The Town of Brookhaven Planning Board closed a public hearing regarding a proposed subdivision for East Setauket at its June 6 meeting and put it on its decision calendar.
The preliminary eight-lot subdivision that will feature a cul-de-sac and include a drainage basin is located at the southeast corner of Pond Path and Upper Sheep Pasture Road in East Setauket. The application was submitted by Anthony Martino, president of Ronkonkoma-based Winmar Homes.
Three residents and representatives of the Three Village Civic Association, George Hoffman and Herb Mones, attended the June 6 meeting to express concerns about council approving the preliminary subdivision in consideration of the developer’s treatment of clusters.
The approximately 6 1/2 acre property, zoned residential, is known locally as the Selleck property. On the property is a 1920s farmhouse that the developer plans to demolish. The civic association asked for his protection.
The civic association and residents also raised concerns about the recharge basin, traffic flow and the elevation of the planned homes.
Mones said it takes time to think about the development that has been used for agriculture in the past.
“In our view, this deserves a bit more scrutiny and concern from the Planning Board,” he said.
Members of the civic association also believe there is a better alternative to deal with water runoff than a recharge pond, which will be surrounded by a chain-link fence.
Hoffman compared the recharge pond to a 1950s cesspool and said the development did not represent good planning. He said the corner of Pond Path and Upper Sheep Pasture Road is “the most important part of this community – it’s a very busy section”.
Michael Kelly, who lives close to the planned development, said the idea of a recharging pond near his home kept him awake at night. He said there are others in the community that have not been maintained, are overgrown and “rodent havens.”
Kelly added with an elementary school across the street that there is already enough traffic and accidents in the neighborhood, where he has lived for five years. Kelly said he’s seen a few crashes before where speeding drivers hit telephone poles.
Colleen Gitto, who also lives nearby, wanted to be sure that each lot would be half an acre and was concerned that the proposed two-story houses would be higher and these houses overlook neighboring properties.
Patchogue’s attorney, Larry Davis, representing the developer, said all lots would meet the city’s required 22,500 square feet, or just over half an acre.
Anthony Zalak of JR Holzmacher Engineering in Ronkonkoma said of the recharge pond that they are bound by city requirements, and that it is designed to comply with the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan, which requires 9 inches of precipitation.
“If a recharge pond were eliminated or reduced in size, that stormwater would have to be routed to other systems which, of course, would be pre-engineered,” Zalak said.
He added that an estimate would be over 70 leach ponds, which he said should be spread across the subdivision road or a combination of Upper Sheep Pasture and Pond Path. The project provides for red cedars along the roadways to protect the recharge basin.
Zalak said there will be no additional elevation of the houses compared to the current plan.
He added that no traffic study was conducted because eight parcels do not dictate the need for a study.
The engineer said draft plans had been submitted to the city to try to include the existing farm which involved grouping the new houses together.
“The layout of the whole parcel itself, its elevation to the east is much higher than up to the causeway to the west on Pond Path,” he said. “The configuration of this plot layout involves cutting the causeway and leveling it – we would say from the access on Upper Sheep Pasture. So trying to keep this existing house really doesn’t work at all for conforming lots and laying the roadway to enter in the middle of the whole lot and have a cul-de-sac of the property conforming to the cul-de-sac South side.
The next day, Mones said the consideration for consolidation that was proposed by the developer does not allow enough land for preservation that the civic association had hoped for.
Members of the Planning Board said before putting the subdivision on its decision calendar, the first decision would be for the preliminary subdivision. Since this would not be a final approval, there will be revisions and another public hearing will take place once the final plans are complete.