Here are the most frequently asked questions from the Sayville Community.
- What is Greybarn?
- Why is Greybarn important to my community?
- What are the plans for the property?
- What will I see when looking at Greybarn from my property?
- What are the tax implications for me and my community?
- What will the Island Hills Plan’s impact be on Sayville?
- How will the additional cars impact me?
- Who will be my neighbors?
- Does the town require the apartments to be affordable for working people? Who will live in them? What will their rents be?
- Will the Island Hills Plan affect neighboring property values?
What is Greybarn?
As one of the largest commercial property owners on Long Island, Gregg and Mitchell noticed that Long Island was not keeping pace with the changing housing preferences of its young professionals. Many of Long Island's young adults were moving off of Long Island to find housing better suited for their lifestyles. They also noticed that older empty nesters, after downsizing, were leaving Long Island in search of housing choices that better fit their needs; choices that are in short supply on Long Island.
After studying and researching housing trends for more than 10 years and talking with top architects and planners, they created the Greybarn concept: Upscale, rental homes with quality amenities in a park-like setting.
Millennials and Empty Nesters will make up the majority of Greybarn’s residents. Ironically, both generations share the same desire to continue to live here on Long Island without home ownership. They also don’t want to sacrifice lifestyle or a sense of community. The Greybarn concept gives them both.
Why is this proposal important for me and my Community?
Upscale, amenity-rich rental communities like Greybarn are necessary for hamlets like Sayville to keep and attract young people and empty nesters. Both are necessary for Sayville to remain economically sustainable. By bringing millennials into the community as renters, it is inevitable that many will remain in the community as homeowners.
Only 39 percent of millennials, 25-34 year olds, own their homes, and it is predicted that in 10 years the homeownership rate for this group will increase by less than 10 percent. In total, the number of households that rent has increased from 36 percent to 42 percent in the last 10 years. Most notably, it is millennials who continue to make up much of the rental market share, as 72 percent of millennials now rent.
As the labor market continues to demand highly educated professionals who must sacrifice immediate income and job security to pursue education, young people in their 20’s continue to make large personal investments in lieu of home ownership. Consequently, the housing demand has shifted preferences towards rentals.
Clearly housing options are important to keeping Long Island’s millennials here and in the regional workforce. This is also critical for shoring up Long Island’s eroding middle class and contributing to sustaining Long Island’s economy.
If rental housing becomes more readily available, younger residents will have a greater incentive to pursue work opportunities on Long Island rather than continue their exodus off of LI. If they stay around, it will mean economic benefits for Long Island such as:
- Long Island will gain new jobs.
- Personal income on Long Island will increase as a result of the population and employment growth.
- Gross Regional Product on Long Island will increase.
- If millennials remain, they will provide a local market of future home buyers.
New high-paying jobs are growing locally, but most of these new opportunities require computing, technical, and problem-solving skills that will necessitate retraining of young workers. And unless that happens, these jobs may go unfilled. Long Island enjoys a relatively well-educated labor force and high-quality educational system; it may be well poised to address this projected skills gap in manufacturing. However, if young people don’t remain on Long Island after completing their education, local economies will suffer.
Long Island’s leading business organization knows that it’s important we keep our workforce here:
- Kevin Law, CEO, Long Island Association
And it is tough for our younger generations to stay on Long Island without rentals.
- Amanda Fiscina, reported by Newsday
In short, research proves that rentals are essential for our region’s economic sustainability now and into the future.
Long Island by the Numbers
According to a 2004 survey by Destination Long Island, 86.4 percent of millennials agree to strongly agree that Long Island’s housing options may limit their remaining here.
Many millennials agree that if they can find a job on Long Island they will stay. This suggests that millennials will be able to supplement the economy by supplying various skills and become a more substantial portion of the workforce:
We need rental housing for a younger workforce largely because many people entering the 70+ retirement stage will be leaving the workforce.
Greybarn's Importance to Downtown
Going beyond the need for housing options and their importance to area residents, downtown Sayville is an essential part of the community’s character, stability and appeal. When people think of Sayville, its charming downtown usually comes to mind. It is a destination for many because of its locally-owned shops, restaurants, festivals and overall charm. The downtown creates a “sense of place” for Sayville and is a valuable community asset.
However, while some area businesses are thriving and expanding, other properties are struggling, with vacant stores increasingly dotting the commercial district. With the growth of online businesses, the shopping experience and personal service a local retailer can provide has become even more critical.
Attracting new customers is essential for keeping any suburban downtown economically healthy and dynamic, and Sayville is no exception.
Residents of Greybarn will be close enough to downtown to make a positive difference for its economic future. The number of potential customers coming from Greybarn can attract significant new commercial investment, which in turn will create opportunities for new businesses, jobs and convenient shopping for the entire community.
What are the plans for the property?
