EAST FARMINGDALE, NY — Residents are voicing concerns regarding a warehouse application proposed by real estate investment trust company Prologis for Conklin Street near Route 110 in East Farmingdale.
Prologis has applied to demolish the vacant Farmingdale Lanes bowling alley, at 999 Conklin Street, and the U.S. Academy of Soccer, an open business, at 875 Conklin Street, with the goal of constructing a 121,931-square-foot, one-story warehouse with outdoor storage for tractor-trailers, the Town of Babylon stated. The site plan indicates 131 parking stalls and 21 loading stalls with elevations showing a roof height of 33 feet 10-and-a-half inches and a high coping of 39 feet 10-and-a-half inches.
Deeds filed with the application reflecting Prologis as the owner of both parcels of land — where the vacant bowling alley and soccer academy are — were executed on Sept. 30, 2022, and recorded on Nov. 21, 2022, the Town of Babylon said.
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Prologis does not have a tenant yet, a company spokeswoman told Patch. The investment trust’s team is “actively marketing” the project for lease, adding that it is “not uncommon” for a tenant to be identified closer to construction completion.
Several Farmingdale residents voiced concern or opposition to the proposed warehouse. Residents cited traffic concerns, lawsuits against Prologis in other parts of the country, and possible congestion near the East Farmingdale Volunteer Fire Company firehouse.
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“Warehouses are a critical part of our daily lives,” Prologis stated. “They help deliver the products we all need, including food, clothing, diapers, medicine and much more. That’s why local businesses are looking to secure new, efficient and modern-designed logistics space. Our proposed East Farmingdale site will bring good jobs and financial benefits for the surrounding community and help support a more resilient supply chain for the community.”
The next Town of Babylon panning board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday in the town board room at Babylon Town Hall, at 200 E. Sunrise Highway, Lindenhurst. The meeting can be watched live on the town’s YouTube channel.
Prologis stated it is excited for the opportunity to build a “high-quality warehouse” that can support the local economy.
“Our company listens to and works closely with the community as we develop the modern facilities we build, own and operate,” the spokeswoman said. “As a member of the local business community, we’re proud of the contributions we make to the economy, including the jobs we create. We’re also proud to count local small, medium and large businesses among our customers and support their growth.”
Prologis said the Town of Babylon leaders and residents should know it has a “strong commitment to and long history” with sustainable development.
“We have made a commitment to be net zero for our entire value chain by 2040,” the company stated. “We’re very proud to be the #2 in generator of corporate onsite solar in the nation. We are on track to deploy a gigawatt of solar and storage across our global properties by 2025. We are leader in the effort to help support the move to electrifying commercial trucking.”
Prologis is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
A traffic study done by land surveyor Nelson + Pope says the proposed warehouse would generate 42 trips (28 entering the property, 14 exiting) during the weekday morning peak hour; 39 trips (nine entering, 30 exiting) during the weekday afternoon peak hour, and six trips (four entering, two exiting) during the Saturday midday peak hour.
Nelson + Pope gave its opinion that constructing the warehouse would “not result in any adverse traffic impacts in the study area.”
Prologis stated it studied the anticipated traffic from its proposed facility to determine if, based on data, the project would cause adverse traffic impacts over and above what issues currently exist.
“As part of the development process, we’ve also engaged experienced, licensed traffic professionals, who conducted traffic studies and prepared a traffic report looking at existing and proposed traffic conditions on the roadways,” the company spokeswoman said. “The traffic report complies with all applicable requirements and determines that the new warehouse wouldn’t result in adverse traffic impacts on the study area.”
Residents disagree with the findings.
Conklin Street, cut from four lanes to two following a fatal crash in 2014, cannot sustain additional traffic that the warehouse would bring, said Jonathan Lyons, an East Farmingdale resident.
“Road repairs are infrequent, the traffic patterns are already a nuisance and the noise / disruption levels will be a burden,” he said.
Michele Dickash of Farmingdale called the warehouse a “terrible idea,” saying the traffic is “already horrible” and there are already too many large trucks driving through the area.
“It is dangerous and also bad for the environment,” she said.
