The most recent site plan apartment layout for the Scalamander Cove project is pictured above. Below is the important Storm Water Retention Plan. These are part of a multi-page site plan that was reviewed by the Brookhaven Planning Board on Nov 8, 2021. MICA voiced its continued support for this long sought project in a letter earlier in 2021, after supporting the amended covenants and restrictions in July 2020 and the original Change of Zone 15 years earlier in 2006. MICA testified in favor of this project at the Planning Board hearing, siting its Market Rate component as the key factor in our support; this is NOT a low income housing project. We will also continue to press for additional traffic mitigation measures and other concerns. The site plan and associated parking variance were unanimously approved by the TOB Planning Board, 6-0, on Nov 8th, 2021.
In late November 2021, a Patch article about Sam Glass’ long planned 96 unit market-rate apartment complex was shared on the Longwood Community News Group on Facebook. It caused a huge backlash against MICA, which I chose not to address on social media. The Patch “reporter” never contacted us or any TOB official; she simply lifted info from our MICA website and made it seem like she had. Worse, the photo accompanying the article was of the wrong location: it was of the old dead No Gas station, where the new 7Eleven has been for two years! It’s clear very few of the commentators on the post bothered to read the article, which was technically accurate but incomplete. Those of you in regular attendance at MICA know how long and hard we’ve worked to shape this development, approved in 2006. It’s been on our meeting agenda and in our minutes for YEARS! For those not so well informed, here is a timeline for MICA’s involvement with this project:
Prior to 2000: Parcel is zoned industrial and is home to a small sand mine, remnants still visible on Google maps and Historic Aerials. Talk looms about building a multi-story nursing home on the property.
2002: Longwood Alliance hosts a Visioning Charette for Coram, GH, MI and Ridge; MI participants conclude that the center of our hamlet is where any future growth should occur to prevent sprawl. This Visioning leads to the adoption of the TOB’s Middle Country Road Land Use Plan in 2006.
2006: The parcels known as Sandy Hills (east of RT 21 where Renaissance Village is now) and Scalamander Cove (west of RT 21 which Sam Glass owns) are re-zoned from industrial to multi-family by the TOB after a lengthy public hearing process and many comments. SH to build STP for both projects.
2008: Dick Amper and the Pine Barrens Society file lawsuit effectively stopping Sandy Hills, claiming a super majority vote was needed to pass re-zoning. SH owner Frank Weber eventually files for bankruptcy protection.
2009: Sam Glass pursues building on-site STP for his project alone; signs go up on property: “Town Homes Coming Soon,” but plan makes no progress.
2014: SH sells all but MCR fronting property to Concern for Independent Living; they build Renaissance Village with an expandable STP, which opens in Fall 2017 for veterans and other at-risk populations.
2017: Jeremy Longo of Belfor attends MICA’s March 28 meeting to review plans for Scalamander Cove. He built RV and will build SC for Sam Glass, but as a market rate project to balance RV. Plan includes a traffic light on RT 21 and is well received at MICA meeting. Plans are posted on MICA’s website. Mid-summer, MICA attends meeting at Town Hall with J. Longo, Supervisor Romaine and Councilman Loguercio to discuss 2006 Covenants & Restrictions on parcel, one of which prohibits soil removal. Soil compromise is reached. Further examination of C&Rs reveals other amendments needed.
2018: Sam Glass ends contract w/Belfor. Lawyers, environmental planners, traffic experts and Sam Glass attend MICA Board meeting at MIFD on October 9 to review latest plans and answer questions. Process is repeated at October 18 regular civic meeting at LPL, which was also MICA’s Meet the Candidates Night resulting in an SRO crowd. Plan is again very well received, especially news that no 3 bedroom apts are included. Traffic light is now subject to determination of need by SC DPW. Negotiations for a letter of support from MICA begin. Newest plans and list of MICA’s concerns are added to MICA’s website page devoted to this project. Sam Glass’ attorneys work on amendments to the C&Rs.
