Heartland developer ‘not going to be deterred’ after setback

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Developer Jerry Wolkoff told News 12 that he is “disappointed” but is “not going to be deterred” after a major setback during an important vote Monday night.

Suffolk’s Public Works Committee voted not to advance a sewer connection agreement between the county and Heartland Town Square. The committee voted down the motion 4-3, which would have sent the deal to the full Legislature.

MORE: Suffolk rejects proposal to connect Heartland development to sewer district

The long-planned Heartland project would be built on the grounds of the former Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center - right off Commack Road, south of the Long Island Expressway. It would include 9,000 residential units, plus office and retail space.

Opponents say the massive project would be too taxing on the county's sewage treatment system and could ultimately hurt the bays and drinking water supply.

“All of [Wolkoff’s] testing was done 15 years ago. The aquifer has changed,” says Legislator Susan Berland (D-Dix Hills).

Michael Capuano, of Oakdale, supports the project and says it would provide much-needed affordable housing.

“My own family, every college-age student has moved off Long Island. These are developments they're going to. Smart developments where you don't need a car, where it's all walkable,” he says.

The Heartland sewage agreement could still be voted on by the full Suffolk Legislature. For that to happen, a majority of 10 legislators would have to agree by Monday to sponsor it.

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