Relief for Sandy residents and a blight study
Division and Baker streets will be the subject of a blight study.

ADV/Leuzzi

Relief for Sandy residents and a blight study

Story By: LINDA LEUZZI
9/17/2015


In a little more than an hour, the Patchogue Village board approved waiving building permit fees to homeowners still awaiting Superstorm Sandy funds from New York Rising, as well as contracting a blight study in the village. They also declared 82-84 River Avenue as unsafe.

Trustee Sal Felice introduced the permit fee waiver; several homeowners who were in the audience gathered after the village meeting, grateful for the resolution.

Resident Michael Canavan thanked the board.

“This waiver you’re reinstating will help not only my family, but others,” said Canavan, who attended the board meeting with his parents. 

 Felice said he was surprised to see the homeowners who attended. 

“I know there had been a lot of inquiries on the south end about the waiver and we discussed it with the Peter [Sarich], Carol [Giglio] and the mayor and we decided to reinstate that,” Felice said. “We had waived them in the beginning after Sandy hit and then put it back in place, not realizing so many people were affected without funds.” 

Felice said fees can tally up. “I think when we waived the fees in the beginning, it was up to $150,000 worth of fees.”

Mayor Paul Pontieri told the Advance that 20 percent of the Building Department’s work entails New York Rising funding projects of residential homes. Canavan asked when the reinstatement would be effective.

“Immediately,” said village attorney Brian Egan. “You have to make an application.”

Trustee Lori Devlin introduced the blight study, which would include south of Main Street on Division and Baker streets, bordered on the west by the Patchogue River and on the east by Rider Avenue, for the purpose of parking and redevelopment. 

“We want to take a look at properties for parking and redevelopment and it’s a tool we can use to get grant funding,” Pontieri said. 

“We have been approached for redevelopment,” Devlin said. “This is very preliminary and it’s in the idea stage. We are exploring one proposal in particular. To do that, properties need to be assembled; sometimes you need to do eminent domain and that’s why the blight study is needed. We don’t anticipate that, but this is one more tool we can use if we need to. We looked at the whole area because our quest is to add additional parking. Blight includes a lot of different things. We think of blight as deterioration, but it also includes when you have an incompatible mix of uses, residential and business. There are also some vacant parcels on Baker Street and that plays into a blighted area also.” Devlin said the board was exploring who would do the study.

The village board voted to extend the bid period for the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts renovation to Oct. 13. 

“There weren’t as many bid submissions as we wanted,” explained village clerk Patti Seal. 

During two public hearings, the request to declare 37 Maple Avenue unsafe was adjourned to Oct. 13, but 82-84 River Avenue, owned by Richard Gulotta and David Newman, which suffered a fire and is not boarded up, will be knocked down. “You have kids on that street and the River Elementary School on the block,” Pontieri said. He then made the motion to knock it down.

The attorney for 37 Maple Avenue, William Bode, who represented the lender, came before the board. “Our clients are currently determining the best way to settle this,” Bode said. “Unfortunately, they have to make business decisions.” Bode apologized and asked for more time. “If the board will consider this, I will do my best to squeak the wheels,” he said.

The building was boarded up, said village attorney Brian Egan. 

The request was granted. 

“These were two cases adjourned from July,” explained Egan. “While 37 Maple Avenue is what the attorney appeared for while the bank considers the options, we would encourage the bank to renovate the home and restore it, as it has historic appeal. With 82-84 River Avenue, it has zero historic value, minimal zero curb appeal and extensive fire damage and we’d like to move in an expeditious fashion to knock that down.”

In his Business Improvement District report, executive director Dennis Smith said the BID approved $2,500 to fund Plaza Cinema and Media Arts Center. 

“The Christmas Store is still a place without a home,” he said of the progress to bring the store into Patchogue Village. The Sub Zero Ice Cream store at 38 West Main Street was being reviewed as a possibility, but renovations there would not be economically feasible, he said. “It’s been gutted and there are wires hanging. But you would have to go in there with a plan to build out. [The potential tenant] is looking for approximately a 1,500-square-foot store for two months in November and December. If a store like Liberty Taxes would go out for that period of time, for example, it would be the type of store we’re looking for. And if he does well, he may put in a gift store at another location. I’m not giving up on this.”

Other issues:

 • Results from the Patchogue Village Parks Master Plan, sent out the end of May to 12,200 residents, will be discussed during an open meeting at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. Over 400 residents responded, said Smith.

• The St. Liberata Festival is coming on Sept. 26. Sign up for a bocce team. They’re limited to 20. There will be a game between county and village officials. Oh boy!