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Syosset-Jericho Tribune - Schools

Building Bristal, Building Tension

Real estate developers stirred controversy within the district when they proposed a plan to construct a Bristal Assisted Living facility off Route 106-107, adjacent to school grounds.           

Jan Burman, the president of the real estate development company, The Engel Burman Group, assures that the new addition would not impact the community negatively. The facility would replace a commercial landscaping business, which currently employs fifteen to thirty people per shift and continuously operates ten trucks throughout the year.

“None of our residents drive, all of our employees travel at ‘off-peak’ hours, [such as] seven a.m., three p.m., and eleven p.m.,” Burman said in regards to traffic. “Our construction systems utilize pre-cast concrete floors and ceilings and modular style structural walls, so the exterior of the building will be built and enclosed in about eight weeks.”

He guarantees that once exterior construction has been completed, the internal work will have a limited impact on neighboring areas as far as noise and disorder are concerned.  

In order to appease Jericho School District administrators, Burman has offered the school a new fifty-car parking lot on land adjacent to the school. It would provide safe walkways and would alleviate the dangers of students walking down Cedar Swamp Road.

Some students are optimistic about the proposal. “Well, I don’t see anything wrong, to be honest. Everyone’s happy,” sophomore Nicole Joseph said about the proposal.

The new facility, if built, will also mean reduced costs for the school.

“We are prepared to connect the school to the Nassau County sewer system which will remove fifty-five thousand gallons of raw sewage a day that currently goes directly into the ground below the school,” Burman said. “It is so much raw sewage that the system can’t handle it all, in fact the school has to pump excess sewage several times a week which is very expensive.”

In addition, if the site is built, Mr. Burman said that students would have more volunteer opportunities, allowing them to partake in various events at the facility itself, such as senior prom. The construction will also offer Jericho students, as well as community members, more employment opportunities, as the facilities create around sixty-five jobs over three shifts. Seniors enrolled in Senior Experience could have the opportunity of interning at the living facility.

“Approximately ninety percent of our residents will come from the community,” Burman said. “We will provide a community benefit in allowing Jericho seniors to stay in the community they helped to build.”

However, some Jericho parents are outraged by the thought of Bristal being built so close to the school grounds and in such a precarious location.

Alisha Reiben, President of the Jericho Joint Council PTA, worries about increased traffic, which could provide an unsafe environment for Jericho High School students and its surrounding drivers. “The proposed facility is too large for the land area, is too close to the schools, and would ruin the residential character of the neighborhood,” Reiben said.

Reiben and like-minded supporters took it upon themselves to build an anti-Bristal website, www.nobristalhere.com, which further explains their sentiments about the potential building.  In a matter of two weeks, Reiben’s Facebook group, “No Bristal,” consisted of 282 members.

“Building Bristal will be a disaster for the community,” Jericho parent and Muttontown resident Bonni Silber said. “It presents a safety hazard for the students with ambulances, service vehicles, and visitors coming and going all day. There is already too much traffic on Route 106/107.”

Silber proposed the community email John Venditto, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor and express opposition.

This article originally appeared in the ‘JerEcho’, Jericho High School’s award-winning, online newspaper.