On July 9,  our Suffolk County legislative  public works committee held  a public hearing  and again tabled a  resolution to send a bill  to the full legislature , regarding  sewer rights  for the  Heartland project.The  is RESOLUTION NO.1459-2018, AUTHORIZING EXECUTION OF AN AGREEMENT BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE HEAD OF SUFFOLK COUNTY SEWER DISTRICT NO. 3 – SOUTHWEST AND HEARTLAND TOWN SQUARE (IS-1455) . On June 1,They tabled the vote to do research after they heard that the project sits over an aquifer; and  that  congested Nassau county  may be requesting water services from  Suffolk aquifers  because their wells are polluted. There are questions about whether anew Environmental impact statement is required because the original one is too out of date.There are somany  apartment complexes that need water and sewerage that the balance of the effect has changed.
 The Bay  sewerage treatment plant, to which heartland will connect,,  does  not remove nitrogen from  wastewater causing  our waterways to  suffer from blue green algae and  brown tide  often closing shellfish  fishing. IT was suggested at the hearing that the extra capacity which was approved  by the Legislature be offered to Deer Park and Sayville  residents   or  that the developer build his own sewerage treatment plant on site. The Bay  sewer processing  plant is 50 years old and needs to be rebuilt to remove  nitrogen form the waste water.   

 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.  

 In the past a jail  was built on the land  by Govenor Hugh Carey. It was later closed, AS PROMISED, by Govenor   Mario 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. 

 BY Commack Community Association