PATCHOGUE VILLAGE

Cornerstone receives ‘conditional approval’ recommendation

Planning Board recommendation considers special use permit

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The Patchogue Village Planning Board submitted a letter dated April 15 recommending the conditional approval of Terwilliger Bartone Properties, better known as the Cornerstone project, application for a special use permit for the construction of an apartment complex at the western end of Mulford Street.

The board was described as “notably divided on the proposed project” amid “vociferous public opposition.” However, the recommendation came after review of the application and additional materials submitted by the applicant, the letter reads. 

The 2019 proposal requests a special use permit to construct a 50-unit apartment complex and clubhouse on Mulford Street near its intersection with West Avenue. The planning board recommended a denial of that application and the applicant withdrew resubmitting a special use permit for a 50-unit apartment complex and clubhouse. The proposed project lies in the E-Industrial District and partially in the C-Residence District. The proposed building is just over 14,000 square feet with a height of 45 feet as well as a clubhouse that is about 1,000 square feet and a two-tier parking structure along the Patchogue River.

According to the code, E-Industrial allows the issuance of a special use permit by the Board of Trustees, which first requires a recommendation of denial or approval from the planning board. 

What the planning board found:

In the first application the board outlined five key issues including the building was to be placed on the street line, the plan lacked flexibilities with parking requirements, the parking spaces in the apartment building parking lot were right up against the building with no buffers, the clubhouse was partially in the area of moderate wave action and the precedent that such a project would create along the river causing a withdrawal of the application. However, with the addition of 230 West Avenue, while maintaining the same number of units and building footprint, the report reads, it has allowed the applicant to make revisions to the plan to address the key issues raised.

With the revised application the apartment building no longer rests directly on the street line, there is now a ten-foot setback, there is no longer parking spaces directly against the building, there is now a buffer, there is more flexibility with parking, with a land bank 156 spaces would be provided when 154 are required and if the second tier of the parking structure is removed then 134 spaces would be provided. If the village deems the land-banked stalls are not needed, it can be used as a pocket park, the planning board wrote. Also, the clubhouse was reduced in size by about 20 percent removing itself from the wave action.

“Altogether, the new plan remedies the issues set forth […]. The plan provides realistic and viable paths to eventual site plan approval, and as such, the planning board recommends issuance of special use permit with the following conditions,” the report continues.

  1. An alternate plan and renderings showing provision of parking spaces at grade and underneath the apartment building explaining why it is not feasible. 
  2. The two-tier parking structure does not fit in with the aesthetic of the neighborhood and, according to the board, should not be permitted,
  3. Prior to scheduling of site plan review hearings an independent environment engineer, selected by the village, must be submitted analyzing the feasibility and plausibility of the project in the floodplain, stormwater and drainage regulation. The applicant must pay the expense.

Also, while not a condition of the approval, the planning board noted that the recommendation to the trustees is not an endorsement of the project or guarantee that it will pass site plan approval or review from the Zoning Board of Appeals.

The letter goes on to detail, “major outstanding issues for the site plan review” including compliance with the village’s stormwater standards and regulations and proof that the development will comply. 

The recommendation was approved with the above conditions and signed by planning board members Karen Zorzenon, Kevin Weeks, Alan Fertmann and Eva Rodriguez-Greguski. 

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