The plans are to transform a closed and shuttered private golf club into an upscale, beautifully-designed and landscaped community that will attract millennials and empty nesters. Over time, abandoned golf courses frequently become burdens to their communities. The plans for Island Hills will prevent that from happening.
The property is the closed Island Hills Golf Club and comprises 114 acres. It has frontage on several residential streets with its primary access on Lakeland Avenue. The topography is varied; the highest points are at the perimeter and the lowest near the center of the property. There are stands of trees within the property and along its boundaries.
The proposed use is residential. Close to Sunrise Highway and a short distance from Sayville’s train station and downtown, the property lends itself to upscale and well-designed rental homes, which also fill a growing demand in the area. The proposed zoning is a site-specific Planned Development District (PDD) based on the Town’s existing Residence CA District zoning, which, at its maximum, would permit 1,371 units, provided all of the Town of Islip’s very challenging benchmarks, or requirements, are met.
Primary access to the property is proposed for Lakeland Avenue, at the Gibbons Street traffic light. Secondary access is proposed in two other locations: Bohemia Parkway and 11th Street. A state-of-the-art, low-nitrogen wastewater treatment facility is planned to reduce impact on groundwater and surface water. If connecting to an off-site sewer system is possible, it will be pursued. All stormwater runoff will be contained on the property, and measures will be taken to address flooding in the area.
There are 19 proposed residential buildings, ranging in height from 45 to 55 feet. The buildings are designed to reflect the rich architectural heritage of the South Shore. They are modeled after the great manor homes and summer estates that were built in Sayville near the Great South Bay. The placement of buildings on the lowest-levels of the property in a park-like setting will lessen their visual impact. The locations, rooflines and architectural details of the buildings are also designed to allow for the preservation of more green space.
The perimeter of the property is designed as a 25-acre linear park or greenbelt, complete with landscaping, bike and walking paths, and small activity parks that would be shared with the surrounding community. Berms and other screening will be incorporated at various locations.
What does current rental housing look like?
- In Nassau and Suffolk counties we have 1,500 rental apartment buildings with almost 88,000 apartments. 46 percent are in Nassau; 54 percent are in Suffolk
- The majority, 43 percent, are one-bedroom apartments. 23 percent are studios and 31 percent are two bedrooms. There are a small number of three-bedrooms: 3 percent.
- Nassau has more studios—35 percent—while Suffolk has more one-bedrooms—43 percent. For the buildings where Class indicator was available, 62 percent were Class C (no-frills) and 35 percent were Class B (more utilitarian space without special attractions) or BC.
- Style: 2/3 are low-rise buildings and 1/3 are garden style apartment complexes.
- Restrictions: Of all the rental units in our region, 20 percent are restricted to seniors only. Another 10 percent are income restricted or subsidized housing.
- 75 percent of current rental properties were built prior to 1980.
Meaning: Current rental housing stock tends to be older with fewer amenities or upgrades. This speaks to the need for new, upscale, amenity-rich rentals on Long Island
Who will maintain the inside and outside building and grounds?
The inside building and grounds will be maintained by the owners, Rechler Equity Partners. It is yet to be determined whether Rechler Equity Partners or Town of Islip will maintain the 25-acre linear park, bike paths and walkways.
What is the basis for the change of zone?
The basis for requesting a zoning change of the Island Hills property is to provide for needed housing choices for Long Islanders, which will bring upper-income renters with disposable incomes to help sustain Sayville’s economy.
The location of the property is appropriate given its easy access to the Sunrise Highway corridor and proximity to Sayville’s train station and downtown. There is a demonstrable need for rentals for both millennial and empty nesters that want to remain in the community, but upscale rentals just don’t exist in any meaningful way.
Long Island and Sayville need upscale rentals for millennials and empty nesters. Long Island, more than any other New York Region, has lost a greater share of its younger residents (18-34) at a deficit of 16 percent over the last 25 years. Many of the younger residents cannot afford to make a down payment on a home in this region. This is not to say that they are the only age group that rents, as nearly half of total renters on Long Island are older than age 35.
Long Island’s rental housing market share remains around 18 percent, whereas the average share of rental housing in neighboring regions sit at around 40 percent.
- Long Island only has a 4.3 percent rental vacancy due to the rental housing shortage.
- Without rental housing available, 44 percent of Long Island adults (25-29) live with their parents or an older relative, compared to the national average of 20 percent.
- In Suffolk County, nearly 72 percent of 18-34 year olds predict they will seek residence elsewhere in 2020 without sufficient rental housing available.
- Many existing homeowners ages 65+ will be looking to downsize from their homes to more condensed units.
- Single person households will increase 3x faster than that of multi-person households, calling for more multifamily rental construction.
- Every 100 new units of rental housing generates 32 local jobs, which produces $2.3 million in income and $395,000 in annual tax revenue.
