By Jano Tantongco
Both supporters for and advocates against a proposed Brightview Senior Living assisted living center in Dix Hills swarmed to Huntington Town Hall on Tuesday for a public hearing on the proposal held during the monthly town board meeting.
In order for the proposed 174,557-square-foot, three-story senior center to move forward, a zone change for three parcels from R-40 residential to R-HS residential health services needs to be approved by the board.
During the hearing, Andrew Campanelli, the attorney representing Anthony Natale and Mark Palumbo, who own one of the three parcels that the project would encompass, said Brightview is willing to invest more than $50 million in the project. The two other parcels that would be involved are owned by Bissett Nursery, which is in talks to sell the properties in order for the proposal to move forward.
Campanelli said, “There is no question there is need for the facility. The town knows it. Everybody knows it. That’s why you adopted the R-HS zoning.”
Dix Hills resident Ed Gould disagreed, and presented to the board a petition against the project that had over 1,000 signatures.
“The zone changed that is being discussed must be denied. Not only will this enormous building not fit in the area, there is no need for it,” he said.
David Carliner, partner at the Shelter Group and Brightview Senior Living, said he got into the industry to support “successful aging” and defended the proposal.
“We are making a big difference in people's lives,” he said. “We do build fantastic buildings that support vibrant lifestyles.... We take our responsibility as developer very seriously, we recognize that we will be a long-term neighbor in each one of the communities in which we operate.”
Attorney Andrew Levitt said he has been retained by several residents neighboring the proposed development sites, which are just north of the Long Island Expressway on the east side of Deer Park Avenue, currently occupied by businesses Island Design, Garden Country Nursery, Bella Casa Floral Design and Bissett Nursery. Levitt said his clients oppose the zone change application, claiming it would have adverse impacts on property values in the area.
Levitt added that the Sunrise Senior Living in Dix Hills, which is a mile north of the proposal sites, had an occupancy rate of 76 percent in 2014, and 68 percent in 2015, citing the New York State Adult Care Facility Annual Survey.
Lloyd Landow, a resident within 500 feet of the property, spoke during the hearing and said he’s an architect with firm Landow & Landow Architects, which specializes in assisted living, nursing homes and health care facilities.
Landow also took issue with occupancy rates of nearby facilities, and critiqued the size and design of the proposal.
“The proposed building in my opinion is an eyesore, completely out of scale with the surroundings,” he said.
Jim McGoldrick, of Huntington Station, spoke in favor of the proposal. He said senior living facilities don’t typically bring much traffic to surrounding area since most residents don’t drive. He said it would bring a much needed facility to house the elderly.
“I have relatives that want to live in these places,” he said. “We all have mothers and fathers, and it sounds like everybody’s throwing their mother and father under the bus.”