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East Northport development delayed again

A decades-old plan to build workforce housing in East Northport has hit another snag, which may delay the project another six to nine months and will shrink the development.

The Suffolk Board of Review denied variances to allow a sewage-treatment plant to be built about 75 feet closer than is now allowed to some of the housing units in the proposed Matinecock Court complex.

The review board, part of the county Health Department, made the ruling on the 155-unit complex at a hearing Thursday.

"The sewage treatment plant has to be 200 feet from a building where people will live or work," Susan Lagville, executive director of Housing Help Inc., the nonprofit developer of the complex, said Saturday. "So now, we will lose 14 units."

Two other variances -- to allow the plant to be built near the Long Island Rail Road and a Long Island Power Authority substation -- were granted for the plot at Elwood and Pulaski roads.

Chris Triolo, a Northport resident who created Stop Matinecock Court, said he is disgusted by the decision, especially because it granted the railroad and LIPA variances. "We need a detailed description of why the county approved this, and based on that information, we will determine our next course of action," he said. "Which does not exclude a potential lawsuit."

Greenlawn-based Housing Help Inc. proposed the controversial plan in 1978. It has been delayed by intense local opposition and two lawsuits the nonprofit filed against the Town of Huntington. One of the suits, alleging discriminatory zoning, reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld a lower court's ruling against the town; the other suit was settled.

In November, an attorney representing the Northport-East Northport school district wrote to the county, urging officials to deny the sewage treatment plant variance. A joint letter from state Sens. John J. Flanagan (R-East Northport) and Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) to the county argued that the variance, if granted, could place people in "potential danger."

Lagville said it's been a long process and she is glad to be closer to a conclusion.

"We proceed now to design the sewage treatment plant for the new number of units," Lagville said. "We had to know the number of units before we could start. "

She said designers will work closely with the county to come up with an acceptable structure.

"The department of health will be reviewing this design step-by-step so that it meets all of their criteria," Lagville said.


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