THE PROPOSED PROJECT

 Four Towns civic association represents residents from   4 Townships; Islip, Babylon, Huntington and Smithtown, because  they all  surround the Pilgrim  state property.  In March, 2017 this Heartland  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 9100 apartments , 26,000 square feet of office space and 560,000 square feet of retail space on the  land .  Currently  construction  has been approved for 3500 apartments to be built  between Crooked Hill rd and Commack rd. 


Initially, the Islip Town  zoning  required  one house per acre for  this land, but this was  modified  on behalf of the development. HOWEVER  THE PROJECT NEEDS A SEWER CONNECTION OR A SEWER PROCESSING PLANT.  The Developer requested a reduced fee for the sewerage disposal  from the Public works committee of our Suffolk County legislature.


Our Suffolk County legislature has not approved the sewer connection and now the developer has filed a lawsuit:
 According to  the September 24, 2018  minutes of the  Suffolk County legislative  Public works committee ,  they  tabled  a vote on the Heartland  sewer connection,   RESOLUTION NO.1459-2018, SEWER DISTRICT NO. 3 – SOUTHWEST AND HEARTLAND TOWN SQUARE . This  follows 3 months of tabling  votes on the issue , in order  to do more research about the total impact on the area.      At one  of the  legislative hearings an engineer pointed out that the land sits over  a watershed.  

 There are questions about whether a new environmental impact statement is required because the original one is too out of date. There are now so many  apartment complexes to be built through 2019,  that  will need water and sewerage that the environmental   impacts have changed. The 50 year old  Bay  sewerage treatment plant, to which Heartland would like to  connect, does  not currently  remove nitrogen from  wastewater causing  our waterways to  suffer from blue green algae and  brown tide  often closing shellfish  fishing.  THE sewer  plant  has been  upgraded  to handle more capacity, in anticipation of  new projects.

  THe developer,  Jerry Wolkoff, has filed a lawsuit in Riverhead Supreme Court arguing that the Suffolk County  Public Works legislative committee  was not required  to hold public  hearings and the Public works Commissioner  could make his own decision about  Heartland hooking up to the sewer plant at  a lower cost than town residents pay..  The suit says the public works commissioner has the power to negotiate the agreement that “he deems appropriate,” and argues that county agencies should proceed with negotiations for a hookup that “is not subject to the review or approval of the county legislature.” 

Suffolk County has  a very open government and they offered  hearings for  their residents. 

THE BRENTWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT  LAWSUIT
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.  


THE HISTORY OF THE PROPERTY

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 developer bought the property and has  developed  plans for its commercial use.


Past  defeated proposals included an intermodal transfer station for  tractor trailers that would  pick up  freight delivered by LIRR trains running on the Deer Park train  lines.   The trucks would then  have headed  out to Commack road and the LIE . The local civics fought this land use and were successful in changing the location. 




 BY Commack Community Association