2019: Support letter negotiations continue via email and phone. MICA board approves letter dated May 9, 2019 which includes our concerns. Letter posted on MICA website. Later that month, MI Rd resident James Civil contacts MICA about well water issues and references a meeting held at LPL years before with Sam Glass. Meanwhile, Frank Weber contacts MICA about his needs for some STP coverage for the smaller parcel he retained on MCR after bankruptcy. MICA meets with Sam Glass et al, Frank Weber, and Councilman Loguercio at Town Hall on July 22 to discuss STP gallon allotments that would allow both SC and SH to move forward. MICA then hosts meeting on July 29 at LPL with Sam Glass, SCWA, Mr. Civil and other residents about well water. Sam agrees to work with homeowners on well improvements, most of whom do not want to hook up to public water because the cost from the street to their homes is prohibitive. Work continues on C&R amendments.
2020: The world-wide pandemic begins. Public hearing set moths beforehand are postponed and rescheduled virtually. James Civil and MICA work with Sam Glass on various well water upgrade possibilities. MICA continues to press for traffic signal on RT 21. New head of SC DPW Joe Brown explains signal will be responsibility of Sam Glass IF/when its need is warranted. SC says it ISN’T…yet. MICA board approves June 30, 2020 letter of conditional support for amendments to C&Rs. Letter posted on MICA website. Public hearing is held virtually on July 16th. MICA “attends”, asks questions and testifies in favor of amendments which will cause Sam Glass to restore the wetlands on the southern half of the parcel BEFORE dedicating that portion to TOB forever, add sidewalks all the way to RT 25 along Rt 21, retain all storm water runoff on site, establish a $50,000 beautification fund which the TOB will use only in MI, and more. TOB unanimously approves amendments to C&Rs.
2021: Sam Glass et al seek site plan approval via a Public Hearing before the TOB Planning Board. MICA issues a board approved letter of continued but conditional support to the Planning Board on May 17, 2021. Letter posted on MICA website. In-person Planning Board hearing takes place on November 8, 2021 at Town Hall. MICA contacts SC DPW again; they confirm traffic signal not yet warranted. MICA attends and testifies in support on market rate project that will be a good counter balance to the low income housing at RV, will restore the historic wetlands once home to Pfeiffer’s Pond and finally enact the plan approved 15 years prior and envisioned almost two decades ago. Mr. Civil is also in attendance. The Planning Board members asked excellent questions about the project, especially about how many people would live in each apartment. Sam Glass explained that apt leases will restrict these numbers. The site plan was unanimously approved.
The date for this hearing was on MICA’s October meeting agenda and in its minutes, and the results of same were on MICA’s November meeting agenda and in those minutes – as were ALL of the aforementioned dates, meetings, correspondence and proceedings at the appropriate times. The business of the Middle Island Civic Association is mainly conducted at these meetings – NOT on social media. No amount of keyboard criticism, taunts or downright lies can detract from our hard work here and on so many other matters in our community.
The Town of Brookhaven held a virtual Public Hearing on July 16, 2020 to consider changes to the Restrictions and Covenants (C&Rs) on this proposed development. MICA submitted a renewed letter of conditional support, as did local homeowners James and Loretta Civil. MICA President Gail Lynch-Bailey also testified at the Zoom meeting to review our concerns. We were pleased to hear that the sidewalks will be concluded to Rt 25, that the beautification money will remain earmarked for Middle Island, and that we are all worried about traffic mitigation there and the need for a signal at the new intersection of Rt 21 and Renaissance Blvd. The wetlands remediation will begin concurrent with construction of the first 30 units. The amendments to the C&Rs were approved unanimously. Here is MICA’s letter:
Development of the property behind the Shell station between Routes 25 and 21 that was approved by the Town Board in 2005 for multi-family apartments is moving forward. As you may recall, the property was incorporated into the MCR Land Use Plan in 2005 for development of multi-family residential houses. Since the project was presented to MICA last year, the development plans have been slightly modified.
