis  for selling them was to  recover enough  cash to fully  pay off the New York state bonds that were used to fund and maintain the buildings.  Thus most of  the land was not set aside as public space, however the Brentwood campus of Suffolk Community College was created  from a parcel of land from Pilgrim State in the 1980s. NY put  452  acres  of Pilgrim  State  Hospital  up for bid in the late nineties. A higher bid   was set aside and the land sold to Gerald Wolkoff , developer ,for 20 million dollars in 2002.

The  Brentwood Board of Education,  along with the Four Towns Civic Association and a local attorney have filed a lawsuit in Riverhead Supreme Court against the Town of Islip and Pilgrim East L.P. to stop this project.  You can follow  the lawsuit on the NY  "ecourts" site  case NO. 17-05732. The plaintiffs  claim that the school district  cannot handle the amount of students that would move into the apartments.  They dispute the developers estimate of    about 1500 additional  students . The school estimates 7000 additional students based on housing statistics available now. There are also  concerns about the demands for  water from the aquifers. (  read  our "Commack drinking water page")

There will not be a traffic study  required until the apartments are built and 50 percent of the first phase  units are occupied.  How will that extra population affect Commack and  traffic patterns? You may  find out after the  half of the 3500 apartments are built and occupied. Proposals to  widen the Saktigos parkway  are part of this plan.

 In the past a jail  was built on the land  by Govenor Hugh Carey , which was later closed AS PROMISED by Govenor Cuomo because of the  civic protests. Then  it was suggested that an intermodal transfer station be built so tractor trailers could pick up  freight delivered by LIRR trains running on the Deer Park line tracks.   The trucks would then head out to Commack road and the expressway . The local civics fought this land use and were successful in changing the location. 
. Commack Community Association  stands with  Four Towns civic to modify this project so as to overwhelm our local water aquifers , and traffic patterns .

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