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Flowerfield

By Chris Mellides

[email protected]

Concerned local property owners were joined by members of Saint James-Head of the Harbor Neighborhood Preservation Coalition and other representatives to block the planned subdivision by Gyrodyne to repurpose the 63-acre Flowerfield site. A legal challenge was filed April 26 to overturn the March 30 preliminary subdivision approval by the Town of Smithtown Planning Board.

The application proposal from Gyrodyne included a multistory 125-room hotel along with 250 assisted living housing units, 175,000 square feet of office space, parking to accommodate over 2,000 cars and a 7-acre sewage plant. 

Among those who spoke at Tuesday’s press conference on the corner of Mills Pond Road and Route 25A outside of Flowerfield were local attorney Joseph Bollhofer; Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook); legal counselor E. Christopher Murray; and Judy Ogden, Head of the Harbor village trustee and neighborhood preservation coalition spokesperson. 

“Our lawsuit has been filed and the decision to file this litigation against the Smithtown government was not made lightly,” Bollhofer said. “Like many of you, I love this town. I grew up here, my wife was born in St. James. In the 1970s, I did my Eagle Scout project for the benefit of the people in this town.”

Bollhofer went on to say that the “Smithtown government is doing a very good job” yet its handling of the Gyrodyne application has been bungled. “It’s been our hope that we are able to preserve this property,” he added. “We’ve been doing our best to get the people involved with this to come together to try and find a way to get the money to pay Gyrodyne fair compensation for this open space.”

Representing Three Village Civic Association was Herb Mones. “Smithtown has to go back and review its determinations on this property,” he said, while also saying that in the opinion of many in the civic association, the Town of Smithtown did not pay close enough attention to the law that required them to “carefully review what the buildout would mean to the surrounding community.”

Living just 600 feet up the road from Flowerfield, Ogden spoke on behalf of residents in the communities of both St. James and Head of the Harbor. Together, Ogden said community members have been speaking publicly against the Gyrodyne subdivision application for the past two years.

“We’ve been speaking at public forums, at Zoom meetings, writing letters and sending emails at every opportunity that has been provided to express our concerns with the proposed Gyrodyne megadevelopment,” she said. “But no matter what we say or how many people show up, our voices have been ignored.”

For more than a year, opponents to the subdivision application have said that the environmental impacts of changes Gyrodyne made to its original plan after the initial environmental review was completed have not been evaluated and “did not comply with state law,” according to a press release issued on the day of the event.

“The role of government is to show leadership, which represents all people of the community and follows a comprehensive plan steering development in the right direction, while preserving and enhancing the nature of our community and natural resources,” said Ogden.

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Saint James – Head of the Harbor Neighborhood Preservation Coalition has proposed an alternative plan for the Gyrodyne property. Image from Saint James – Head of the Harbor Neighborhood Preservation Coalition

By Judy Ogden

Now that there is a broadly-supported alternative plan to allow reasonable development at the Gyrodyne site in St. James while preserving Flowerfield Fairgrounds for use by the community, it is critically important for elected officials to make sure  that this common-sense plan is implemented, which will be a win-win for the community and Gyrodyne, and will avoid years of uncertainty and litigation.

It should come as no surprise that support has grown very quickly for the Compromise Plan. It has been clear from the outset that Gyrodyne’s plan for a hotel, 250 assisted living units and 175,000 square feet of medical offices on the last remaining open space in St. James is simply too much development for the site and would completely destroy the character of the community and overwhelm the surrounding roads. 

But with intelligent planning, there is no reason why we can’t have reasonable development of the Gyrodyne site while also preserving Flowerfield Fairgrounds. That is why a diverse group of stakeholders including Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) and state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) have expressed support for an alternative plan that would cluster development on part of the 75-acre property while preserving the Flowerfield Fairgrounds portion  for passive recreation and community events. 

Head of the Harbor trustees have pointed out repeatedly that Gyrodyne’s massive proposal is in direct conflict with key recommendations contained in the Town’s new Draft Comprehensive Plan. A key finding of the Draft Comprehensive Plan is that the St. James community severely lacks open space compared to other areas of  Smithtown. Under the new Compromise Plan, the Fairgrounds would become a new open space and made available for events such as the car shows that are already held there and other community events, addressing  the need identified in the Town’s Plan. 

