Monday night, the Patchogue Village Board accepted the Planning Board’s letter of recommendation to issue a special permit to Terwilliger & Bartone Properties to construct its proposed Cornerstone luxury apartments project.
The Cornerstone project, which has been contested in the public sphere, requires a special permit in order to build a residential building within Patchogue’s “E” industrial zone along Patchogue River, just north of Oar Steak & Seafood Grille
The proposal stirred similar upset among members of the Planning Board.
“I would say in the 21 years that I’ve been on the Planning Board, it’s arguably the most divisive issue that has come before this board,” Kevin Weeks, acting chair of the Planning Board, said of the Cornerstone proposal.
Weeks was one of four members who signed the approval letter. The other three dissented and did not sign. “We usually operate in lockstep,” he said “It’s odd when you even have one person dissent from the majority.”
Although it was not a unanimous declaration of support, the recommendation letter is a change from the Planning Board’s previous opinion on the project. Over a year and a half ago, the Planning Board recommended the Village Board deny an application for a special use permit the proposal.
This time around, the body submitted a “tepid, lukewarm endorsement of the overall concept of the plan with a lot of conditions attached,” according to Weeks. “Several of which, the applicant might find fairly onerous.”
Weeks said his chief concern is the impact the project and its construction may have on the environment. He said he wants to be certain that the developer accounting for stormwater runoff and climate change-induced sea-level rise.
He said the letter demands that an independent environmental engineering firm conduct a survey of the surrounding areas and determine, based on Terwilliger and Bartone’s most recent plans, if construction is warranted on the site.
“That has to be accomplished before we’ll even schedule a site plan review,” Weeks said. “And of course, it will be at [Terwilliger & Bartone Properties’] expense.”
Parking has been another concern throughout the project’s quest for approval. The most recent plans brought before the Planning Board featured a two-story parking deck, which many residents believed would be out of place in the village.
Weeks said the structure was addressed in the recommendation letter he signed: “The board has flat out said that the parking deck cannot be built, it’s just not proper within the zoning district, its not proper along the waterfront there.”
The Village Board, which has ultimately say whether or not to issue the special permit to build the luxury apartments, determined Monday evening that it will hold a public hearing for the developer’s request May 24.