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Lawsuit Puts New Village Project on Hold

The approved $100 million plan for the Four Corners remains halted due to lawsuit filed by Patchogue business owners.

While a sign on the old Sweezy’s at the Four Corners still says ground will be broken on the New Village project this fall, that timeframe is now slipping away due to a pending lawsuit filed by local business owners.

“We want to get started; we would get started if the lawsuit was dropped,” said Rob Loscalzo, chief operating officer of Tritec Real Estate Company Inc.

Tritec's was in April for 291 apartments, 46,000 square feet of retail space and 18,000 square feet of office space to be placed at the Four Corners intersection in Patchogue Village.

Loscalzo said that the lawsuit was regarding parking, but stated that a report from a third party consultant given to the Business Improvement District, the village trustees and Mayor Paul Pontieri said that the project has an excess of parking spaces at full capacity.

Pontieri said that the suit was filed by a number of local businesses owners, including the , , and Elisabeth McGuire, the wife of Village judge Christopher McGuire.

A plantiff in court filings in Suffolk County Supreme Court is listed as "67 WEST MAIN ST. LLC." That's the address of the BrickHouse Brewery.

In March, before the Village Board the project by a 4-3 margin, Thomas Keegan, co-owner of the brewery, spoke about parking concerns in front of the .

“We are a little tight on parking right now,” he said. “If we have to wait two more years, the economy’s gonna turn around someday, then maybe the hotel comes and that’s what’s when we spend $20 million to build the parking facility that we need.”

A 111-room hotel for the site was scrapped from the original plans in face of a sluggish economy.

The mayor told Patch Thursday that those behind the lawsuit are fighting against a public that supports the project.

“There are five people in the Village that have made a determination (of what) the majority of people want, (but) they don’t,” Pontieri said.

Pontieri said that the suit that is being held up is actually the second of two filed by the group, the first of which was dismissed. But a judge's decision on the second is still pending.

Pontieri said he believes the Village should prevail against the lawsuit, but he emphasized a need to move forward.

“It’s a $100 million investment in this community, it’s about jobs, it’s about property taxes, it’s about taking away a blighted corner," the mayor said of the northwest corner of North Ocean Avenue and West Main Street. "That corner’s been a blight now for 11 years, can’t go any longer on this."

Loscalzo was particularly upset that the project is at a standstill.

“I cannot believe that Mayor Pontieri, what he’s had to go through....This is a witchhunt, and I want to know why, why are we so afraid to stand up for people that are doing the right thing, and not have the courage to call someone out that we feel is not doing the right thing,” Loscalzo said.

Loscalzo said he questioned what the endgame is for the group that filed the lawsuits.

“Do they have another plan, do they not realize that we own the property, if this deal doesn’t go through, what is their plan?," he said. "Are they planning on indebting property and taking it from us...then what happens to the Village of Patchogue, what happens to all of the businesses who recently, since I have been involved that have told me we are excited about this moving forward...what are you going to tell them if it doesn’t go through?"

Kevin Brosnahan, an attorney for those behind the lawsuits, said that the motion is submitted, but would not comment further to Patch about it.

According to the Aug. 4 edition of The Long Island Advance, the two lawsuits raised challenged the Zoning Board of Appeals on the length of a parking spot, and the second addressed procedural issues in the New York State Environmental Quality Act, the adoption of the zoning code and whether the project involves illegal spot zoning.

In the meantime, as fall becomes winter, a vacant Sweezy’s building remains standing at the Four Corners intersection.

1 December 21, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Part 2 to 1 below Is this not a possibility and is it worth the risk? This is, and always has been, my question but it has not been answered. The answer I keep reading is that this is our only hope. It is not. I do not agree that the building as it stands now is hurting the revitalization in any way. It is not the eyesore that you think it is. People do not look at it anymore, there are too many other great things to look at when visiting our downtown. What's great is that we all care and all are sharing our own opinions as opposed to some of our puppets now on the board that are beholding to others.
Bob December 21, 2011 at 09:19 PM
Anyone who is in the construction industry knows the real reason why this project has stalled. Concerned business owner you should know that this project originally included owner occupied units but they went the way of the hotel. Talk to anyone in the biz. This is never happening.
Bob December 22, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Mr. D'ambrosio, I understand you may have a lot to gain from this project but you should know it probably ain't happening.
Concerned business owner December 22, 2011 at 04:02 AM
Bob, As the housing boom burst and lending has followed suit it has been hard to sell owner occupied housing (condo's and Townhomes) however in amazement a decent amount have sold....excluding the ones that overlook the village dump. I am hopeful that the Riverwalk will achieve similar success. I assume that Tritec has already researched the ability to build Condos on the site and offer a substantial amount as Work Force Housing or affordable(not low income) housing that could offer a opportunity for young families provide a home to raise a family and shop, and play. I know Copper village had to have an allotted amount of work force housing units that were sold at a discount rate and I believe that project was successful for the developer. At the end of the day there will probably never be the perfect fit for that corner, but if everybody worked together with the same goals in mind instead of fighting each other something good could come of this eyesore. I have seen this cat and mouse game before and it hasn't worked out so well for the citizens of a great land.... (anybody want to take a guess). I’m thinking of debt ceilings and current payroll tax cuts. The end results is AA credit rating and 10% unemployment.
Patch Resident December 22, 2011 at 05:04 PM
There is clearly not enough parking in the Village already. In the summer months you can drive around for half an hour and hope someone pulls out. We presently have a parking problem with a restaurant down by the water. The building was purchased with no consideration as to how the hundreds of vehicles arriving for weddings and alike would find parking,This lack of foresight has disrupted the lives of the surrounding residents. Even now several years later there is no solution. It is a nightmare. I think there is a legitimate concern regarding the lack of parking in the Village. And until the builder can adequately address that issue the project should not go forward. It is one thing for people to come to a restaurant to eat and leave it is another to have a minimum of two cars per apartment that will remain parked on our residential streets over night and all weekend. We are talking about a minimum of 582 vehicles that will be strewn throughout the surrounding residential community, Until a viable solution can be agreed upon by the Mayor, Trustees and Residents this project should not move forward.

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