Head of the Harbor Mayor Douglas Dahlgard has called for the property to be preserved in its entirety as a park. If that turns out not to be possible, however, there is still a way to preserve much of the property while allowing reasonable development that would have less of an impact on the environment and the community. 

Now there is a realistic solution to the problem that can benefit all parties, including Gyrodyne. But that solution can only be successful if Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) and members of the Town Board exercise strong leadership by joining other elected officials who are already supporting the Compromise Plan.  

The beauty of the Gyrodyne Compromise Plan is that it would require relatively minor changes to Gyrodyne’s subdivision proposal but would address many of the community’s most serious concerns, avoiding the possibility  of costly litigation that could tie the property up for years. Our elected officials need to hear from the community regarding the importance of the Gyrodyne Compromise Plan and work hard to see it to fruition. There are  several ways to let your voice be heard. 

First, the Town of Smithtown Planning Board will meet via Zoom at 6 p.m. on March 30 to consider preliminary approval of the original Gyrodyne subdivision. The meeting is open to the public and a great opportunity to urge the Planning Board not to approve Gyrodyne’s subdivision plan and support the new Compromise Plan instead. The meeting link can be found on the town’s website, smithtownny.gov. 

Residents can also directly e-mail the supervisor and members of the Town Board and urge them to show leadership by working to support the Gyrodyne Compromise Plan. For more information, go to stjameshohnpc.org.

Judy Ogden is a Head of the Harbor trustee and founding member of  Saint James – Head of the Harbor Neighborhood Preservation Coalition. 

Stock photo

The St. James Fire Department Engine Company No. 1 will hold its 2nd annual St. James Community Holiday Gift & Toy Drive-Thru on Saturday, December 4 at Gyrodyne/Flowerfield in St. James from noon to 4 p.m.  Visitors will enter via the entrance on Route 25A.  Donations of an unwrapped toy or gift card are requested.

This year, multiple St. James organizations are collaborating on the event. The organizations are as follows:

St. James Fire Department Engine Co. 1

Celebrate St. James

Troop 7 Boy Scouts

Smithtown High School East Leadership

Smithtown High School East Chamber Choir

Veterans Recovery Coalition

St. James Girl Scouts Troop

St. James Civic Association

Smithtown Food Pantry

Gyrodyne/Flowerfield

Live holiday music will be performed by John Zollo, lead singer of The Dedications, as well as performances by the Smithtown High School East Chamber Choir.

Santa will make an appearance on a Fire Engine with a mailbox handy for children to drop off their letters. All donations will be distributed by the Smithtown Township Emergency Food Pantry to families and children in the community.

Toy donations can also be dropped off at TD Bank, 621 Lake Avenue, St. James, during business hours. Gift cards can be mailed to: St. James Holiday Gift & Toy Drive, c/o Celebrate St. James, 459 Lake Avenue, St. James, NY  11780. In the event of bad weather, the event will be held on Sunday, December 5th.

For more information, call (631) 584-5799.

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Photo from Brick Clay Studio

SUPPORT OUR LOCAL ARTISTS

The Brick Clay Studio & Gallery, 2 Flowerfield, St. James will present a Fall Outdoor Pottery and Craft Show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All participants are local artists presenting unique and original works. The Gallery Shop will be open to browse the handmade pottery made on the premises. Please join them in reconnecting with the artist community. Admission is free. For more information, visit  www.thebrickstudio.org or call 833-THE-BRICK.

Brookhaven Bike Co-op opened in Flowerfield in St. James last fall. Photo by Rita J. Egan

A local nonprofit has blossomed in Flowerfield with the mission to provide bicycles for those in need.

The all-volunteer Brookhaven Bike Co-Op opened at Flowerfield in St. James this past fall. The co-op provides a space for unwanted bikes to be refurbished and then given to those in need. The co-op also provides the public access to tools and spare parts to fix their own bikes and provides a community space for gatherings and meetings both bike and nonbike related, according to founder Greg Ferguson.

“It’s a place to sort of create a little bicycling community,” Ferguson said.

The original plan for the co-op was to enter into a public-private partnership with the Town of Brookhaven, hence the name, according to the Setauket resident. However, when the space the town allocated for the 501(c) didn’t work out, it was decided to open in the current location. It’s a spot Ferguson said is perfect for the co-op, with other surrounding nonprofits located nearby.

