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Amityville settles debt with developer

The vacant Wellington Park Villas in Amityville is

The vacant Wellington Park Villas in Amityville is at risk of foreclosure. (Aug. 5, 2011) Credit: Barry Sloan

The developer of Wellington Park Villas has agreed to pay Amityville $232,000 to settle a long-running dispute over what village officials said were unpaid fees related to the project.

Village trustees unanimously approved the pact with Gary Passavia at Monday night's board meeting. Village attorney Bruce Kennedy said it was "in the best interest of the village."

But the settlement was for substantially less than the $443,000 former deputy mayor Peter Casserly said was owed in February. Kennedy said early numbers given by village officials were "disputed and of somewhat questionable basis."

The village also agreed to loosen some restrictions on what was planned as a 61-unit condominium project, which went into foreclosure last year without having closed on a single unit, officials said.

Under the new limits, units can be rented, rather than owned. Also, the developer will have the right to petition the Zoning Board of Appeals to reduce the number of units set aside for seniors from 33 to 21, though that move would result in additional fees for the village.

Joan Donnison, president of the Bay Village Civic Association, questioned the move, warning that rentals could bring problems with parking and code enforcement and burden the school district.

Officials said they didn't anticipate quality-of-life issues. "With the amount of money that this gentleman has invested in this property, it's going to have to be an upscale rental situation," Mayor James Wandell said.

Passavia spokesman Michael DeLuise said the developer was "very pleased with the outcome" and that tenants could move in as early as this month.

The project was once hailed as a harbinger of a new wave of walkable Long Island development, close to downtown and the Long Island Rail Road.

But Passavia faced an $11 million foreclosure judgment before reaching an agreement with lender Wells Fargo.

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