The Suffolk County Planning Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to recommend the Islip Town Board grant a zoning change that would allow for the development of the Heartland Town Square project — a landmark proposal that would bring millions of square feet of living, work and retail space to the former Pilgrim State property.
After five hours of public comments at a Riverhead meeting, a review of the county planning staff report, questions and discussion between the commissioners, the board voted 14-0 to recommend the zone change for the property that sits between Commack Road and Sagtikos Parkway in Brentwood.
Commissioners included several conditions in its recommendation: that the petitioner shall certify that all contractors and subcontractors used to build retail and industrial buildings will participate in apprenticeship programs; that the town will monitor traffic at 50 percent occupancy of the first phase of development and later at incremental stages; that the Suffolk County Water Authority monitor any changes in the groundwater table and that irrigation needs be monitored closely.
Comments added to the recommendation include that the Town of Islip consider reserving land for a new school in the Brentwood school district — after district officials complained about overcrowding and the lack of land to build a new school building — and that appropriate parties better gauge and monitor waste water flow.
Earlier in the meeting, the commissioners voted to not reopen the public portion on Heartland, which had been closed at last month’s meeting.
But after urging from Adrienne Esposito, the vice chair of the commission, and hearing from Suffolk County Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley), Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) and Brentwood school board member Roberto Feliciano, all elected officials who are allowed to speak outside of a public portion, the commission took another vote that allowed eight speakers to give their comments.
Browning brought up several of her concerns, including sewer usage, the impact on the Brentwood school district, and the lack of inclusion for local labor unions to build the development.