Residents looking to downsize their homes got what they wanted last week, as the Town of Oyster Bay voted unanimously to approve a 750-residence condominium project on 143 acres in Plainview at the southwest corner of Old Country Road and Round Swamp Road.
Michael Dubb, CEO of Jericho-based developer Beechwood Organization, said that with the approval he hopes to break ground on the project, Country Pointe at Plainview, before the end of the year.
“We are giving new life to this underused 143-acre site. Most of the structures on it are abandoned and deteriorated. What we build here will be in harmony with the surrounding community and respectful of open space,” Dubb said in a statement. “We’re creating new homes, new retail facilities and committing to recreational open space that all generations can enjoy. In turn, for years to come, this will create new jobs, commerce and tax revenue.”
The approved plan will bring 750 homes consisting of 528 market-rate age-restricted homes, 90 Golden Age units and 132 market-rate homes that will not be age restricted. The project also encompasses more than 58 acres of open space, with 57 acres designated for recreational use like sports fields and walking trails.
In addition, the development calls for some office space, a 25,000-square-foot clubhouse and 118,450-square-feet of retail development featuring a 71,400-square-foot ShopRite, which will be relocated from its current location in the Morton Village Shopping Center.
On the housing front, most of the condos at Country Pointe at Plainview will be restricted to buyers ages 55 or over. Ninety of the homes are set as affordable for people aged 62 or over and priced at around $300,000. The rest of the condos, a mix of semi-attached homes and townhouses, will likely start from the $500,000s.
Marsha Elowsky, a Plainview resident since 1963, attended the meeting and said this development is precisely what she needs. She said that while some say there aren’t any housing options for young people in Plainview, she believes housing for seniors is a far more pressing issue.
“I’m elated they voted for it,” said Elowsky. “I don’t think young people want to live in Plainview. They only want to come back here when they marry and have a family. Seniors who made their homes in the area deserve to have a place to stay in Plainview. We don’t want to leave.”
However, Carol Meschkow, president and founder of Concerned Citizens of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Community, said the project fails to address the widespread needs of residents of all ages.
“I represent residents from 18 to 100 and this project misses the mark and fails to serve the entire community,” she said. “It is too dense and doesn’t address many housing needs. Most seniors cannot afford the price tag attached to the majority of the homes.”
Meschkow said the project as a whole is stale and does not leave room for smart growth.
“It feels very vanilla,” she said. “There are no shops, no restaurants, no loft space. All it has is a clubhouse for seniors. It’s a missed opportunity.”
She did say though, that Country Pointe is a far better alternative than Olde Plainview, a development pitched by New York Islanders owner Charles Wang who purchased the land from Nassau County in 1999. Wang’s proposal called for a mixed-use community with 660 condos and apartments, a hotel, retail shops and office buildings. Wang withdrew his application to the town in 2007 due to fierce public opposition.
This time around, however, the debate did not contain nearly as much vitriol, according to Supervisor John Venditto.
“I’ve sat on this board for a while and I’ve seen a lot of issues that have divided the community quite sharply,” he said. “In all my time I’ve never seen a finer display of civility. I’ve never seen a community give a better account of itself than with this application.”
And though the board voted unanimously for the project, Venditto said the town does need to address other housing options as well.
“We work on carving out land for parents, grandparents and young people. The demand exceeds the supply,” he said. “For young people, I’m dismayed that is hasn’t worked out as well as it has with golden age housing. There is an emerging need for housing for empty nesters and the Country Pointe project is calculated to address that need. I am still concerned about housing for younger people. Maybe we need to revisit that and try to be better in that area.”