The developer, Scalamander Development, whose principal is Sam Glass, and his consultants met with the MICA Board on October 9, 2018 to discuss the Project. Mr. Glass is an experienced developer who has developed townhouses in South Carolina, renovated the Aqualina Inn in Montauk and, more recently, developed a luxury apartment building at 40 Division Street, Farmingdale (next to the LIRR) and renovated two existing stores located at 155 Main Street, Farmingdale.
As was presented in 2017, the project still consists of 8 buildings with a total of 96-units. This number was approved by the Town Board in 2005. The 2 buildings at the center of the property will be 3-stories in height with the 6 buildings on the outskirts of the property being 2-stories in height. The buildings will feature a mix of 74, 1,000 square foot 2-bedroom units and 22, 700 square foot 1-bedroom units. Unlike the prior plan, there will be no 3-bedroom units on the property.
The total lot area of the property is 13.35 acres; however, the developers is dedicating more than half of the property – approximately 6.8 acres – to the Town of Brookhaven for wetlands preservation and the expansion of Renaissance Boulevard to connect Middle Island Road with Rocky Point Road. The dedication is over 2 acres more than the 4.52 acres proposed in 2017 and includes the wetland once known as Pfeiffer’s Pond and the western access to the underground culvert for the tiger salamander. Additionally, the project calls for .2 acres of the property to be dedicated to Suffolk County for the widening of Rocky Point Road.
This project is starkly different from Renaissance Village. This will be a market-rate project that will feature high-end materials including Hardie Board siding and granite countertops. As required by the Town, the project will include approximately 13 affordable units.
The project will feature over 20,000 square feet of recreation area. The recreation area will include an inground pool, a recreation building, barbecue area, community garden, tot play area, and game area with bocce ball, horse shoe pit, chess and checkers. A fitness trail will be constructed around the perimeter of the property with fitness stations throughout the trail. Additionally, sidewalks have been proposed along Middle Island Road, Rocky Point Road, and the Renaissance Boulevard extension.
All storm water runoff will be retained on site and the developer will be entering into a sewage treatment agreement with the owners of Sandy Hill to utilize its existing sewage treatment plant.
The developer and his consultants attended the MICA meeting on Thursday, October 18, 2018 at the Longwood Public Library and presented the project to the larger civic body. The project was well received, but additional questions were generated. These questions and answers are posted below:
1. Impact to the school district/PILOT payments – this market rate project must generate enough annual property tax dollars to offset the costs of educating a realistic estimation of the schoolchildren who will attend Longwood as a result of these new homes. We know you will be meeting with the district and hope you can reach an understanding that fosters BOE support. We plan to meet with the BOE to discuss the Project and hope to obtain the BOE’s support for the Project. However, as we had presented at our meetings, this project is not expected to generate a significant amount of school aged children. Moreover, even with IDA financing we believe the taxes to be paid to the Town will more than cover any increase in costs related to the school district.
2. Traffic light/sidewalks/vehicular & pedestrian safety – the plan presented in 2017 included a traffic signal at Rt 21 AND sidewalks along both the east and west boundaries of the wetland acreage. The current plan doesn’t include either of these — this is very troubling. The traffic signal was a key element of our support of the 2017 plan. The civic intends to fight for the signal. We note only a small section of sidewalk near the wetlands – will these be extended? They must be in order to promote walkability, an essential feature of the hamlet plan. How can new residents walk safely to the library or shopping without sidewalks or a traffic light to help them cross Rt 21? We reviewed the prior site plans we have on file and they do not depict a traffic light at that intersection. However, the applicant supports the installation of a traffic light. At the present time, no formal request has been made for the installation of a traffic light but, based upon our meeting with MICA and hearing your concerns, we will be submitting a request. Please understand that the applicant cannot unilaterally agree to install a traffic light without the approval of the NYSDOT, as it has jurisdiction over that roadway. With respect to your request for sidewalks along the west side of Rocky Point Road, because that land has been designated for wetlands preservation by the NYSDEC, the applicant would need its permission to install them. We have requested a field meeting with the NYSDEC in an attempt to discuss your request.
