Planning board adjourns on Cornerstone

The article below was Published Jan 24, 2019 by Randall Waszynski in The Long Island Advance

The Planning Board adjourned consideration regarding The Cornerstone Waterfront at Patchogue, a 50-unit luxury waterfront rental complex at the end of Mulford Street in Patchogue Village at Tuesday night’s meeting. The hearing was not a public hearing to approve the project; it was held in order to have the planning board recommend a change of zone to the village board which would be necessary for the project to move forward in any way. Representatives for Terwilliger & Bartone presented their site plan before the board and roughly 90 residents, whose attendance spilled out into the hallway. The residents — receiving their first formal forum for input on the matter — overall voiced concerns regarding traffic, view obstruction, noise, the welfare of nearby property values and the influence on the nearby residential community.

“There is no question this [development] will change our street,” said Jo Miller, a nearby resident and an executive member of Citizens Campaign for Open Village Government. “The area will look different and be different.”

Miller expressed that she is not necessarily opposed to the project but added that pertinent inquiries need to be considered before moving forward.

“The developers will have, hopefully, a successful project,” she said. “And what do we get? Can the developers tell us why the residents of the street and the surrounding areas should be in favor of this project?”

The historic village has seen a boom in business the last six years. Kathleen Biggs, who grew up in Patchogue and is now a nearby resident of the proposed project, said that she has grown fond of the change in scenery on W. Main Street and outward that manages to maintain the historic taste of the village.

“Yet, when does our town start becoming over-commercialized?” Biggs said. “I am now uneasy about the future of our neighborhood that I call home. How will a luxury apartment complex keep up the aesthetics of our neighborhood as it towers three stories high?”

In addition to concern of obstructed views and that luxury apartments do not contribute to the current residents, Biggs and other residents said before the planning board that they are concerned with the traffic increase on the connecting S. Ocean Avenue. Backup occurs here due to its proximity to the Long Island Railroad crossing and as a major entrance and exit to and from W. Main Street.

Residents said an entity featuring 137 parking spaces at the end of Mulford Street would exacerbate this problem. Pat McHeffey, another resident nearby the site, said that he would not like to see that backup expand onto Mulford Street, considering he has a 10-month-old child.

“I do think it is already dangerous,” he said. “And I already consider whether this is the place and say ‘Is this where I want him riding a bike?’”

Those who spoke against the project for various reasons received applause from the audience. Board members, as well as those representing the development firm, took notes of the concerns raised.

There were two speakers, however, who spoke in favor of the project, considering its contribution to economic growth in the village and the opportunity to make the land useful.

“A project like this is extremely important to be able to support the business growth,” said Tom Gilmore, a risk-management consultant at Industrial Coverage on S. Ocean Avenue. Gilmore made note of Cornerstone of Farmingdale, the first complex completed by the developer, in 2016, and is situated adjacent to the LIRR.

The initial proposal for Cornerstone of Patchogue featured 74 units among five stories. It has since been reduced to 50 units among three stories with rooftop amenities for tenants. The existing marina features 55 boat slips and would be available for tenants. The existing marina building on the property would be renovated and transformed into a clubhouse.

The site plan for Cornerstone of Patchogue is currently under review by the board.