Ferguson, a lawyer who runs the Ferguson Foundation with his brother Chris, said there is a need in Suffolk County for free transportation such as bicycles. One example is around East Patchogue and Manorville where there is a sort of “food desert,” he said, with few grocery stores and many in the area without cars. With a bike, a person can get to stores, doctors and jobs easier than if they were walking. He said there are successful bike co-ops around the country, including in upstate New York, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Connecticut.

“It’s a place to sort of create a little bicycling community.”

– Greg Ferguson

Ferguson, who jokes that he is a slow bicyclist, said he joined the cycling club Suffolk Bicycle Riders Association where he found a thriving organization and members who were helpful in teaching him and other volunteers at the new co-op.

“I was surprised at how willing people were to come out and teach us how to fix bikes — donate parts and bikes,” he said. “It’s been a very positive experience.”

The founder said the co-op has been working with Ward Melville High School’s DECA Club, which is planning a bike drive and is helping with the nonprofit’s social media. He said he has also been in touch with representatives from Stony Brook University to collect bikes that are left behind by students after the semester ends. The nonprofit also plans to work in some way with Brookhaven in the future.

Ward Melville DECA faculty adviser Ilene Littman said the club heard about the co-op from one of its board members Jim Komosinski. After a site visit to the workshop, she reported back to the DECA members and helped form two teamsw of interested students.

“I personally feel that the students connected with this mission because they all have bikes and want to help others who are less fortunate and do not have the means or resources to buy a bike of their own,” Littman said. “By doing so, they are not only providing transportation, they are enabling a fun and healthy activity for those in need.”

“I personally feel that the students connected with this mission because they all have bikes and want to help others who are less fortunate…”

– Ilene Litman

Recently the co-op began offering free bicycle repair classes and a course on how to ride properly in groups. Volunteer Richard Dittmar, a bike mechanic and former bike shop owner, leads the classes.

Dittmar said he found out about the co-op through SBRA’s newsletter and started sharing his expertise to pay it forward.

“I thought it would be a great thing for me to pass on,” he said.

Dittmar said the level of difficulty when it comes to repairing bikes ranges from easily fixing a flat tire to more complex jobs like problems with the gears.

The bike mechanic said he looks forward to volunteering with the co-op and said future partnerships with junk removal companies will be a big help.

“There’s probably bicycles in every garage they walk into when they’re hauling a family’s junk away,” he said. “They don’t know what to do with the bikes, so at least there’s an outlet for that now.”

Volunteer and board member Lori Neiste said the co-op is also an example of being environmentally friendly as old bicycles will be refurbished and used again instead of being thrown in the trash.

Ferguson said while the original plan was to distribute bicycles at food pantries, they have had social workers reach out to them for clients.

Bicycles in all conditions are accepted, Ferguson said, even rusty bikes as parts can be used. Those interested in donating can drop off bikes at the co-op at 8 Flowerfield, Unit 18, in St. James, or have volunteers pick them up by calling 631-371-3886.

A view of how Gyrodyne intends to subdivide the land. Image from Suffolk County planning department

The Town of Smithtown now knows it faces an estimated price tag of $7 to $10 million to bring St. James sewage systems into the modern era.

Smithtown officials are poring over the evaluation of the St. James Sewer District prepared by Melville-based H2M Architects & Engineers where they broke down the projected costs of installing dry sewer mains and pump stations needed to build a sewer district for the Lake Avenue business district.

“[W]e’ve already proceeded with sending those to state Sen. [John] Flanagan’s office to get us grant funding to put in sewer lines along Lake Avenue and pay for the pump station.”
– Nicole Garguilo

In its report dated June 8, H2M projected that installing sewers and a force main at the intersection of Lake Avenue and Route 25A would cost approximately $1.78 million, including funds for curb-to-curb roadway restoration, if undertaken in 2020.

The engineers considered two different options for providing sewers to 18 properties along North Country Road/Route 25A from the Long Island Railroad track near Edgewood Avenue east to Clinton Avenue. The first method would cost approximately $3.8 million to install gravity sewers, a force main and pump station needed to reach a sewage treatment plant but would not provide for full road restoration. A second
design would cost the town roughly $6.2  million with road restoration costs included.

