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Site plan for East Northport housing project OKd

More than three decades after it was first proposed, the Matinecock Court affordable housing development in East Northport is one step closer to being built.

The Huntington Town Planning Board last week approved a conditional site plan for the 155-unit community on 15 acres at Elwood and Pulaski Roads.

Susan Lagville, executive director of Housing Help Inc., the Greenlawn-based advocacy group that proposed the complex in 1978, said Thursday. "We have been thinking this site plan was going to be approved so many times that when it finally happened it was like, 'Oh, we can believe it now.' "

She said that, after years of opposition and delays, the next step is to get approval from Suffolk County for a sewage treatment plant on the site.

Walter Hilbert, Suffolk's chief of waste water management, said that the county health and public works departments have been reviewing Housing Help's application for garbage collection, a water supply system and the sewage treatment facility. Last week, the application was rejected for what he termed minor technical issues.

Hilbert said the project will also need a county variance for the location of the treatment facility because of its proximity to some of the buildings.

"It's nothing insurmountable," he said, adding that when the technical issues are addressed, a hearing will be held "and more than likely they'll get their variance and we'll be able to issue an approval."

The plan calls for 77 condominium units to be sold to first-time home buyers and 78 units to be rented.

Renters can earn no more than 60 percent of the median family income for Nassau and Suffolk counties, currently $101,400 for a family of 4, and buyers no more than 80 percent.

When proposed, the project met with stiff opposition. The town refused to rezone the site for multifamily homes, and residents feared additional traffic, parking and students and, consequently, the potential for higher taxes.

In 1997 Housing Help filed a lawsuit saying the town was blocking the project because residents feared it would produce an influx of minority renters.

Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said Thursday the town needs more affordable housing.

"There are many local families who will be able to benefit from this," he said.

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