Brookhaven Town board changes housing code

Brookhaven Town Hall Brookhaven Town Hall Photo Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis

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The town board has approved a change to Brookhaven's multifamily housing code -- and unanimously voted for a resolution to allow residents greater input on zone changes.

At Tuesday's board meeting, Medford civic leader Don Seubert criticized the multifamily housing code amendment as a gateway to overdevelopment.

"Queens and Hempstead already exist," he told the board during a public hearing on the housing code amendment. "The multifamily revision continues to pound the same communities again and again."

Sponsored by Councilman Tim Mazzei, the amendment to the multifamily housing code clarifies the types of zones that would be suitable for such housing, specifies required setbacks and specifies environmental contributions such as pine barrens credits to offset development.

Mitch Pally of the Long Island Builders Institute gave measured approval to the amendment, saying to the board that while it contains "provisions that inhibit redevelopment in places where it should occur . . . it is better and more accessible than the current code that we have."

Councilmembers Mazzei, Dan Panico, Connie Kepert and Supervisor Edward P. Romaine voted for the amendment, while council members Jane Bonner, Steve Fiore-Rosenfeld and Kathy Walsh opposed the measure.

The board also supported a resolution that allows residents concerned about zoning applications to file protest petitions that will force the board to a supermajority vote.

Before the vote, the town board, with seven members, only required four votes to approve zoning changes in response to a protest petition.

Protest petitions can be filed in zoning change applications if 20 percent of the neighboring property owners within 100 feet of a parcel's boundary oppose the application. Now, such zoning applications will require five votes for approval.

"I think people should have a voice in land-use decisions in their neighborhoods," Romaine said after the vote.

He co-sponsored the resolution with Bonner. "That makes it a little more difficult for rezoning cases, and gives the residents far greater voices than they have now."

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