Supervisor Objects To Heartland Over Traffic Concerns

A rendering depicts part of the proposed Heartland development.

A rendering depicts part of the proposed Heartland development.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone has publicly objected to the proposed Heartland Town Square development in Brentwood, citing traffic concerns with roads located within Huntington’s eastern border.

The objection, filed with the Suffolk County Planning Department, follows the Town of Islip’s recent decision to rezone 113 acres on the site of the former Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center.

The decision has paved the way for developer Jerry Wolkoff to begin phase one of his planned massive mix-used development that would include 3,504 residential units, 560,000 square feet of retail space and 626,000 square feet of office space.

Although the entire construction site falls within Islip’s borders, Huntington had the opportunity to file an objection with Suffolk since the zone change applies to land within 500 feet of the town line, according to Andrew Freleng, chief planner for the Suffolk planning commission.

In a letter dated Aug. 31, Petrone stated, “Our chief and overriding concern has been the traffic effects of the project on the surrounding areas, most notably, from our prospective, Commack Road and the Sagtikos Parkway.”

Petrone continued, “We believe the infrastructure must be planned, developed and built for all phases of the proposal before construction of the first project phase begins.”

Freleng said a public hearing will be hosted by the commission, which in February offered a favorable recommendation for phase one of the Heartland project.

“The commission did deliberate about the traffic effects, but the project is very contentious and there was always the possibility of push back,” Freleng said.

Wolkoff, who first introduced the Heartland proposal in 2002, when he purchased the land, said this is not the first time Petrone has raised objections over traffic.

“I spoke to them way before and this was a concern of theirs, and we addressed it through our traffic and environmental impact study,” Wolkoff said.

Wolkoff added that he’s unsure how the Sept. 19, 6 p.m. public hearing at Suffolk’s Legislative Auditorium (725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown) will alter the timeline for the Heartland development.

However, Freleng said that depending on the commission’s decision, the project could be delayed.