A proposed $28.6 million tax break for a planned apartment complex in Lindenhurst has been met with strong support from those in favor of economic development, and vocal opposition from those concerned about the school district’s coffers.
The Babylon Industrial Development Agency hosted a public hearing Thursday evening for its proposal to give The Lindenhurst Residences, a planned 260-unit rental project on East Hoffman Avenue, a 30-year tax abatement to construct the complex and employ 247 people during construction and six people permanently.
More than 100 people attended the hearing. Several people who spoke in favor of Tritec Real Estate’s planned development across from the Lindenhurst train station pointed to Patchogue’s downtown revitalization as an example of how a new housing complex can positively affect the whole business district.
“From a business perspective, I’m seeing a huge uptick in interest from people wanting to come here,” Lindenhurst Business Improvement District President Jason Kontakis said.
Housing creates economic development, said Samuel Chu, a Lindenhurst resident and former deputy county executive for operations.
“Communities that provide those housing options are going to succeed, and those that don’t are going to continue to struggle,” he said.
Tritec got approval from the village to construct the building on a 7-acre parcel, and has filed a demolition permit to remove the Lakeville Kitchen & Bath building that’s there now. The building is expected to be completed by spring of 2021 and will offer studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, including 26 affordable housing units.
The National Development Council completed an independent analysis of the proposed project’s finances and came out in support of the IDA’s tax abatement plan.
“The project would not be financially feasible if it were to pay full taxes,” the report concluded.
But several people who spoke Thursday in opposition of the tax abatements took issue with the financial package that would ensure $22 million in taxes going to the school district over 30 years, far less than if the developer was to pay the full taxes.
Lindenhurst schools Superintendent Dan Giordano doesn’t support the abatements, saying Thursday the IDA denied his request that the public hearing be adjourned for 30 days.
Resident Dunstan Bradley said, “It’s unacceptable” that the IDA didn’t restructure the financial package with the school district’s revenue concerns in mind.
The developer expects young adults will rent the units and only a handful of children will live there and attend Lindenhurst schools.
John Lisi, president of the Daniel Street Civic Association in Lindenhurst, said, “Lindenhurst school district is not being held harmless in this endeavor, and will incur significant budget increases, first from the cost of educating children living in the development, and second from the fact that in years one through 10, the taxes being paid by Tritec are low.”
The presidents of the Lindenhurst Chamber of Commerce, Lindenhurst Business Improvement District and Long Island Builders Institute spoke in support of the project and the expected downtown revitalization it will bring, attracting new restaurants and retailers.
The IDA meets on Dec. 11 but did not schedule a vote on the Tritec deal.