Dix Hills, NY: Large Lots and Good Schools

by Marcelle S. Fischler

Published: December 30, 2015

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Adam and Brenda Elberg of Melville, N.Y., are not planning to move to nearby Dix Hills until later this year — their new house there is still under construction. But they’ve already “gotten to know some of the other people moving in” to their new neighborhood, Mr. Elberg said, meeting them during visits to the building site.

Now he sees his future neighbors at school functions — the blue-ribbon Half Hollow Hills Central School District serves Melville and Dix Hills as well as a number of other communities. “They are all young families with kids,” said Mr. Elberg, 46, a father of four and an owner of Professional Physical Therapy, a chain of 63 offices.

The Elbergs are among the first 10 buyers at Oak Hill Estates, a development of 23 houses, starting at nearly $2 million, being built on one-acre lots on the former Dix Hills Golf Club public course. The Elbergs’ six-bedroom five-and-a-half-bath house cost $2.24 million, not including upgrades.

So far, all the buyers already live in the Half Hollow Hills district, said Shawn Elliott, the broker/owner of Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes and Estates, which represents the development in this sprawling yet close-knit, family-friendly hamlet in western Suffolk County.

Dix Hills, an unincorporated area of the Town of Huntington, has the advantages of a rolling landscape, large lots, central location and easy access to the Long Island Expressway and Northern State Parkway.

During her 42 years in the community, Nancy Binger, a retired teacher, has seen the rural flavor dissipate and the atmosphere change as younger families move in. But Dix Hills remains less crowded than communities farther west, she said, and is a great place to live “if you enjoy being in tune with nature.”

The one-acre property where she lives with her husband, Paul, a retired sheet-metal draftsman, has a built-in pool, a waterfall, a fish pond, lots of perennials and “the privacy we want and the room to create whatever backyard oasis we want it to be.” A member of the Dix Hills Garden Club, Ms. Binger helps create arrangements for the Dix Hills branch of the Half Hollow Hills Community Library.

There is also a financial incentive for some buyers. Before Lisa and Marc Sokobin bought a four-bedroom three-and-a-half-bath colonial on an acre in Dix Hills 16 years ago, they looked at houses in Plainview and Syosset. “What you got for the same amount of money really couldn’t compare,” Ms. Sokobin said. The lots were bigger; so were the houses. Despite the lack of a town center, “I would never want to live anywhere else,” she said.

Jason Fluger, 32, a special-education teacher and coach in Commack who had been renting an apartment in Hauppauge, came to the same conclusion last August after a six-month search. He paid $635,000 for a five-bedroom two-and-a-half-bath 1972 colonial on an acre in Dix Hills.

“I loved the area,” Mr. Fluger said. “The school district is phenomenal. I bought neighborhood and location. The camaraderie, the community, it’s everything I wanted.”

Mr. Fluger has already spent $25,000 on plumbing and electrical updates, appliances and landscaping. “It’s a home I can invest in,” he said, “so when I’m ready to raise a family, it’s an area I can be part of.”

What You’ll Find

An almost exclusively residential community of 15.95 square miles, Dix Hills has a population of nearly 27,000, according to 2010 census data. East of Melville, west of Brentwood, south of Commack and north of Deer Park, Dix Hills has the Long Island Expressway and the Northern State Parkway running through it from east to west. Deer Park Avenue and Carlls Straight Path are major north-south arteries.

There are several nurseries, but no commercial centers. “Most development is relatively recent, in the past 50 years or so,” said Robert C. Hughes, the Huntington town historian.

Lots ranging from a quarter-acre to an acre or more, subdivided from farms and estates during the post-World War II building boom, are the settings for colonials, ranches and contemporaries along winding, tree-lined roads.

“It is Suffolk County living, but close to the Nassau border,” said Lynn Witz, a saleswoman with Coach Realtors in Commack. “For the most part, you get large pieces of property.”

What You’ll Pay

“There is something for everyone” and “there is value,” said Deborah Hauser, a regional sales manager with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. The “sweet spot” where most people buy, she said, ranges from $600,000 to $700,000 for a colonial or a split level on a lot between a half-acre and an acre.

The 184 properties on the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island late last month ranged from a three-bedroom three-bath ranch on 0.66 acre for $329,000 to an 11.7-acre horse farm divisible into nine lots for $4.5 million. Buyers “pay less for more house, more land and more privacy than in Nassau County,” said Laura Panetta, a saleswoman with Signature Premier Properties in Northport.

The number of homes on the market increased 18.1 percent, to 359 in November 2015 from 304 in November 2014. The average sales price in November 2015 was $680,000, a 2.9 percent drop from the previous November, when it was $700,000.

What to Do

The town-owned year-round indoor ice skating facility in Dix Hills Park offers public skating, lessons and adult and youth hockey programs. The park also has a nine-hole golf course, a driving range and a putting green.

The Five Towns College Performing Arts Center has performances at its 500-seat theater. Upcoming shows include “The Wild Women of Comedy” on Jan. 23.

The Art League of Long Island offers classes for adults, teenagers and children including drawing and painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, jewelry, computer graphics and decorative arts. From Jan. 16 to Feb. 21, its Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery features “Black Voices,” an exhibition of African-American artists of Long Island.

Anchors for the more than 80 stores at the Walt Whitman Shops, a mall in nearby Huntington Station, include Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.

The Schools

The Half Hollow Hills Central School District includes five elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools for 8,750 students from Dix Hills, Melville, and parts of Deer Park, Huntington, Wheatley Heights, East Northport and East Farmingdale. The 2015 average SAT scores in reading were 549 for Half Hollow Hills High School East and 542 for Half Hollow Hills High School West, compared with 489 for New York State. In math, the scores were 577 and 559 versus a state average of 502. In writing, each high school had an average of 555 versus 478 for the state.

Students from some parts of northeastern Dix Hills are served by theCommack School District. The average 2015 SAT scores at Commack High School were 542 in critical reading, 576 in math and 546 in writing.

The Commute

The 7:12 a.m. train from the Long Island Rail Road’s Huntington station, one of a few used by local residents, is scheduled to reach Penn Station 58 minutes later. A monthly pass is $338. The drive of about 38 miles from Dix Hills to Midtown Manhattan takes about an hour.

The History

While living in a ranch house on three and a half acres on Candlewood Path in Dix Hills from 1964 until his death at age 40 in 1967, the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane composed his most famous album, “A Love Supreme.” In 2011, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the house, now part of a Huntington town park, one of the 11 most endangered historic places in the country. The house is “in the process of restoration” for use as a museum, and fund-raising continues, said Steve Fulgoni, the founder and a vice president of the Coltrane Home. It will “look exactly the way it was in 1969,” he said, including the recording studio in the basement and the shag carpet.

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Dix Hills, NY: Large Lots and Good Schools

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