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Lindenhurst officials say more in support of proposed apartments

Part of the property on the south side

Part of the property on the south side of East Hoffman Avenue, between South Smith Street and South Pennsylvania Avenue, in Lindenhurst on Jan. 21, 2018. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

The response to a proposed apartment complex in Lindenhurst has been 2 to 1 in favor so far, according to the village’s mayor.

The village will be accepting comments on the 260-unit multifamily rental complex until Jan. 30. Mayor Mike Lavorata said he has received a dozen emails on the proposal since a Jan. 9 public hearing at which developer Tritec Real Estate of East Setauket presented its plans. Lavorata said the emails he received were 2 to 1 in favor of the proposal.

The company has asked the village to rezone from industrial and residential to Downtown Redevelopment District (DRD) more than 7 acres of land on East Hoffman Avenue, across from the Long Island Rail Road station, between South Smith Street and South Pennsylvania Avenue.

Lavorata said he’s also heard from residents asking about renting an apartment. But at a board of trustees meeting last week, he heard more complaints than praises for the proposal, which would be the largest apartment complex in the village.

Resident Terence Whelan questioned Tritec’s assertion that the complex would house 508 residents, noting that under the village code, the amount of people allowed in the various size apartments, which range from studios to three bedrooms, could lead to more than 800 renters.

Whelan called the Jan. 9 hearing a “dog and pony show” that was overtaken by union members in support of the project. Resident Robert Fantel agreed, saying there were too many nonresidents speaking out.

“I don’t think it should be open to anyone outside of our community,” he said. “Their say to me has no meaning.”

Lavorata said some union workers are village residents and that of the 52 people who signed up to speak at the hearing, 36 were village residents. He said some lived elsewhere but owned businesses in the village.

“How do I tell a guy who has a lot of business in the village that he can’t speak?” Lavorata said. “Should he not have a say as a member of the business community?”

Village officials, who have been working to revitalize the downtown, said the project could send a signal to businesses that they can come there and also give the village heft when applying for grants.

Lavorata and other officials said they too are concerned about aspects of the proposal, such as parking, and will meet again with Tritec next month.

“Nobody believes this is the save-all for the village,” trustee RJ Renna said. “We just know the potential opportunities that this will provide for us . . . saying that we’re a serious community who’s looking to move forward.”

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