- Those who live alone rent more often than those who have families. The number of single person households has tripled from 65,696 to 193,192 over the past four decades on Long Island.
- Many young Long Islanders live in illegal, unsafe apartments.
- Unaccounted for people living in illegal apartments make it harder for communities to plan for services and infrastructure.
Local businesses depends on workers of all age groups, especially those who are in their 20’s. Most do not make enough money to afford homes here and need to rent.
There are other factors that lead to the need for rental homes on Long Island:
- Rental homes will allow younger residents to settle in Sayville and work their way up to home buying—rather than to immediately relocate.
- Children who become young adults will likely move off Long Island if they cannot find rental housing near their aging parents. Long Island already has a large senior population, and the issue of family separation is becoming more prevalent.
With the closing of Island Hills am I losing open space?
No, the existing property offers no open space available to the public. The current plans will provide more open space as the perimeter of the property is designed as a 25-acre park or greenbelt—complete with landscaping, bike and walking paths, and small activity parks that would be shared with the surrounding community.
The Island Hills Golf Club is residentially zoned; therefore it is not considered open space. Building single-family homes in a traditional subdivision that the current zoning permits will create additional roads for the town to maintain, keep all of the property private, and not create any open space. Preservation of green space within the development and the creation of a linear park that will be open to the surrounding neighborhood is of benefit to the community.
The protection of groundwater with a state-of-the-art low-nitrogen wastewater treatment facility instead of installing individual cesspools for single-family homes will also help clean up Greens Creek and help protect the Great South Bay.
What will I see when looking at Greybarn from my property?
The first thing you will see from any ground-level view is a beautifully landscaped 25-acre park fully encircling the property. This greenbelt park will include bike and walking paths as well as small activity parks to be shared with the community. Beyond the park, you will see additional landscaping and preservations of existing vegetation and natural screening and fencing. Depending on your vantage point, you may see the roof lines of the manor homes above some trees. The nearest building will be approximately 175 feet from the Island Hills property line. The overall design will maximize a sylvan, park-like view for the property’s neighbors.
What are the tax implications for me and my community?
Sayville, especially the Connetquot School District, will have an increase in revenue. The largest percentage of your property taxes (60 percent to 70 percent) goes to fund schools. Upscale rental communities are most always revenue-positive for school districts. Greybarn is located within the Connetquot School District, and based on similar one- and- two-bedroom developments, the tax revenue generated will far exceed the cost of educating the school-age children from Greybarn. An analysis on the number of projected school age children will be conducted during the required environmental review. Those not in the Connetquot School District will benefit from an expanding tax base for other taxing jurisdictions such as library, lighting, fire, ambulance, town, etc.
Apartments actually pay more in taxes and have fewer school children on average than single-family houses. In other words, it is more accurate to say that apartment residents are subsidizing the public education of the children of homeowners than the reverse.
Households with children under 18 years of age will make up only a small fraction of the total increase. More than 80 percent of the increase in the number of households from 2005-2015 came from married couples with no children plus single-person households. To some extent, therefore, the key issue may not be whether new housing developments impose a burden on local schools, but rather whether communities will develop the kind of housing that would attract households without children.
What will the Island Hill’s impact be on Sayville?
There will be a comprehensive, public review of the range of impacts of Greybarn on the Sayville community.
The plan’s impacts will be analyzed, studied and measured as required by New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) will be submitted that will include existing conditions and issues expressed by the community such as the phasing of the development; traffic and parking; environmental impacts; noise; and sanitary and stormwater treatment. Cultural, recreational, open space and economic impacts will be evaluated as well.
Both positive and negative impacts will be evaluated: Any negative impacts will be mitigated to the maximum extent practicable. Impacts will be part of the SEQRA process and will be public. When completed, the full DEIS and FEIS will be posted on this website.
Will I be able to read public documents regarding Greybarn on the website? Will there be an opportunity for me to participate in the approval process?
Yes, public documents will be posted here, at the town and at other locations. There will be several opportunities for the public to comment and attend public hearings on the plan during the review process. Public hearings are held at several critical junctures: at the public scoping session for preparation of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the application for the change of zone before the Planning Board; and before the Town Board prior to any decision on the decision on the change of zone.
How will the additional cars impact me?
Managing traffic is one of the most important requirements of this plan. Main access to Greybarn is proposed at the traffic light at Lakeland Avenue and Adams Way. A thorough traffic study will be conducted, assessing both current and expected traffic conditions in the area, which will include several scenarios and modifications to Lakeland Avenue, if warranted.
The proposed plan includes setting aside property in case additional parking is ever needed. All parking will be within the Greybarn community. The landscape design greatly limits the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods with neighboring homes looking onto manicured and maintained green spaces.
