L.I. Estate Debate Sparked By Unusual Compromise Involving Bourne Estate

Town of Islip OK's 384 Condo Units On The Property; Not Everyone Pleased

OAKDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An estate debate is taking place on Long Island.

A town is allowing hundreds of condos to be built in exchange for the preservation of one of the island’s original mansions, but some say it’s not a good trade.

The Bourne Estate in Oakdale has plenty of history. The owner of the Singer Sewing machine company built the palatial waterfront home and entertained presidents there.

Frederick Bourne’s 1897 mansion was the size of a football field, but now, it’s in desperate need of a repair, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

“It would have been such a shame if these beautiful old buildings were demolished because they’re already beginning to fall into serious disrepair,” said Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, Deputy Supervisor of the Town of Islip.

Bergin said a whopping $40 million is needed to keep the mansion and historic boathouse from falling apart, but because of an unusual compromise, they will be repaired and preserved forever.

The Town of Islip town has OK’d zoning to allow 384 condo units on part of the property.

“You have to start to think outside of the box. The economy is terrible, nobody has money. These big, old mansions don’t bring in any money,” Bergin said.

The mansion property is owned by St John’s University, which had the right to level the old buildings and put up 100 homes. The condo deal saves the mansion, but some neighbors think it’s a high price to pay for history.

“I guess we’re in for a lot more traffic,” said one local resident.

“They’re talking about 1,100 parking places, 384 units and unless the people are walking or riding horseback, you’re gonna just close this whole road off,” said another man.

But St. John’s officials said the condos will boost the local economy and they’ll hold up their end by preserving the historic value of the property.

Town officials said they believe the tradeoff can serve as a model for other historic properties — developing part, but preserving part is better than losing a piece of history forever.

What Are Your Thoughts On The Development Plan?  Share Your Thoughts In The Comments Section…

  • David M

    What is going on… is a crime! I and several others who went to school here, believe in our school and our legacy. We are doing as much as we can to save what belongs to our history and the history of Long Island…. For this to happen is a sheer crime, and I and many others are on the fight to save what belongs to not just us… but to history and to the future generations!!! DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!!!!!! HELP US FIGHT AND SAVE OUR HISTORICAL PLACE AND OUR LSMA LEGACY

  • Ken Carlson

    Funny there is no mention of the rich history of La Salle Military Academy on those very grounds. No mention of the fight the alumni waged to save it! Is there a calculated effort to silence the voices of those who hold that property so dear? Maybe if we find an endangered spotted salamander on the grounds the mighty government will step in and prevent the development, because I might have seen one there.

  • Cathy

    This is a crime. Beautiful, pristine, untouched piece of PARADISE..
    FIND SOME WHERE ELSE, to fix the Town Of Islip..DEFICIT PROBLEM!
    The Town officials sat there, on March 20th..listening to the towns people..go on and on trying to stop it..knowing the entire time they had ALREADY made their decision. SJU was well aware….It was a done deal..I am sure

  • usc123

    Civic Associations are run by volunteers, who dedicate their time to working on behalf of the community. The members who attend Civic meetings on a regular basis actually form the positions that the Civic takes. In some cases these are based on years of information and past proposals that have been presented and digested by the membership – and that is certainly the case here. Everyone should make sure they understand the facts before they pass judgement on what has been proposed – and what has been approved. These are two separate things and there are many levels of study required to even be able to determine what number of housing units could possibly be built. By the way – Mr. O’Hagan has never been a paid member of the Oakdale Civic Association and has not attended meetings. He is entitled to his opinion but has no right to attach that to the Civic.

  • al p

    100’s of condos??? I thought we we running out of water to drink and no longer have room for our garbage.

  • Tc

    This WILL ruin a wonderful town, and there is nothing we can do about it. It’s approved by politicians who don’t care about anything but being reelected , Nd won’t have to live with the consequences of low income housing in Oakdale. It is a real shame.

  • Jim

    You are Being Misinformed by Corrupt Elected Officials !! We do not need this in Our Beautiful Waterfront Community !! I am a Resident of OAKDALE All My Life if you wan’t to Know the Real Deal Call Me @ 631-567-9630 Office or Cell 516-315-4677 Thank You James P.O’Hagan

  • chris jackowski

    there goes the neighborhood !!! time to sell and get the hell out of oakdale and long island !!!!

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