Stonebridge golf club withdraws its development proposal

Stonebridge golf club withdraws its development proposal

Stonebridge Golf Links & Country Club. Photo courtesy Stonebridge Facebook page

By Sabrina Artusa

As of May 7, Stonebridge Golf Links & Country Club withdrew its application to modify the 1999 agreement, which if accepted, would have allowed the club to further develop its property.

While the development proposal was accepted initially by the Town of Smithtown, the Planning Board’s approval was necessary for any covenant change.

After fierce backlash and extensive media coverage, Stonebridge withdrew its application three days before the end of the feedback period. 

When Stonebridge released a proposal to add a driving range, an 8,000-square-foot clubhouse and 28 new housing units to a total of 133, among other modifications to the golf course, Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) received hundreds of letters in protest. 

The original covenants were intended to protect the environment, taking into consideration the Nissequogue River, adjacent forest and impacts to the floodplain. Stonebridge was prevented from building any more than 105 single-family residences on its 134-acre property. If more housing units were to be built, the covenants stated, then the golf facility must be closed and 90 acres must be preserved as open space.

As a result, community members feared not only that development would result in a rise in traffic and environmental damage, but also the loss of the golf course.

“The threats of the Stonebridge owner closing the golf course or reducing it to an executive course is alarming,” read a petition letter from the Hauppauge community.

At the March 20 Planning Board meeting at the Smithtown Senior Center, an influx of community members attended to voice their opinions, which were overwhelmingly against the development. Among those who spoke were Sue Stavrakos, secretary of the Stonebridge Homeowners Association, county Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) and Michael Kaufman, vice chair of the Suffolk County Council on Environmental Quality. 

“If this covenant is abolished, then what?” Stavrakos asked. “What else could he apply for? This was put to protect the community.”

Hundreds of residents of this area have experienced flooding in their houses and adding to the property would only hinder the flow of water, according to Kennedy. 

Residents, including Trotta, noted the influx of traffic on an already busy road, congestion, dwindling open space and encroachment on Blydenburgh Park as more reasons to reject the proposal and honor the covenants.

“It really goes against what Suffolk County has been doing along with preservation and streambed maintenance,” Kennedy said. “My interests are preserving what little we have left.”

Now the Stonebridge application has been withdrawn.