“Now that they gave us these cost estimates, we’ve already proceeded with sending those to state Sen. [John] Flanagan’s office to get us grant funding to put in sewer lines along Lake Avenue and pay for the pump station,” town spokeswoman Nicole Garguilo said.

Smithtown officials are hoping Flanagan (R-East Northport) can secure the funding through New York State’s Clean Water Infrastructure Act, signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) in April 2017, which provides money for drinking water infrastructure and groundwater protection.

The estimated cost for St. James Sewer District are calculated on the premise that Gyrodyne, LLC will build a sewage treatment plan with the capacity to accommodate neighboring Lake Avenue businesses. Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) first opened conversations with Gyrodyne about considering such a move earlier this spring.

“We continue to be supportive of Supervisor Wehrheim’s vision for Smithtown, as well as the hamlet of St. James.
– Gary Fitlin

“We continue to be supportive of Supervisor Wehrheim’s vision for Smithtown, as well as the hamlet of St. James,” Gary Fitlin, CEO and president of Gyrodyne said. “Our plans include a sewage treatment plant, which is tremendously beneficial to the community versus traditional cesspools.”

Gyrodyne announced its intentions to work with the Town of Smithtown to its shareholders on June 29 calling it “an opportunity to create added value for both the company and the towns of Smithtown and Brookhaven.” It has hired Woobury-based Cameron Engineering & Associates to redesign its proposed sewage treatment plant to handle the plans it has for Flowerfield property and have excess capacity to service the business district of St. James.

Wehrheim said hearing Gyrodyne is sharing these intentions with its investors is positive news for St. James business owners and Smithtown.

“I think it’s great,” the supervisor said. “The fact they are selling it to their shareholders and having their engineers look at it means they are serious about doing it.”

Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim has approached Gryodyne LLC about a shared sewer plant on Flowerfield property in St. James. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Smithtown’s Town supervisor has approached a developerabout creating a shared sewer plant to service downtown St. James.

Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) said he’s asked Gyrodyne LLC whether it would consider building a shared sewer treatment plant large enough to handle wastewater for the Lake Avenue business district on Flowerfield. The Flowerfield property off Route 25A in St. James is often used to host community festivals and contains freshwater wetlands that feed into Mill Pond in Stony Brook, Stony Brook Harbor and on into Long Island Sound.

“They said they would be amicable to having a conversation about it,” Wehrheim said.

“[Gyrodyne] said they would be amicable to having a conversation about it.”
— Ed Wehrheim

Gyrodyne has an application pending before Smithtown Planning Board to subdivide the 62 acres of Flowerfield property in St. James to construct a 150-room hotel with a restaurant and day spa, two medical office buildings and a 220-unit assisted living complex with its own sewage treatment facility. After substantial traffic concerns were raised at a Nov. 15, 2017, public hearing, the town has ordered Gyrodyne to complete a full environmental study of its proposal.

If the environmental study comes back clean, the supervisor said he believes this could pose a great opportunity for the town.

“They have ample property to build the sewage plant,” Wehrheim said. “Even after building the plant, their plans include keeping 30 acres of property undeveloped.”

He noted that the 4.5 acres set aside by Gyrodyne for a sewage treatment facility are not adjacent to any residential neighborhood. Wehrheim said he is also interested in seeing if the developer would be open to future discussions on providing sewers for Smithtown’s business district.

“Without sewering, we can’t do any kind of revitalization,” he said.

Paul Lamb, chairman of Gyrodyne’s board, confirmed that Wehrheim had reached out to the company, but declined any further comment until after his March 30 board meeting.

The town has approved $4.6 million in its 2018 capital budget program to fund St. James downtown business district improvements. This includes $2.4 million to tear open Lake Avenue to replace the town’s aging water mains.

Without sewering, we can’t do any kind of revitalization.”
— Ed Wehrheim

Wehrheim said the Lake Avenue construction originally slated to start this May could potentially be delayed until 2019. The supervisor said he anticipates the town board will vote at its next meeting on hiring H2M architects to complete a study to determine if installing dry sewer lines would be economically feasible at this time, given the town’s plans for a sewer treatment plant are not solidified. The study, if approved, would take several months to complete and cost about $24,000, according to Wehrheim.

