By Samantha Rutt
The Stony Brook School, a private Christian college-preparatory school just off Route 25A in Stony Brook, applied as of July 12 to the Town of Brookhaven Board of Zoning Appeals for a proposed expansion to add three new buildings to the 55-acre campus.
The boarding and day school’s plan includes the construction of an indoor practice facility, a three-story dormitory building and a three-story STEM building. The school’s original application proposed installing a parking lot from campus near the sports facility with exit points onto Chub Hill Road, Stony Road and Woodbine Avenue, potentially resulting in an uptick in traffic in the neighborhood.
Over a dozen residents turned out at Brookhaven Town Hall Wednesday, Aug. 23, presenting a signed petition, copies of emails and a collection of pictures to the zoning board.
At the meeting, representatives from The Stony Brook School presented the board with an updated plan that slightly altered the soon-to-be-constructed building’s exit points, resulting in lower-grade disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.
Residents of the surrounding neighborhoods have begun an outreach effort opposing the expansion, placing fliers in mailboxes and alerting residents of the incoming project.
In addition to fliers, nearby residents created a petition in opposition to the prep school’s plan. The petition addressed the Town Board and further explained the collective concerns throughout the neighborhood. Over a dozen Stony Brook residents signed the petition.
“My neighbors and I are very concerned this will intrude on the quiet enjoyment of our homes and potentially diminish property values,” said Stony Brook resident James Orlando in an email to members of the ZBA.
“This connection creates a new entrance to the interior of campus, which will bring increased student, parent, sports team and other school-related traffic into our neighborhood,” he added.
“I have contacted local real estate agents who have all said my property value will decrease if these buildings are constructed in what is basically my backyard,” Jenny Lorenzen, a Stony Road resident, said.
Some residents considered the expansion plan a safety hazard and a disruption to the tranquility of their neighborhood, noting the potential for increased traffic congestion and noise, decreasing property values and environmental impact.
Lorenzen and other residents voiced concerns at the zoning meeting, centered around emissions from the facilities as they will be air-conditioned and in use year-round. She is also concerned about other potential environmental impacts, mentioning clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency and road surveys.
As is, the neighborhood boasts narrow roadways that poorly accommodate two-way traffic. In addition, public school buses from the Three Village Central School District cannot enter the area. Instead, children must walk to designated bus stops at Quaker Path, Cedar Street or Christian Avenue.
Following the Aug. 23 meeting, the ZBA adjourned its review of the prep school’s application until Sept. 20.