Decision tonight on proposed building
The unoccupied dilapidated buildings currently on the Sayville waterfront property.

SCN/Finnegan

Decision tonight on proposed building

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
2/15/2018


SAYVILLE—Tonight, Thursday, Feb. 15, the Islip Town Planning Board will announce their decision regarding a proposed development in south Sayville. The waterfront project has garnered complaints from neighbors over both the size of the building and its intended use, as well as a number of environmental issues since it would be located on sensitive wetlands.

The project was first addressed at an April 2017 planning board meeting. The application, which was submitted by architect Todd O’Connell, requested a planning board special permit for a 4,000-square-foot two-family detached dwelling on the south side of Brown’s River Road (No. 48-52), located approximately 273 feet west of River Road and adjacent to the Sayville Town Beach in a Business 1 District.

The proposal called for the demolition of two abandoned cottages located on the property, amounting to 1,900 square feet, along with an accessory garage and shed (500 square feet) that have been located on the property since 1929. Both wood-frame cottages were severely damaged by flooding and wave erosion that resulted from hurricanes Irene (2011) and Sandy (2012). The proposed two-family dwelling would replace the cottages, and be elevated to meet town and state building code standards.

Several residents spoke out at that meeting, noting that the area, which is prone to heavy flooding, is still recuperating from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. They said that the addition of a 4,000-square-foot building could increase that vulnerability and create cesspool and health issues. They also questioned how that property would be used and if the owner, Carole Chin, would open the buildings up to transient guests. However, Christopher Nicolia, the attorney for the applicant, said that the property would not be changing from its original zoning and that it would be the owner’s residence with only a home office, and that no business would be conducted from there. 

The planning board chose to reserve decision to further review the application and await environmental studies.

However, residents are still not convinced that the six-bedroom, six-bath house will only be used as a family home. This week, several of the residents spoke with the Suffolk County News in anonymity, reiterating their initial concerns. They said they are not opposed to construction there, but would expect the owner to maintain the original footprint of the property, which would uphold the character of the neighborhood.

Jim Keeley, a resident of the area, said he’s worried about the impact the building would have on the environment, even though he noted it was given approval by the Suffolk County Board of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Keeley pointed out that the plans show 12 cesspools in an area where groundwater is at around 4 feet. “It’s an albatross on the wetlands,” he remarked. “The enormity of this project is environmentally unsound. And it’s going to kill the bay.

“That property should be leveled and cleaned, and let the ecosystem do what it has to do,” he added.

The planning board meeting will be held in the Town Board Room of Islip Town Hall (655 Main Street, Islip) beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Editor’s note: Carole Chin, the property owner, was contacted by this newspaper for a comment, but did not respond by press time.