Developer: Cornerstone Patchogue Plan Environmentally Progressive
The article below was Published May 18, 2021 by Jacqueline Sweet in Patch.
The conditionally-approved apartment complex will use native plants to help remediate the Patchogue Riverfront space.
PATCHOGUE, NY—The Cornerstone Waterfront at Patchogue is a four-story apartment complex that's been given conditional approval from the Patchogue Village Planning Board after some local opposition from residents and board members which led to plan revisions. The Long Island based development group Terwilliger & Bartone Properties has been working with a local environmental consulting firm to plan ecological restoration of the site, and create what the firm tells Patch they hope will be a model for environmentally-progressive development on Long Island.
The waterfront complex will put 50 units on an industrial-zoned vacant lot previously used as a boatyard on the Patchogue River, at the end of Mulford St. Although much of the community opposition concerns center around issues of neighborhood congestion and traffic, stormwater runoff and flooding issues were also concerns raised by Patchogue Village and residents.
Anthony Bartone of Terwilliger & Bartone Properties and Frank Piccininni, cofounder and partner of SMPIL Consulting, told Patch that their ecological restoration approach addresses these issues. The plan calls for planting of native plants to restore an "ecological community" instead of using the standard concept of "landscaping," Piccininni explained.
Bioswales are also part of the plan: bioswales are channels that using vegetation to clean stormwater runoff.
"It's cleaner water for the river and improves drainage."
Piccininni is a long-time advocate for Long Island environmental issues and is the Director of Habitat Restoration at nonprofit Save the Great South Bay. He told Patch that rather than oppose all local development like he did in his idealistic younger years, he's come to embrace working with developers who incorporate environmental values into their planning.
"Anthony and Fran [Terwilliger] have really embraced it," he said. "We all need places to live—I realized it's way more productive to work with developers."
Bartone agrees that an environmental approach was at the forefront of the planning for Cornerstone.
"We weren't just looking at this as a cookie-cutter development. That's why we brought in Frank and his team. Right now it's a parking lot for cars and boats," and the contaminants from the boat operations will need to eventually be remediated for any use of the space, he said.
"It's covered in invasive species and is an ecological dead zone," Piccinnini added.
The new approach was a bit of a learning curve for the landscape architects, Bartone said, but ultimately worth it.
"There's a noteworthy amount of green space, a waterfront 'pocket park,' permeable paver sidewalks."
As for why the developers were open to a progressive approach, Bartone says it just made sense.
"Frank approached us with suggestions that were reasonable. We thought why would we not do this? We all live here, we have one planet so we have to do this intelligently. If we don't embrace these principles what kind of legacy are we leaving our grandchildren?"
The most recent proposal was approved as a special use permit by the planning board on April 14, with certain conditions including the removal of a two-story parking garage and an independent review of the stormwater management plan.