Legislators hoping to preserve one of the largest undeveloped tracts remaining in western Suffolk County yesterday approved appraisals for the 41 acre Gyrodyne property in Saint James. The move, cosponsored by the Legislature’s Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee’s Chairwoman Kara Hahn and Committee Member Robert Trotta, allows the Planning Division to assess the owner’s interest in selling this environmentally sensitive tract to the County for open space purposes. If the property owner, GSD Flowerfield, LLC of Smithtown, expresses an interest in participating in this voluntary open space protection program, the County’s initial outreach will be followed by appraisals and additional legal and environmental reviews required for a potential future sale.
Situated along the historic Route 25A corridor extending from Mills Pond Road in Saint James to the Brookhaven-Smithtown border in Stony Brook, the largely undeveloped Gyrodyne property is within a freshwater wetlands and adjacent wetlands that feed into the Long Island Sound, Mill Pond in Stony Brook and Stony Brook Harbor. Over the summer, the property’s owner submitted an application to the Town of Smithtown to construct a 150 room hotel, two medical office buildings totaling 128,400 ft2 and two long-term care buildings that will house 220 assisted living units on the property. If built, preservation proponents expect the project to increase traffic, hurt the environment and diminish quality of life within both Smithtown and Brookhaven Towns.
“If built, the proposed Gyrodyne project will fundamentally change the character of the Stony Brook and Saint James communities through increased traffic, a deteriorated environment and diminished quality of life for our entire region. Each of us, regardless of which side of the Brookhaven-Smithtown border you reside on is threatened by this project moving forward,” said Legislator Hahn. “For that reason Legislator Robert Trotta and I put forward legislation to preserve these environmentally and historically important parcels from being destroyed.”
The bill now goes to County Executive Steve Bellone for his expected signature. Once the County’s Planning Division does the preliminary work authorized during yesterday’s vote, there are two subsequent steps established in County laws that will follow leading up to a parcel’s possible acquisition. If Suffolk is able to negotiate the purchase of these parcels, funding will come from the County’s Drinking Water Protection Program.