2017-07-13 / Front Page

Islip Town Board to vote on Pilgrim State rezoning plan Tuesday

Could pave the way for Heartland Town Square project

By Michael Scro

The Town of Islip Board will vote on whether to approve approval of a change of zoning for the Heartland Town Square Project on the former Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center property. vote will be taken at a special meeting Tues., July 18 at 6 p.m. at Islip Town Hall, without time for public comment. 

The Islip Town Board's approval is the final green light needed for the project to move forward. The town's planning board advisory recommendation was put fourth in August of last year, and the Suffolk County Planning Commissioner approved the project's change of zone on February 1, 2017.

"This is a very, very significant development proposal, and there is a great deal of information to digest," Town of Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter said.

 Numerous residents, public officials, union representatives, community leaders and business owners have praised the project for its proposed job opportunities and economic stimulus, while detractors say it will cause severe traffic issues, overcrowding in the Brentwood School District, and an atmosphere on Long Island that is more akin to Brooklyn and Queens.

The applicant, developer Jerry Wolkoff, is seeking an amendment to the town's code that will establish the “Pilgrim State Planned Redevelopment District” and a change of zone from “Residence AAA” to the proposed PSPRD District for the approximate 452.0-acre parcel.

According to an informational presentation by the town board in late March, the first phase has recommendations from the Islip Planning Board Advisory to re-zone 113.4 acres of property. It is also recommended that following the occupation of 70 percent of the building/land space associated with phase one, traffic volume will be studied by a traffic engineer before subsequent phases are approved, and the town board can modify future commercial development density.

Wolkoff purchased the land at the psychiatric center in 2002 for $21 million, and this type of development has been in his plans since then. With 9,000 residential units on 452 acres of property, the entire project is estimated to be a 25 to 30 year build out.

The town also hosted a well-attended public hearing on the proposed zone change in April, where David Wolkoff, son of Jerry Wolkoff, noted that during the first four-five years of the project, the Town of Islip may have a shortage of money and need to “dip into their pockets” to cover costs.  While the Wolkoffs believe there should be enough fees to cover the town’s expenses, should there be a gap, they would financially cover that shortfall. 

The fiscal impact presented in March by the town estimated $112 million over 32 years for the Town of Islip, which is attributed to an assessed value increase from the current $12,563,654 would increase to $378,860,000 – representing nearly 3000 percent.

An estimated net negative impact was presented to last for the first five years, and starting year five onward, it would begin to yield positive. Town officials have said that startup costs would have a negative impact on the town budget starting with approximately $950,000, and generally work its way down.

Return to top

Suffolk County Shelter Locator and Storm Surge Zone Mapping Tool
The Shelter Locator and Storm Surge Zone Mapping Tool