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Developer's mistake forces Southold to reschedule affordable housing lottery

Renderings for Gansett Meadow. Construction will soon begin

Renderings for Gansett Meadow. Construction will soon begin on two new affordable East End housing developments, both made possible through a mix of private and public funds and state and federal tax credits. Vineyard View in Greenport and Gansett Meadow in Amagansett will put a combined 87 units on the market. Credit: Georgica Green Ventures, LLC

North Fork residents who thought they had secured a spot in Southold Town’s first affordable rental complex were disappointed last month when the developer made an error and voided the results of a lottery drawing.

Conifer Realty LLC, which along with Community Development Corporation of Long Island is the developer of the 50-unit Vineyard View in Greenport, said in a July 28 Facebook post that it unintentionally omitted applicants during a July 27 lottery drawing broadcast online. It said it is required under the affirmative fair housing marketing plan approved by the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal to include all eligible applicants.

“We believe by reopening the application and rerunning the lottery, it is the best practice given the circumstance,” a spokesman for the state agency said Monday.

A second virtual lottery was set for last Thursday, although less than an hour before it was scheduled Conifer announced it would postpone the drawing and reopen the application process. It said it would provide more specific instructions on applying with easier access to both English and Spanish applications.

“We take the tenant selection process seriously and recognize the importance of maintaining the highest standards of integrity in this and all facets of our business,” Conifer posted on the Vineyard View website. “We look forward to making our lottery process easier and more accessible for all applicants and appreciate your understanding and patience as we move forward.”

Conifer representatives did not respond Monday to a request for comment.

It is not clear how many people were left out of the lottery, but Denis Noncarrow, Southold Town community development government liaison officer, said 315 names were called during the initial lottery.

Advocates and residents say affordable units are urgently needed on the East End, where the second-home market has driven up real estate prices. Monthly rents will range from $1,056 to $1,784, depending on unit size and applicant income, according to Conifer’s website. Tenants are expected to move in this fall.

Ashley Santacroce, of East Marion, who thought she was a shoo-in when she drew "38" in the first lottery, was among those who expressed disappointment when the results were voided.

“We were excited,” said Santacroce, who owns a taxi company and is a single mother to a 10-year-old boy. “They are nice new apartments in a great location and it’s affordable.”

Jessica Terry, of Greenport, had applied for the July 27 drawing, but was omitted from the first lottery. She is looking for a larger place for herself, her 17-year-old daughter and a new baby due in December, and said she was disappointed that her chances may be slimmer for the next drawing.

“If you are after 50 [in the drawing], you’re not going to have a good chance,” she said.

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