Civic group does not vote ‘fore’ or against proposal
Dozens of community members turned out to a special meeting of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association last Wednesday night, Aug. 27, to oppose a proposed retirement housing project at the Heatherwood golf course.
The owners of Heatherwood Golf Club, located at Arrowhead Lane and Nesconset Highway in Terryville, are looking to build 200 rental units at the site — made up of townhouses, ranches and apartments — for residents 55 and older.
Doug Partrick, an owner of the course and multifamily housing developer Heatherwood Communities, was not at the meeting, but according to a presentation he gave on the project at a May civic meeting, the housing would be built on 25 of the golf course’s 70 acres, leaving 45 acres as open space.
The homes would be surrounded by a nine-hole golf course, down from the 18 holes currently on the site.
Residents at Wednesday’s meeting said they are concerned about the project’s impacts on traffic and quality of life. They were also wary of overdevelopment.
“It takes me 20 minutes to get home and I travel 1.8 miles,” Patricia Higgins, who lives close to the golf course, said in an interview afterward. “I could walk faster.”
Civic President Ed Garboski told the crowd that the golf course would shut down at the end of the season, regardless of whether the housing project is approved.
Partrick had said in May that if the development did not move forward, he would think about whether he is “better off consistently losing money on the golf course or … just shutting the golf course down, leaving it dormant” and paying taxes on the land.
“If he wants to walk, let him walk,” Lou Antoniello, who is the civic treasurer but was speaking just as a Terryville resident, said in an interview. “Have a nice day and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Residents hope they can stop the project from moving forward.
“I am so glad I came to know what’s going on and it’s disappointing,” Port Jefferson Station resident Nancy Farrell said in an interview.
Garboski said during the meeting that results of a traffic study performed on the area found that the proposed Heatherwood project would not have a big impact on traffic.
But residents argued that 200 rented units would bring at least 200 new cars, and said they don’t understand how that wouldn’t affect traffic.
Joe Cannone, a Port Jefferson Station resident, said after the meeting that he isn’t against development at the golf course, but “the golf course should either stay a golf course or develop for what it’s zoned for.”
The course is zoned A Residence 5, which allows one housing unit for every 5 acres.
The civic is expected to vote on whether it supports the project at its next meeting on Sept. 23.
Whatever the group decides, it will have the backing of a neighbor — Shawn Nuzzo, president of the Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook, attended last Wednesday’s meeting because part of the golf course lies in the Three Village school district, and he assured the crowd that his civic will take the same stand as whatever the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association decides.