Corinne Young said she and her husband have lived in the area for eight years after falling in love with the community. Young said Conklin Street already gets “extremely congested” numerous times a day because of the one lane on each side. A warehouse would “more chaos,” she said.
“With the addition of all these tractor trailers and additional traffic, the rate of accidents will only increase due to people being impatient and trying to navigate the area,” Young said. “This will also lead to more people using the side streets of the neighborhood to try to get around the traffic. We already have many drivers that don’t abide by normal traffic laws, not stopping at stop signs and doing over 50 miles per hour through side streets.”
Farmingdale Village Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said the lots involved in Prologis’s application are industrially zoned and the company would not need special permits, nor would it go to the Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer or board. Ekstrand said he attended the meeting earlier in January and spoke on the record about the increase in tractor-trailer traffic. Ekstrand said the warehouse would cause approximately 250 trips in and out of the warehouse, as well as roughly 70 left-hand turns out of the lots heading toward Route 110 per day, calling it “too many.”
“It would be a nightmare and accidents waiting to happen,” Ekstrand said.
Kelly Jingeleski, a Farmingdale resident, asked fellow residents to research Prologis and speak up if they “don’t like what they’re seeing or hearing.”
“It’s an opportunity to be heard about your neighborhood. I hope people do it,” she said.
Donna Sutherland, an East Farmingdale resident, put together an 81-page booklet titled “Residents of East Farmingdale vs. Prologis.”
Sutherland said she took photos of Conklin Street as early as 6 a.m. in a bid to show the Town of Babylon how “crazy” the street currently is.
“They told us 3 to 40 tractor-trailers during peak hours,” she said. “We can’t have that on Conklin Street. That’s crazy.”
Sutherland’s husband, Michael, is a volunteer fireman with East Farmingdale. Sutherland said her husband sometimes can’t get to the firehouse because of traffic. She said she feels lives would “absolutely” be at risk if a warehouse added more congestion to the area.
The fire department declined further comment until it reviews everything.
Jingeleski said she wants the Town of Babylon to do its own traffic survey in addition to the one Nelson + Pope did.
Young called it “imperative” that the Town of Babylon not only do its own traffic study, but a pollution study, as well.
“With the neighborhood south of the proposed warehouse, we are already subjected to the pollution from Republic Airport,” Young said. “Adding another possible 200 tractor trailers in the area 24/7 is only going to lead to a higher rate of pollution.”
Young said the warehouse, if built, would be the “bane of our existence.”
“It will affect all the small businesses that have been open for many years on Conklin Street and the amount of business they will receive with heightened traffic,” she said.
Jingeleski said if Prologis were to build a warehouse on the side of the Long Island Expressway, that would be “one thing.”
“To build it right on Conklin Street, when there are literally houses across the street, there are kids walking to school across the street; there’s a school bus stop right there,” she said. “That’s my biggest concern. That’s what I want them to think about. I understand that area is commercially-zoned, those two properties. But it doesn’t exist in a bubble.”
Jingeleski said there are abandoned materials and “hundreds of tires” in the parking lot of the vacant bowling alley.
“They could cause their own hazardous environmental concern,” she said. “Prologis had no idea, they said. They claimed at the planning meeting that they didn’t know anything about the tires. You can’t even manage to run a warehouse that has no one in it. How are you going to ensure it’s going to run the way you want it to be when you have various tenants there? When you’re not there? You can’t promise me what’s going to go down at that warehouse when you’re never there and you don’t know.”
Prologis stated it is aware of the illegal dumping of tires that occurred in the lot.
“Once we learned of it, we cleared over 1,200 tires from the site,” the company stated. “We are taking steps to further secure the property and, in the meantime, have an overnight guard to ensure the dumping does not persist.”
Sutherland, in her booklet, noted three lawsuits filed against Prologis.
A Parkland, Oregon resident filed a class-action lawsuit against the owner of a vacant Kmart over debris from a blaze in July 2023, Willamette Week reported. Stephen Vandervort, 36, filed the lawsuit claiming that RFC Joint Venture, the entity that owns the property, and Prologis, which leased it, should pay.
