PATCHOGUE VILLAGE

Cornerstone variances will be required

Tiered and land-banked parking decisions referred to ZBA

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An amended application for Terwilliger & Bartone’s Cornerstone Waterfront at Patchogue project, a proposed 50-unit apartment complex and marina dock along the Patchogue River on Mulford Street, was submitted last month and said to have met parking requirements.

The developer incorporated 22 additional parking spaces – located on the elevated parking deck on the north side of the site – to meet the required 154 parking requirements. The parking and tiered parking, not including the land-banked stalls, shows 130 spaces. One hundred and fifty-six spaces were found, with the land-banked stalls to be included from the acquisition of a West Avenue home, though the exact number of spaces required and the number of spaces being provided by the applicant is not final.

As of now, the developer claims that with the parking deck, they do not need a parking variance. However, even with the parking deck, village attorney Brian Egan explained, the applicant will need a variance since village code does not have a provision permitting land-banked stalls. However, he noted that the land-bank will be considered by the Patchogue Village Zoning Board of Appeals.

Parking aside, the plan will still need to go before the ZBA for permission to have the E-industrial zone apply to the whole project, though part of the project lies in C-residential zone.

Planning Board councilmember Christopher Bianco also made note that a variance will be required to review the use of the less restrictive zoning.

“As a default, the more restrictive zoning applies. I do believe a variance review will be necessary in that aspect,” said Bianco.

The 2.15-acre Mulford Street parcel is partially zoned E-industrial and C-residential. The initial application proposed by the developer in February 2018 featured 74 apartment units and five stories and sought a special-use permit.

The final Village of Patchogue planing board public hearing to make recommendations to the board of trustees, held Wednesday, Feb. 10, allowed the applicant’s response to any and/or all of the questions or comments presented by the public. A number of residents spoke in opposition to the project and only a handful in support of it, during a

just shy of three-hour meeting.

Letters read on the record were similar to previous on-the-record opposition and included the following issues: the project is too large as currently proposed; questioning the need for rental development; a request for a moratorium; concern for the demolition of the 230 West Avenue home for parking; stormwater management; environmental concerns, specifically with flooding; and an overall quality-of-life issue that the development doesn’t fit the neighborhood.

Members of the planning board also took time to address the applicant and ask their final questions. Member Karen Zorzenon requested further details about the view of the cars atop the tiered parking from the river.

Project architect Glen Cherveny, of GRCH, assured that the ground-level landscaping would cover most of the parking and railings would obscure top-tiered parked vehicles, with the possibility of only a view to tops of the cars.

Chair of the board John Rocco returned to the board as a member, with Kevin Weeks still performing as the acting chair. He addressed the applicant requesting clarification for the amount of “net spaces” gained from the second-level parking.

Developer Anthony Bartone said it would net 22 spaces, being that the ramp was already accounted for and the structure’s reinforcement would be placed in between ground-level stalls. He also noted that the structure would cost approximately $500,000 to build.

Member Patricia Kelly said after 20 years serving the board and 40 years living on the bay, she has seen many environmental changes, especially after Superstorm Sandy.

“I have a lot of concerns about it and I am worried about stormwater runoff,” she said. “It’s going to impact the river, the natural habitat, and set a precedent for other development.”

In addition to a pocket park, the developer said there will be a bioswale for natural drainage and rainwater

irrigation, permeable pavers and a special compressed stone used in lieu of traditional asphalt for the parking lot, as well as a number of native plantings.

Kelly also questioned if proper soil testing was done after the use of gasoline tanks at the Marran Oil property site years ago. Bartone said in addition to the cleanup overseen by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that predates the project, they have also done follow-up testing in 2018. A letter was also submitted by JR Holzmacher noting the remedies made on the property were closed out by the NYSDEC.

On behalf of the developer, attorney Kathleen Deegan Dickson responded to most of the comments made throughout the public hearings at the end of the night. She reiterated that the application is for a privately owned parcel that is not seeking a height variance and will include items to add to resident safety, including sidewalks down Mulford Street and lighting. There will also be a promenade on the waterfront with a public area, she said.

“[It will be] a new residential building with closed-circuit cameras and a much safer environment than what currently exists,” she said, noting that the current site is vacant land.

She also noted that a traffic study was done during the peak hours of the summer in July 2019 as well as February 2019, pre-pandemic. Traffic, she said, will be comparable or less that of any of the permitted alternate uses at that site. Also, only about three to four school-aged children are expected to be generated by the project.

Additionally, she explained, the structure is outside the proper FEMA floodplain requirement and the acquired home for parking has not been listed on the NYS historical registry.

The developer is applying to the board of trustees for a special permit to allow residential housing in the industrial zone. The board referred the application to the planning board for a recommendation. After a determination and recommendation is made to the board of trustees, the application will move to the trustees, the village zoning board of appeals and then make its way back to the planning board for potential site plan review.

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