3. Adequate on-site parking – the original plan had 194 and this one less than 170. Is this within code or will a variance/landbank be needed? We’re not fans of too much parking, but this is a constrained site where additional nearby parking is basically impossible. We believe that there may be some confusion with respect to the prior parking calculations. The prior Belfor plans provided 166 parking spaces. The 166 parking spaces included nine (9) detached garages. Being that the garages would likely be used for storage space, realistically, the Belfor plans provided less than 166 parking spaces. We have removed the detached garages from our plans and have provided 169 parking spaces.
4. Aesthetics/landscaping/appearance to community – we appreciate that upgraded materials and finishes will be used on both the exteriors and interiors. A question was asked about the landscaping. Can we get a list of the planned trees, shrubs, etc? The current site plan does not list any of these. The new nearby 7Eleven/gas station will be replanted with all native plantings — will this site be similarly treated? A Landscape Plan with the Landscape Planting Schedule will be circulated once it is finalized.
5. Who will perform the actual construction now that Belfor is no longer associated with the project? Sam Glass, a member of Scalamander Cove LLC, will be the builder. As stated at the meeting, Sam Glass has successfully developed numerous first rate projects throughout Long Island and in South Carolina.
6. Flooding concerns- local residents remember many periods of flooding during non-drought times. We know that SWPPP requires on-site retention, but how exactly is that accomplished? The storm water runoff will be stored in below grade drywell structures. These are precast concrete structures with openings that allow the storm water to infiltrate back into the groundwater. The bottom of the structures is set above the groundwater elevation. Soil borings were performed on-site to determine the groundwater elevation.
7. We believe at least two residential structures will need to come down on this site — would Sam give the MIFD permission to remove them as part of a practice drill? They have all necessary liability, waivers etc, at the ready. Scalamander Cove LLC will give permission to the MIFD to remove the residential structures as part of a practice drill provided that all appropriate insurance policies and permits are in place prior to the drill.
8. Speed limit on RT 21- would you believe it’s a ridiculous 50 mph there? The civic has been working to get SC to lower it to 30 mph from the intersection of RTs 21 and 25 to Bailey Rd. Would all of you support this safety change? Scalamander Cove LLC would support a reduction of the speed limit on RT 21 from the intersection of RTs 21 and 25 to Bailey Road.
9. Emergency access road of RT 21 – The Town of Brookhaven Fire Marshal will have an opportunity to review and issue comments on the emergency access points during site plan review.
View the Floor Plans here: Floor Plans new
A proposal for a 96 unit, market-rate apartment complex was presented to Middle Island Civic Association members at its March 28, 2017 meeting. Jeremy Longo of Belfor Property Restoration explained that this project will be situated at the northwest corner of Rts 25 and 21, behind the Shell station on property owned by Sam Glass where remnants of an illegal sand mine are still visible. The parcel is part of the trifecta of properties, along with Sandy Hills and old Kogel, originally identified for development of a hamlet center by the community in the visioning charettes of 2002; these were incorporated into the MCR Land Use Plan in 2005. Residents may recall seeing signage for “Town Homes Coming Soon” back in 2008 and 2009. The plan discussed will use the new sewage treatment plant at Sandy Hills, and all storm water runoff will be retained on site. It consists of eight buildings, six 2-storeys and two 3-storeys, the majority being one- and two- bedroom units along with a small number of three-bedroom rentals. These are not being marketed or financed as affordable or special needs units. Walkability — and the necessary sidewalks — are important aspects of this project. The plan features a recreation building, outdoor pool, hot tub, and playground. Entrance to and exit from the complex will be via a new road, Rocky Island Way, which the developer will construct to align with Renaissance Blvd on the east side of Rt 21. Perhaps most importantly, a traffic light will also be installed by the developer at this new intersection. MICA awaits additional info on rental prices, floor plans, anticipated numbers of school age children, and increased tax revenues. More than a third of the parcel, the southern most 4.52 acres, will be retained as open space and dedicated to the Town of Brookhaven. This area includes a wetland once known as Pfeiffer’s Pond, as well as the western access to the under-road culvert for the endangered tiger salamander, required by the DEC.