By Connor Beach
Hauppauge-based development group Northwind Group has submitted a revised proposal to build townhouses at Indian Hills Country Club in Fort Salonga. The revised plan, unlike previous iterations, does not require approval from the town board, but instead is being considered by the planning board.
Among nearby residents, that distinction has raised concerns, which were voiced at Tuesday’s town board meeting.
Fort Salonga Property Owners Association member John Hayes pointed out the change to members of the town board during the public portion of Tuesday’s meeting.
“We can only guess as to why Northwind withdrew its change of zone application, but in doing so they are most assuredly bypassing the town board in favor of the planning board,” Hayes said.
Two years ago, developer Jim Tsunis sought a zone change from the town board so that he could move forward with a plan to erect a total of 110 over-55 housing units across the sprawling country club property. The zone change was never approved.
Instead, Northwind Group has revised the plan, calling for 98 units across 150 acres via a subdivision under the existing R-40 residential district zoning.
Huntington-based attorney Michael McCarthy, who is representing Northwind Group, said the application for preliminary subdivision approval was submitted to the town planning department on Dec. 21.
McCarthy predicted that the planning board will “direct the applicant to prepare and submit an environmental impact statement” for the new subdivision application.
“The developer is keenly aware that the community is very concerned about the environmental impacts associated with this development,” McCarthy said.
In what McCarthy called an unprecedented step, the developer has asked members of the planning board to give the project a positive SEQRA declaration so that town officials, associated agencies, the developer and community members can go through the entire environmental review process together.
A members of the nearby community, and of the Crab Meadow Watershed Advisory Board, William Berg, said Tuesday that further development of the Indian Hills property could have a “detrimental effect on the environment.”
If the planning board choses to make a positive SEQRA declaration on the application, then the project will not be able to move forward until an environmental review is completed, according to McCarthy.