Dozens of Patchogue residents speak out against waterfront apartment proposal
The Patchogue planning board has again adjourned a packed public hearing on a proposed waterfront complex during a marathon meeting which spilled over into Wednesday morning.
One by one, village residents spoke at length to the dais, offering different reasons why The Cornerstone Waterfront at Patchogue is a bad fit for neighbors during what several planning officials described as its longest meeting ever. The meeting, which included a handful of other public hearings, lasted nearly five hours, ending at 12:11 a.m.
The $16 million complex would have 50 apartment units along the Patchogue River at the west end of Mulford Street near West Avenue.
“A 50-unit apartment complex that over doubles in height from surrounding residences is not the best option,” village resident Kaetlyn Jackson, 32, told the board. “A compatible use for these undeveloped lots would be a public park.”
Some residents said they want the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to test the site for possible contamination because the site was once used for petroleum storage.
Others said the developers didn’t present convincing points why the project should proceed.
More than 170 people attended the meeting. About 20 spoke, and 10 written comments were read aloud. None was in favor of the project.
“We’re here tonight united as a group,” Kathleen Biggs told the board. “This project will decide many of our futures.”
Attorney Kathleen Deegan Dickson, representing Cornerstone developer Anthony Bartone, said they have taken many residential complaints into consideration and altered some plans for the project.
She said the proposed complex has undergone a redesign so the structure would fit the historic character of Patchogue.
Cornerstone officials also said that no environmental restrictions have been placed on the property and that their traffic engineers believe the project won't add much traffic.
The four-story complex would largely comprise one-bedroom units if approved.
The location is zoned industrial, but residential use is allowed with a special permit. The project first needs a recommendation from the planning board, then the Patchogue village board of trustees will determine whether to issue the special permit.
Developers said the site was approved for condominiums several years ago under a different owner.
"We've listened to every single concern. It is private property in an industrial zone. Something is going to happen there," Bartone said after the meeting. "Again, we're trying to listen to what everyone is saying and have a plan that encapsulates every concern that's been raised."
Planning board chairman John Rocco said there is no timetable to reconvene the hearing.
"We'll gather some more information and the applicant will submit us more information," he said, "and we'll further deliberate on it."