Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, for accuracy and additional input from the mayor — along with more recent enrollment and tax figures involving the school district.
Four projects are on the radar of a local watchdog group and other Patchogue residents that would increase the number of available housing units in the village, as well as commercial space.
As proposed, there would be up to 100 additional apartments at various price points coming online in the next few years.
There’s a village Planning Board meeting tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 7 p.m., where at least two of these projects will be discussed and special permitting will be applied for by property owners and developers.
The Citizens Campaign for Open Village Government has an active presence on social media, and has been outlining the proposed projects.
The group generally takes a neutral stance on actual proposals, they say, stating often that property owners have the legal right to seek approval for proposed projects.
But they also state they support the “first amendment rights of all those with an opinion one way or the other about these or any such future projects in the village.”
[Correction: A Planning Board decision on Cornerstone could come as soon as tonight, Tuesday. Then, that board’s recommendation goes onto the Village Board, which has the final say. An earlier version of this report detailing the stage of this process was inaccurate.]
That proposal has galvanized some people around the neighborhood who fear it will change the area’s character, among other concerns, though others have spoken out in favor.
There are three other proposed projects that have drawn less attention.
A mixed-use building that would consist of six apartments and commercial space is proposed for the parking lot off Lake Street behind the prominent Bargain Bilge building on West Main Street.
That application is set to be heard this week before the Planning Board. According to the agenda, the developers, listed as Paenz Corp. LLC, are looking for a special permit to construct a two-story building.
“There are a number of issues that must addressed by the Planning Board and the developer before this proposal can go forward,” said Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri.
The village will be considering Suffolk County’s plan for redeveloping the Waverly Avenue Spur, with the addition of a traffic circle to the west — as well as access and egress from the property.
Also, a sewer line must be run to the property, the mayor said.
To the west of the Bargain Bilge, there’s a 21-unit rental complex and commercial space proposed for Waverly Avenue, just north of the traffic circle.
However, Pontieri said, this proposal is still under development and the Planning Board application has been pulled for now.
Another proposed project is the conversion of the shuttered Kappler’s bar site on the corner of West Avenue and Division Street into a 9- to 10-unit apartment building with commercial space.
With this, according to the mayor, the developers already have Zoning Board approval and are negotiating for additional properties. The next step is for them to go to the Planning Board.
A common concern for any village or hamlet seeing an increase in residential rental units is the effect it will have on the school district, though in Patchogue the added housing has yielded net financial benefits, according to numbers gathered through the schools by the village.
According to the mayor and the village’s own estimates in an economic impact report, from all the residential multifamily units built between 2006 and 2017 — seven projects in total — there were 40 enrolled students in 663 housing units as of Dec. 14, 2018. These units consisted of both affordable rentals and condos/townhouses.
“We researched the number of students and updated the economic study,” Pontieri said Tuesday.
What the village found was that from 2006 to 2017, the school district recorded about $6.61 million in estimated tax levies from the developed properties, with $1.18 million in added educational costs. That’s all good for about a $5.43 million in estimated surplus.
And, “this surplus revenue will increase substantially as the Industrial Development Agency [IDA] tax abatement given to New Village decreases,” Pontieri said.
The study also found that enrollment in Patchogue-Medford School District declined by 1,093 students since 2006 (nearly 13 percent) despite the total population within the village increasing by almost six percent since 2010, according to U.S. Census estimates.
Opinions on the proposed housing abound.
The resurgence of Patchogue Village has been a subject of many editorials and referenced as a revitalization success story, something other villages seek to emulate.
Though some commenters about the proposed projects online insist the seemingly piecemeal approach needs to be replaced with a new master plan adopted for the entire village. Some have even suggested a moratorium on larger building projects altogether.
Parking concerns also continue to linger, though the village has designs to use parking meter revenues to build a parking garage, likely behind the county courthouse on West Main Street (more below).
The Citizens Campaign for Open Village Government saw a lot of discussion about the proposed housing and commercial space for the Bargain Bilge parking lot site in particular.
“It’s revealed deep concern about the pace of revitalization in the village,” the group posted on Monday.
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