The Truth About Cornerstone

The article below was Published April 25, 2019 by Mathew Ambrosio, Terwilliger & Bartone Properties in Long Island Advance

There has been much to do about the proposed Cornerstone project on the east side of the Patchogue River, where the old WR Marran & Sons oil facility used to stand. A recent petition was circulated online by the Coalition Against Cornerstone Development, and apparently over 850 "signatures" were obtained in opposition to said project. However, under closer examination of the petitions received by the village, only 23 of those signatures were actual Patchogue residents. In fact, some petitions were signed by people as far as West Virginia, Florida and California. The "coalition" uses a network of third-party, out-of-town community organizers that leverage local issues to suit their own agenda. Turns out the community activists do not really represent the entire community.

A public hearing was held last month at South Ocean Avenue Middle School with people on both sides of the issue well represented. We, the developer, had our attorney, architect, site engineer, landscape architect, traffic expert and community relations firm all in attendance to help present a revised site plan for the property, which addressed many of the local residents’ initial concerns. The new plan featured a 50-unit upscale apartment, complex complete with a rooftop gathering spot and various other amenities, all tastefully appointed and in keeping with the local architectural character. This was in stark contrast to the 74-unit plan originally submitted last fall—a downsize in units by over 30 percent.

Still, many of the residents in attendance spoke out against the proposed project, stating various concerns ranging from negative impacts on the coastal environment to increased traffic and parking issues in the neighborhood. So, let’s address some of the issues that the neighbors are most concerned about.

Regarding the environment, the developer has modified the landscape design to include only indigenous plantings to be more sustainable and conscientious. The marina will implement best management practices and is not full service. No fueling or boat maintenance services will be offered and stormwater will be contained on-site.

When it comes to traffic and parking, it will have only a negligible impact to the area. The proposed residences are the least intrusive use of all allowable options for the zone in question. Residential use also requires the smallest use ratio for parking during peak times as compared to other proposed uses.

As for the aesthetics of the neighborhood, the proposed Cornerstone development has gone to great lengths to accommodate public concerns over the appropriateness of the final design. Every aspect—from the overall building height, to the landscaping, to the inclusion of a publicly accessible promenade at the end of Mulford Street—has been taken into consideration. The result is completely appropriate and fitting for the coastal charm of the waterfront area.

Some in the audience at the hearing were suggesting that the privately owned land remain the way it is—an empty industrial lot. This is not an option. A development that will bring residences, be a vibrant part of the community, bring in tax dollars (500 percent more in taxes than what is currently being paid) and revitalize an area that has sat empty is the right choice for Patchogue.

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