Proposed redevelopment of former Dowling College Shirley campus

Town Board gives public time to weigh in on project


The Brookhaven Town Board at its meeting on May 16 held off voting on a proposed zoning change for the former Dowling College aviation school campus off William Floyd Parkway in Shirley.

Morristown, New Jersey-based Hampshire Venture Partners, is seeking a zoning change from A-1 residential to L-1 industrial for 55.7 acres of the 104.5-acre site to build three industrial buildings totaling 596,000 square feet.

Hampshire’s proposal also calls for donating some of the land, including three athletic fields, to the Town of Brookhaven. Hampshire also wants to build an 81,000-square-foot hockey arena with two full-size ice sheets. There would be 700 parking spaces for the hockey arena and athletic fields.

The developers would build an on-site sewage treatment plant to serve the complex.

The town board held a public hearing and heard about a half-dozen members of the public who expressed concerns about the project, including the amount of truck traffic and whether Brookhaven already has a surplus of warehouse industrial buildings.

Rather than voting on the requested zoning change, the board held the matter open for 14 days to give the public an opportunity to submit written comments.

“We’re going to collectively think about this application,” supervisor Dan Panico said.

In addition to a zoning change, the project also requires site plan approval.

Representatives for the developer said they don’t expect to attract a large user like Amazon but a mix of smaller, local businesses seeking warehouse-distribution or light industrial space of between 30,000 to 60,000 square feet and that won’t generate the amount of truck traffic as an Amazon warehouse.

The developers project the complex would generate 340 truck trips over a 24-hour period, although not all the vehicles would be tractor-trailer trucks.

But 6th District councilwoman Karen Dunne Kesnig said that without knowing who the tenants would be, it is impossible to know how many of the trucks would be tractor-trailers.


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