Following community reluctance to a proposed plan by Rechler Equity for at least 1,300 rental units at the former Island Hills Golf Course site, an advisory committee of five individuals (three of which are financially compensated, and two of whom declined financial compensation) was formed and tasked with preparing a report for Rechler Equity Partners after engaging community members.
At least three meetings with different community members have been held this fall, the first on Oct. 2, where school board members were invited; and on Oct. 11, with business representatives including the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce; and the most recent on Nov. 9, with the Greater Islip Association.
The committee issued a statement in October that said the meetings were by invitation only and would not invite members of the press.
The latest meeting on Thursday, Nov. 9, was with the Greater Islip Association, who has made a public stance of “no zone change” to the Island Hills parcel.
At the meeting, 10 community members attended True North Church with all five committee members, three Rechler Equity employees, and the architect for the Island Hills vision present.
According to the GIA, an advisory committee member stated that they did not invite anyone else other than the Greater Islip Association to the meeting because of concerns of intimidation by the GIA on other community members to speak freely.
The development plan presented to the GIA included approximately 900 units.
The GIA said that while the conceptual plan has decreased the amount of units from the original 2017 proposal, “they failed to highlight that it is still 10 times the density that is currently allowed.” The current zoning for Island Hills is AAA residential, which will allow for 1-acre lots, or 98 single-family homes.
“We felt every word said at the meeting was being over analyzed […] Unfortunately, we’ve been down this road multiple times with Rechler’s small group meetings and our feedback was never incorporated. We just hope this time, the new advisory committee will listen to our concerns and advocate for these changes to be put in the plan before a new one is presented to the town,” said Milynn Augulis, president of the GIA.
The committee reiterated that “no final plan has been developed or submitted regarding the Island Hills property,” and that “any conceptual details that have been shared in these meetings have been used only for the purpose of fostering constructive conversations.”
The advisory committee said their “central goal is to provide a private, safe, and productive space for the discussion of a new vision for the shuttered Island Hills golf course property,” and that “we have assured meeting attendees that our meetings would remain private, and to comment further on the details of these discussions would be a violation of that core principle.”
Committee head Michael Dawidziak said in a statement, “We are happy to say that our meetings have been very constructive and productive, including the recent meeting with the Greater Islip Association’s leadership.”