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Transit-oriented housing project in Farmingdale takes a step forward

Farmingdale village officials approved a zoning change for

Farmingdale village officials approved a zoning change for the third phase of a transit-oriented housing project near the Long Island Rail Road. The complex's first 39-unit building, pictured here, is open and the second building is slated to open this summer. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The third phase of a transit-oriented development in Farmingdale has taken a step forward after village officials approved a necessary zone change.

Developer Anthony Bartone presented his plans for a 42-unit apartment complex Monday at the village's board meeting.

"I thought the pulse of the audience was positive," Bartone said Tuesday. "I'm very optimistic . . . I think it's a really great thing for the village."

Bartone, of Farmingdale-based Bartone Properties, said his plans call for a building with 28 studio apartments, 10 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units at 100 Secatogue Ave. Four will be priced at lower workforce housing rates pegged to total income.

The .75-acre site near the Long Island Rail Road now houses a truck repair business, taxi stand and residence. It is zoned business D and residential B.

The village board on Monday unanimously approved changing the zoning to downtown mixed use.

Bartone and village officials will negotiate incentive bonuses. Bartone proposed building a fence, walkway and streetlights, costing $104,000, from the development to Main Street. Zoning laws allow him to build 40 units; he is seeking approval for 42.

Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said he expects to present the bonuses at the board's April meeting.

"I believe the addition of studio apartments to the transit-oriented development complements the entire Phase Three development," Ekstrand said. "I firmly believe the younger generation will flock to these studios."

Dan Winkelman of VHB Engineering, with offices in Hauppauge, also presented his traffic study findings Monday and said the new development wouldn't cause a "significant adverse impact." The village paid for the study and will be reimbursed by Bartone. VHB prepared the village's 2011 master plan. The first two phases of the project were developed by Bartone and JPI Development of Texas.

The first 39-unit building, at 180 Atlantic Ave., is open and 30 percent occupied. The second building, at 148 S. Front St., is slated to open this summer. A lottery for the 16 workforce apartments there was recently held.

Eric Alexander, director of Vision Long Island, a smart-growth nonprofit organization in Northport, attended the meeting. "I certainly support this type of application."

Alexander said he has spoken to investors interested in the village.

Several municipalities on Long Island, including Patchogue and Rockville Centre, have built these type of developments as part of an effort to revitalize their downtowns.

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