“What we are trying to eliminate is the excavation of the road for water mains, then rebuilding the road, sidewalks, curbs — about $2.6 million in restoration work — to find out a year later we have to cut the brand new roads back up,” he said. “It’s wasteful.”

If negotiations fail, town officials would be forced to return to their original plans which have a starting price tag of $65 million to sewer and build a plant for the Smithtown business district, according to Wehrheim.

Town officials are currently waiting for the state to pass an action that would authorize the town’s use of land proposed for Kings Park’s sewer treatment plant, according to Wehrheim. He hopes to have state approval as early as June.

Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim has approached Gryodyne LLC about a shared sewer plant on Flowerfield property in St. James. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Suffolk lawmakers have taken the first step toward preservation of nearly 41 acres in St. James as open space.

The county legislature voted at its Nov. 21 meeting to approve a bill introduced by Legislators Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) and Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) for an appraisal of part of the Gyrodyne LLC property in St. James, also known as Flowerfield, that runs along Route 25A. The property contains freshwater wetlands and adjacent wetlands that feed into the Long Island Sound, Mill Pond in Stony Brook and Stony Brook Harbor.

“I am greatly appreciative of my legislative colleagues’ support for our effort to preserve 41 undeveloped acres of the former Gyrodyne property,” Hahn said. “With the owner actively seeking to develop the property, this perhaps is the community’s last stand to preserve one of the last large undeveloped tracts remaining in western Suffolk County. I am hopeful that the owner will understand the property’s overall environmental significance and its potential to negatively impact surrounding ground and surface waters, traffic safety and overall quality of life should it be developed.”

The bill, which now goes to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) for his approval, allows for the county’s planning division to assess the owner’s interest in selling the tract to the county for open space purposes. An interest by Gyrodyne would mean the county could follow its initial outreach by obtaining a real estate appraisal and additional legal and environmental reviews that are required for a potential sale from the company to the county. According to county law, if sale of the land parcel can be negotiated, funding will come from the county’s Drinking Water Protection Program.

“With the owner actively seeking to develop the property, this perhaps is the community’s last stand to preserve one of the last large undeveloped tracts remaining in western Suffolk County.”

— Kara Hahn

While preservation of the land is being considered, a conceptual development plan from Gyrodyne was approved by the Suffolk County Planning Committee Aug. 2 and was met with resistance from Stony Brook and St. James residents.

Over the summer, the property’s owner submitted an application to the Town of Smithtown to construct a 150-room hotel with restaurant and day spa, two medical office buildings totaling 128,400 feet and two long-term care buildings that would have a total 220 assisted living units on the property. Many in the area raised concerns about the amount of traffic that would empty out onto Route 25A and Stony Brook Road if an exit to the Brookhaven street was made accessible on the east side.

Trotta said he’s not completely against development as he realizes the community needs businesses such as the proposed assisted living facility. However, Trotta said he understands the community’s concerns about traffic and would like to see a good amount of the property preserved. 

“It’s always about balance,” he said.

Trotta said he believes Gyrodyne will be willing to work with the community.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have it appraised and get into discussions with what the community wants, what can we put up with traffic-wise and meet somewhere in the middle,” Trotta said.

At a Nov. 15 Smithtown Planning Board meeting, Gyrodyne representatives said their own traffic studies proved residents had sound reason to be concerned about increased traffic and pointed to six local intersections that needed improvement. The results were submitted to the Town of Smithtown and New York State Department of Transportation in October 2017 but have yet to be reviewed. Conrad Chayes Sr., chairman of the Smithtown Planning Board, concluded the board would hold off on a decision until an environmental impact study is completed by the town, which he said may take up to a year.

Hahn said the commercial development of the land would “fundamentally change the character of the Stony Brook and St. James communities.”

“Each of us, regardless of which side of the Brookhaven-Smithtown border you reside on, is threatened by this project moving forward,” Hahn said. “For that reason, Legislator Robert Trotta and I put forward legislation to preserve these environmentally and historically important parcels from being destroyed.”

Kevin McAndrew of Cameron Engineering, presents Gyrodyne’s plans for the St. James Flowerfield property to Smithtown Planning Board Nov. 15. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

Gyrodyne LLC has admitted its own  traffic study proves that St. James and Stony Brook residents have good reason to be concerned about the traffic impact of their proposed project.