A shuttle to the Sayville and Ronkonkoma LIRR stations aimed at commuters, as well as auto alternatives including Zip Cars, is expected to alleviate the need for two cars per household. A shuttle to downtown Sayville will bring more shoppers to Main Street to help Sayville's businesses.
Who will be my neighbors?
Most of us lived in rental apartments at some point in our lives. Greybarn renters are no different from most single-family homeowners and are committed to their communities.
The view that renters are not as engaged in their communities as owners seems to arise from the two apparent characteristics of renters: (i) by definition, they don’t own their own residence, hence are thought to have less of a “stake” in the community; and (ii) they tend to move more often. These characteristics are seen as making them transitory residents, perhaps more akin to visitors than to long-term residents.
It is important to recognize that housing tenure is different from residential stability. Housing tenure refers to how long an individual has lived in one place, while neighborhood stability reflects the quality, cohesion and safety of a community.
However, did you know?
- Apartment residents are almost twice as likely to socialize with their neighbors as owners of single-family houses (33 percent vs. 17 percent).
- Apartment residents are just as likely as homeowners to be involved in structured social groups like sports teams, book clubs, and the like (22 percent for sports groups, 10-11 percent for other groups).
- Just like single-family owners, apartment residents identify closely with the town or city they live in (60 percent for apartment residents vs. 64 percent for single-family owners).
- Almost half (46 percent) of apartment residents feel close to the neighborhood they live in.
Does the town require the apartments to be affordable for working people? Who will live in them? What will their rents be?
Islip Town will likely require a percentage of the apartments to be attainable by Long Island’s workforce: our nurses, teachers, law enforcement officers, etc.
Annual incomes that qualify for workforce homes are currently between $62,100 and $88,650; monthly rents for a workforce one-bedroom apartment are currently $1,533 and $1,878 for a two-bedroom apartment. The federal government annually changes the qualifying workforce incomes, and they usually increase from year to year. The workforce apartments are of the same quality as the market-rate apartments and will be equally distributed throughout the development.
Will the Island Hills Plan affect neighboring property values?
Yes, the value of your property will likely increase as incoming millennials to the Greybarn community will increase demand for housing as they transition to home ownership.
A factor that depresses property values is uncertainty. This is especially true when a private golf club is shuttered and its future remains undetermined. Moreover, studies indicate that neighborhoods property values will increase if close to parkland. Research also indicates that neighborhoods adjacent to multi-family developments will likely see a long-term increase in property values.
In short, research indicates that rental homes do not cause neighboring property values to decline but to stay the same or to increase. Adding upscale apartments and grounds—especially manicured park space—will likely increase neighboring home values.
"We are excited about Greybarn coming to Sayville and our becoming part of the Sayville community. We know that Greybarn is needed and will add to the quality of life of Sayville. Greybarn will offer vital housing options sought by both young people at the beginning of their careers and by our older neighbors who are looking to downsize and stay in Sayville.
Greybarn will also bring a new, 25 acre greenbelt park as well as essential economic activity to Sayville. We believe our investment in Greybarn and Sayville will be a positive asset that brings value to the entire community."
- Gregg and Mitchell Rechler
- Newsday: op ed – LI Millennials – where to live
- NY Times: Upshot: A secret of many urban 20 somethings – their parents help with the rent
- Long Island Community Foundation: Long Island’s Rental Housing Crisis
- Long Island Association Research Institute, June 2017: Millennials increase on LI but we still need many more of them
- Long Island Association: Monthly Economic Report, May 2017
- Innovate LI: LI Facing Workforce, Brain Drain Crisis
- CNBC.com: Millennials will be renting for a lot longer
- City Lab: The rise of renting in the US
- Builder Magazine (published by the National Home Builders Association): The Effect Multi-Family Homes Have on their Single Family Neighbors
- Long Island Index:
- Consensus for Affordable Housing
- Multi-family Housing Study
- Findings on Status of Multi Family Housing
- Playground Professionals News: Parks + Real Estate = Increasing Value
- City Data: information on Islip, NY
- Cornell Real Estate Review: Alternatives to Golf Course Development in an Environmentally Sensitive Market
- Urban Land Institute:
- Higher Density; Myth vs. Fact
- Demographic Strategies for Real Estate
- Golf: No Longer a Hole in One
- Planning Magazine: The Value of “Vibrant Centers”
- American Planning Association: How Cities Use Parks for Economic Development
- Trulia Blog: There Doesn’t Go the Neighborhood
- Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University: Overcoming Opposition to Multi Family Rental Housing 2006
- Long Island Business News: Right Side of the Tracks
- Community Housing Innovations: Demographic Collapse in New York’s Richest Suburbs
- BISNOW: Long Island’s Growing Millennial Population Needs More Apartments
- Destination LI: Long Island's Young People - Why they continue to leave LI