Your Turn: A St. James Perspective on Gyrodyne

Your Turn: A St. James Perspective on Gyrodyne

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Steve Bellone discusses ideas about promoting the arts in St. James with the civic group Celebrate St. James during a recent visit to the Calderone Theater. Photo by David Luces

By Natalie Weinstein

So much discussion has been prompted by the proposed Gyrodyne project, both in the Town of Brookhaven and in St. James, the two areas closest to its proposed development plan. Sadly, some have come forward with opinions that are against the project, which would be of infinite benefit to St. James and Smithtown at large. Their comments may sound reasonable, but common sense tells us that the facts speak for themselves.

Natalie Weinstein

1. Be careful what you wish for: It’s important to point out that Gyrodyne as of right can legally build a five-lot subdivision consisting of manufacturing, warehouses, textile plants, etc., with existing outdated septic systems, without having to go through further public scrutiny. Instead, they have presented a subdivision that is the least invasive to our way of life. They came to this decision by speaking with the St. James community over many years. They asked us. They listened.  

2. The Gyrodyne subdivision will generate more than 2,500 jobs for locals and our young professionals. Think of all those employed in the building and finishing trades that could work locally, as well as hotel management, physicians, nurses and support staff. We should be able to offer jobs to our young people to encourage them to remain in the place they have always called home.

3. The Gyrodyne subdivision, upon completion, would generate approximately $4 million in annual tax revenues for the Town of Smithtown, $2.9 million of which would go to the school district annually. That is real relief for the everyday resident who pays 70 percent of their tax bill to the school.

4. Blessed with The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, Stony Brook enjoys a village square with lovely shops and restaurants, as well as a cultural arts center, which attracts many visitors as well as local residents. The Gyrodyne Corporation, while not the Ward Melville Trust, has prepared additional environmental analysis to show the prospective benefit of hooking up the newly named Lake Avenue Cultural Arts District into its wastewater treatment plant. Ask yourselves what you want as a taxpayer. Do you want to pay for a new government-built sewer district, which costs upward of $150 million dollars? Or would you prefer a privately funded sewer connection that would be done in a fraction of the time?

5. The Gyrodyne Corporation has many local residents on its board. They care about our community as much as we do. Their due diligence is in the hundreds of pages of research by qualified, prestigious professionals is a testament to that. Beyond this, however, Gyrodyne has exhibited true interest and concern for the community of St. James. They sit on our committees, attend functions and support our endeavors. They are good neighbors and want to be a part of the St. James community for the long haul.

Why all the fear tactics? Why take a good thing — a really good thing — and turn it into something bad? We stood by while a “city,” (Stony Brook University), was erected inside a village next door to us. Why are the same people not opposing a possible over-55 community called Stony Brook Meadows going up in Brookhaven, just next door to Gyrodyne, where an old church stands? Or opposing the three other major development projects currently underway in Brookhaven, a 30-acre lot off Route 25A called Mount Sinai Meadows, the Tritec Shipyard in Port Jefferson and the Ronkonkoma Hub, all of which are much larger in scale than the Gyrodyne subdivision. 

Additionally, the new Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Lab is going to be a massive driver of pass-through traffic. We tolerate the traffic which passes through St. James every day. We do so, knowing it is about the bigger picture, educating future generations, producing jobs and economic development for Long Island and the businesses in Stony Brook. St. James is awakening to the dawn of our revival. We are equally entitled to provide a better future for our beloved town – our residents, our businesses and the generations to come.