Mediator to Help Babylon’s Ongoing Dispute Over Apartments
A mediator has been ordered to help Babylon Town resolve its more than decade long dispute between a farm owner and Wheatley Heights' residents. The farm owner wants to build apartments on the property, but nearby residents object.
The decision came at a special town board meeting in mid-June. Supervisor Rich Schaffer tabled the rezoning of the farm property, owned by Gustave Wade. Wade wants to turn the more than 16 acre plot of land into an apartment complex with more than 260 units.
The action is opposed by nearby residents and the civic association that created in response to the proposal, Concerned Taxpayers of Wheatley Heights/Dix Hills.
According to Schaffer, “I’ve tried many times over the years to have the civic and the applicant meet, to no avail. Now we’re going to do it mandated by the town board ... we’re putting an end to this discussion one way or another.”
The town has already hired former Nassau County Legislator David Mejias as mediator. He will be paid $475 per hour for his work.
This is not the first time Babylon has opted to call in a mediator in a dispute. The town hired Mejias previously in 2013 to mediate grievances related to relocation payments filed by residents of North Amityville’s Frontier Park mobile home community. That dispute arose when a developer proposed to move the residents off their property.
Residents of Wheatley Heights claim the small, single-family home community cannot absorb the density of proposed apartment development. There were nearly two dozen people who spoke in opposition at the meeting before mediation was ordered.