Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), presiding officer of the...

Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, called a bill to sell two county properties for development of affordable housing, "fair, and in the best interest of Nassau taxpayers."  Credit: James Escher

Nassau County legislators voted unanimously Monday to approve the $1.6 million sale of two adjoining county-owned properties in Freeport and Roosevelt to a nonprofit developer to build up to 155 units of affordable housing.

MHANYS Freeport LLC plans to build mixed income, multifamily residential housing, and possibly ground-level commercial space at 450-46 North Main Street in Freeport and 470 North Main Street in Roosevelt, according to the sales contract.

The market value of the properties is $1.36 million, documents show.

Both parcels are vacant. The Freeport building once served as a county-operated health clinic, while a gas station had operated at the Roosevelt site.

The sale is related to a landmark housing discrimination lawsuit settled during the administration of County Executive Laura Curran.

Nassau agreed to pay more than $5.4 million to MHANYS Management to settle a 14-year-old lawsuit charging the county with discrimination against minorities for failing to offer housing opportunities to people with low and moderate incomes.

Nassau County was asked to provide three properties for affordable housing, among them the Long Beach Motor Inn in Island Park, which eventually sold to a private developer.

The county also agreed in the settlement to set aside $450,000 per year for three years for private and nonprofit developers seeking to build mixed-income rental housing in areas with high-performing schools.

"This sale is great for the taxpayers and for the struggling middle class seeking housing options in a hot market," said Curran spokesman Michael Fricchione.

The Freeport/Roosevelt development would consist of between 76 and 155 rental housing units.

Twenty percent of units would be set aside for households earning no more than 60% of the Area Median Income for Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Rents would not exceed the annual U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department Program Rents for the year in which sale of the Freeport and Roosevelt buildings closes.

In 2020, for instance, rents would have been $1,298 a month for a studio apartment; $1,452/month for a one-bedroom; $1,744/month for a two-bedroom; and $2,007 for a three-bedroom apartment, according to the resolution.

"Today's land sale approved by the legislature, stemming from the MHANY settlement is fair, and in the best interest of Nassau taxpayers," Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said in a statement after the meeting.

The sales contract was approved in legislative committees on Dec. 6.

Legis. Siela Bynoe (D-Westbury) was among county lawmakers who raised questions about whether the Freeport and Roosevelt properties were in keeping with the terms of the 2019 MHANYS settlement.

Bynoe said in a statement Monday: "I support this project and the manner in which it will bolster our region's affordable housing stock."

She said that "moving forward, the County must remain keenly focused upon meeting its obligation" to build affordable housing in "high-opportunity" communities with high-performing schools and strong economic activity, "in accordance with the MHANY settlement."

Frederick Brewington, attorney for MHANY, said he was "happy that affordable housing can be made available, but the question about communities that are not normally receiving affordable housing still needs to be addressed."

Also Monday, county legislators unanimously approved an emergency resolution to accept a settlement with drug manufacturer Allergen Finance.

The company has agreed to pay $200 million to Nassau, Suffolk and upstate New York counties to resolve allegations that it helped fuel the opioid epidemic.

Nassau will receive payments of $2.6 million and $27 million.

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