The fate of the controversial Cornerstone luxury rental complex being proposed for along the banks of Patchogue River is one step closer to being known.
But there still may be a ways to go.
The village Planning Board has been reviewing Cornerstone’s evolving plans since last year, and voted Tuesday night to submit its recommendations to the Village Board, which has final say over the project.
The details of the recommendation won’t be fully known until they’re read aloud at a public hearing in Village Hall.
Mayor Paul Pontieri, who has reviewed the recommendations, said he hopes to schedule that hearing “within the next few weeks.”
As of Wednesday morning the village trustees had yet to see the 3-page document, he said.
“If we released this now, it would go viral in 30 seconds,” Pontieri said, giving no indication of what’s in the report. “That would put an intense amount of political pressure on this board. And that wouldn’t be fair to the developers, the board, or the public at large.”
The recommendations can lead the developers, which need a special permit to build housing on the industrial land, down several different avenues, Pontieri said.
For instance, the recommendations’ could outrightly object to housing, or give the green light for housing, or even suggest changes be made to the proposal before any special permit is entertained.
Any changes, if made, would send the developers and their revised plans back to the Planning Board in their ongoing quest for a permit.
The Village Board could also determine that one or some of the recommended revisions — if there are any — would require variances, which would then involve the Zoning Board of Appeals.
[Update: After the Village Board reviews the Planning Board’s recommendations, the Suffolk County Planning Commission will also have to vote on whether or not the county recommends the project to move forward in its special permit application and the additional village review. However, the Village Board can overrule the county’s decision with a supermajority vote.]
The site for the planned 50-unit apartment buildings sits between the Watch Hill Ferry Terminal and The Oar Steak & Seafood Grille on property currently owned by Richard Blakeslee, who also owns the neighboring Oar restaurant on West Avenue.
In the past, the property was used by Marran Oil and zoned for industrial use. Fuel oil tanks that were housed there have since been removed.
The developers, Terwilliger and Bartone Properties, last updated their designs in March in response to community input.
Still, the proposal has continued to galvanize people around the neighborhood who fear it will change the area’s character, among other concerns, though others have spoken out in favor.
But even if the village trustees granted a special permit, the planning process still wouldn’t end there, village. officials have said. It would turn back to the Planning Board to go through a site plan process.
Above is a conceptual artistic rendering. Click here for more renderings.
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