Gyrodyne made a formal presentation of its future plans for the nearly 75-acre property Nov. 15 to the Smithtown Planning Board and a standing-room only crowd. The developer has proposed to subdivide the Flowerfield land in order to build a 220-unit assisted living facility, a 130,000-square foot medical office building and a 150-room hotel with a restaurant, conference space and day spa/fitness center.

“We are not looking to maximize yield here,” Richard Smith, director of Gyrodyne and a St. James resident, said. “We are looking to strike the right balance between economic development, which I think we all know the St. James community desperately needs, and to preserve and enhance the environment we all love.”

Nearly 100 residents and Brookhaven elected officials packed the meeting to make clear their opposition to the project’s traffic impact on Route 25A, Mills Pond Road and Stony Brook Road.

“Town of Brookhaven is opposed to any traffic created as a result of this proposed subdivision emptying out onto town roads and, specifically, Stony Brook Road,” said Brenda Prusinowski, deputy commissioner of planning and environment for Brookhaven Town, reading a statement for Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R). “This road is overcrowded now, particularly because of usage from the university, and does not need additional traffic from a project outside our town.”

“If there’s 900 jobs, that’s 900 more vehicles on the road on a daily basis.

— Laurie Kassay

Jennifer Martin, aide for Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartwright (D-Port Jefferson Station), echoed the supervisor’s sentiment and made clear the town is “staunchly opposed to any additional traffic” on Route 25A as well.

Mills Pond Road homeowner Laurie Kassay said she opposed the project despite promises from Gyrodyne it will create an estimated 900 new jobs and generate $90 million annually for the economy.

“The area cannot handle any more traffic,” Kassay said. “If there’s 900 jobs, that’s 900 more vehicles on the road on a daily basis.”

The developer hired Woodbury-based Cameron Engineering & Associates who performed a traffic study focusing on 16 intersections off Mills Pond Road, Moriches Road, Route 25A and Stony Brook Road surrounding the property. The results were submitted to the Town of Smithtown and New York State Department of Transportation in October 2017, but have yet to be reviewed.

“The concern of the traffic impact is completely understood,” said Kevin McAndrew of Cameron Engineering. “The traffic impact study has confirmed why the concern is valid. A number of the 16 intersections studied today have poor or failing conditions.”

If Gyrodyne’s plans go forward, McAndrew said the firm has proposed traffic improvements be made at six intersections. The intersection of Route 25A and Mills Pond Road should have traffic signals installed, according to the traffic study, which also suggested NYS DOT design a roundabout at the intersection of Route 25A and Stony Brook Road in addition to traffic mitigation measures at four additional intersections on Stony Brook Road.

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) was outraged at the suggestion of a roundabout being installed on the historic Route 25A corridor in front of the William Sidney Mount House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. He urged the planning board to reject Gyrodyne’s plans, stating that in his opinion as a scientist,  it’s not environmentally sustainable and instead encouraged Smithtown town officials to work with Brookhaven in future development of the region.

“Our communities have a long history of cooperation,” Englebright said. “I hope we don’t have to set up canons on the border. There are some really upset people on Stony Brook Road.”

Conrad Chayes Sr., chairman of the Smithtown Planning Board, concluded the board would hold off on a decision until an environmental impact study is completed by the town, which he said may take up to a year.

Atelier's Kevin McEvoy paints John Morehouse's portrait at a recent event. Photo courtesy of The Atelier

The Atelier at Flowerfield will host an Open House titled For the Love of Art! on Sunday, Feb. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. Attendees are welcome to view live painting demonstrations by artists Christian White, Lana Ballot and Tyler Hughes, take a tour of over 5,000 square feet of art studios and experiment with pastels to create their own Valentine’s Day card, all while enjoying hot chocolate and homemade crepes.

Meet the Atelier artist instructors and staff, view artwork by Atelier students and learn about the art studio’s upcoming museum trips, art lectures and events. Guests will also receive a free trial class gift certificate valued at $55 and can enter to win a 50 percent discount off their Spring Semester tuition. The Atelier is located at 2 Flowerfield, Suite 15, St. James (off Route 25A). For further information or directions, please call 631-250-9009. Photo courtesy of The Atelier