Developer Mark Baisch of Landmark Properties has purchased the front parcel at Birchwood at Spring Lake. Mr. Baisch is an experienced builder of single family homes as well as condos and apartments, with a notable recent project for veterans in Rocky Point. The 20+ acre property, south of Birchwood along the north side of RT 25 Middle Country Rd, was owned by Kimco for many years; it has been the subject of several major development proposals as well as much consternation. The parcel has unique “as of right” possibilities contained in the original C&Rs and building prospectus dating back to the 1990s, including the ability to use and sell the rights to excess gallonage of the Birchwood at Spring Lake sewage treatment plant– or something similarly confounding and concerning, as all STPS tend to be!
The newest proposal calls for 74 duplex, single story senior rental apartments. Each unit would be 1000 square feet, with two bedrooms, two baths, full sized washer & dryer, and an over-sized 1-car garage. Rents would be approximately $2500 a month, and veterans would be given priority in the rental application process. There will be no basements, and access to the property will be through the newly named Oak Run side street to the east, not via Birchwood Drive, The project requires a Change of Zone to “Planned Retirement Community”; Mr. Baisch estimates the approval for the COZ to PRC will add about a year to the project timeline. The “senior” nature of the apartments eliminates any negative impact to the school district, and more open space will be preserved than if the allowable, as currently zoned for, number of houses were to be built.
The Birchwood HOA Board supports this project as the least invasive of any yet proposed. In the absence of regular community meetings at Birchwood due to Covid, MICA hosted Mr. Baisch, HOA President Fran Gentleman and other Birchwood residents at its January 20, 2022 monthly meeting at the MIFD HQ. This was a very well attended meeting, with most people favoring the project, although no formal plans had been submitted to the Town of Brookhaven at that time. MICA president Gail Lynch-Bailey and TOB Councilman Mike Loguercio each urged Mr. Baisch to begin the approval process so that comments can begin in earnest. We have yet to ask if the developer will seek IDA support. The MICA Board is concerned that elder residents of the apartments may have trouble accessing RT 25 via the probably unsignalled Oak Run Drive; we also hope for a positive re-use of the empty bank building independent of this proposal.