One test done by Portland Parks & Recreation turned up “significant asbestos,” a carcinogen, in the Kmart debris, while roughly two dozen done by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not, Willamette Week reported.
“There was a fire but there’s no evidence linking asbestos found in the park to the KMart building,” the company stated. “The building had been abated before the fire.”
A second lawsuit against Sterigenics, a medical sterilization plant leased by Prologis in Atlanta, claims that airborne toxins caused increased cancer risks to residents of surrounding areas, Atlanta News First reported. Attorneys said “unsafe ethylene oxide emissions” coming from Sterigenics caused more than 300 cases of cancer and other serious illness in the community, the outlet reported. Residents reported getting sick with lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer or brain cancer, Atlanta News First reported.
“Our communities are being poisoned, and these companies are knowingly putting people at risk,” Roxanne Gil, a plaintiff on the case, told Atlanta News First.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) state EtO as a known human carcinogen, according to the National Institute of Health.
Prologis stated it has complied with its lease obligations and will “continue to vigorously defend” its company in the Sterigenics lawsuit, the spokeswoman said.
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Residents of Carson, California, sued Prologis in 2021 because of a warehouse fire, The Real Deal reported. The fire caused chemical runoff and weeks of “devastating air pollution,” with 11 residents claiming the company was liable for “negligent storage of toxic materials,” The Real Deal reported.
Aftereffects of the three-day fire were hydrogen sulfide emissions discharging into the air or nearby Dominguez Channel, a river that drains water runoff from storm drains and deposits into the Long Beach Harbor, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by Patch. The lawsuit claims the warehouse and surrounding yard were filled with boxes containing highly-flammable ethanol-based hand sanitizer. On Oct. 4, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration found “unacceptable levels” of carcinogens benzene and acetaldehyde and irritant acetal in hand sanitizer products, according to the lawsuit.
“Carson lawsuits were not about air pollution,” Prologis stated. “We have not been party to any settlement and will continue to vigorously defend our company.”
Young noted the Oregon and Carson lawsuits and said “Prologis has already shown in the past that they are not one to follow safety regulations.”
“This is a danger to our community and the welfare of Farmingdale residents,” Young said.
Prologis said the community can be “confident” that it complies with all zoning, legal and regulatory requirements around its facilities.
“Additionally, we screen all potential tenants on planned operations and safety records,” a Prologis spokeswoman said.
The company said the three properties where the lawsuits stemmed from are “different and do not have any commonalities with the East Farmingdale project.”
Residents say they do not want to lose the U.S. Academy of Soccer, either.
Kazim Gungor, who runs the academy, said he felt “terrible” when he heard Prologis’s proposal to demolish his academy in favor of a warehouse. Gungor’s business has been in East Farmingdale since 2010.
“A lot of my parents are not happy or they will not be happy if we leave from here,” Gungor said.
Gungor said he was expecting Prologis to be “a bit more flexible” as he tried proposing a way for him to keep his soccer academy in the area.
“I had said to them, it might be a wise idea, you guys have the muscle, the power, financial power, that you can do something really spectacular at this location,” Gungor said. “You can build a sports complex that’s second-to-none.”
Gungor said his vision was for the bowling alley to reopen and for the soccer academy to be built into an all-purpose sports complex.
“I said to them, ‘We can probably work it so that you guys look like superstars in front of the whole community here rather than just coming in, knocking a building down and putting another warehouse.'”
Dickash said it would be a “shame” for the community to lose the soccer center.
“We already lost the bowling alley which is missed by many,” Dickash said. “Someone should be building a new bowling alley and maybe expanding the sports center — we would be better off with places our youth can go to and socialize rather than just hanging out God knows where.”
A transition from a sports facility used by local youths to a warehouse would be a “detriment to the community,” Lyons said.
If the academy is destroyed and Prologis does something with the space, Jingeleski said she wants a business on Conklin Street that is run by its owner in a “hands-on” fashion who takes pride in their product and the environment.
Sutherland said she wants another bowling alley built after Farmingdale Lanes closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“They can’t put a distribution center across the street from a neighborhood,” Sutherland said. “They should do something for the community. Not a warehouse that’s across the street from a whole entire neighborhood with pollution and more traffic.”
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