Patchogue Village applauded when Capital Management LLC (the O’Hara brothers) built owner-occupied housing units on South Ocean Avenue (Bay Village) to replace two large boarding houses that were blighting our community.
When they were elected on the Patchogue First platform, our Village Board had made a promise to Village residents that they would fight high density rental housing, and they kept their promise in this instance.
Even so, the developer on the site was given special permission by the Village of Patchogue to build more units than the village code permits. In return for this exception, the developer agreed to make a substantial contribution to the community by making much needed improvements to , an absolute gem of beautiful waterfront property that has tremendous but still unrealized potential.
In January of 2006, before the Village Planning Board, the developer promised to make improvements to the park in excess of $100,000. The Planning Board made it a condition of their approval of the plan that the developers make those improvements to the park in consultation with the Village Board. See Planning Board minutes and determination, dated January 17, 2006.
This past August 22, 2011, a village resident (Bruce Boerjes) asked Mayor Pontieri about the status of the improvements to the park which have yet to be made, more than four years later. Mr. Pontieri told the resident “that money will come through and I have been in constant contact with him (the developer).” He assured Mr. Boerjes that “the contractor did not walk away from the project.” Trustee Devlin also confirmed that “It is in the minutes of the Planning Board, as I sat on the Planning Board at that time and it was part of the grant.” See Village Board minutes dated August 22, 2011.
On November 28, 2011, I attended a Village Board meeting and inquired again about these improvements. The Mayor informed me that the developer was not obligated to make these improvements because the agreement “was never in writing.” He said the developer may build a $25,000 playground instead. This flies in the face of the planning board determination, and contradicts the Mayor and the developer’s previous representations. In effect, if the Mayor permits the developer to renege on its commitment, this constitutes a substantial gift to the developer.
Despite the fact that the developer never made improvements to our park, it was issued a Certificate of Occupancy for Bay Village, and was also issued a Certificate of Occupancy for its new project on the corner of Main Street and Potter (). The ribbon cutting for this project is on December 1, 2011.
The Mayor should direct the Village attorney to hold this developer to its commitment and to the conditions of the Planning Board approval. And he should make it clear to all developers that if they make a commitment to Village residents, they will be required to honor those commitments.