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Patchogue lowers maximum building height in new Art and Culture district

Terry Street, as seen on Feb. 27: In

Terry Street, as seen on Feb. 27: In the new arts district, as home and business owners move out, only artists and art-type establishments can move in.  Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Patchogue officials on Monday night changed the building requirements in the newly formed Art and Culture district on Terry Street, citing concerns about the character of the district.

The maximum height a developer can build was lowered to 42 feet, which equates to a three-story building, from 52 feet.

On Tuesday, Patchogue Village trustee Lori Devlin, who spearheaded the legislation, said the switch was made after developers applied to build structures that would tower over nearby homes.

The applications “really weren’t in the spirit of what we were trying to accomplish and residents had some concerns,” Devlin said.

Any new construction must also have a minimal lot area of 6,000 square feet and be 15 feet behind the front property line, which is consistent with most of the nearby buildings, officials said.

Patchogue officials made the change at the request of village planning and zoning board members, who believed the old zoning allowed for too much residential density and five-story structures.

“There were some conceptual plans that came in that really wasn’t consistent with what the law was,” village attorney Brian Egan said on Tuesday.

Terry Street was conceived as an artsy, walkable alternative to the commercially zoned Main Street, he said.

In February, board members rezoned the Terry Street area from an assortment of residential and business uses to create the arts district. As home and business owners move out, only artists and art-type establishments can move in.

Terry Street was an ideal place for the district since it’s home to Artspace Patchogue Lofts, an affordable rental housing complex with a first-floor gallery. It includes 45 apartments and opened in July 2011 on a parcel previously occupied by a vacant house and a little-used village parking lot.

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