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Village Trustees Approve Four Corners Development

Final decision pending approval of a parking variance by the Zoning Board of Appeals next week.

Patchogue is set for a makeover as village trustees approved a massive development project Thursday night meant to turn the vacated Swezey’s department store into a 21st century mixed-use oasis.

The so-called passed by a 4-3 vote at a special .

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) must still approve a parking variance for the redevelopment project to move forward, but the divided vote was still a major win for TRITEC Real Estate Company.

Tritec plans to construct 291 apartments, along with more than 46,000 square feet of retail space and 18,000 square feet of office space in the Four Corners section of the village. The project, at a reported cost of $100 million, will also include a parking garage with more than 500 spaces.  

"I don’t know if waiting here for 10 years is what we want to do and that’s what I wrestle with," Mayor Paul Pontieri when asked if any alternatives had been considered for the site. "I don’t know whether we can wait and that’s where I struggle."

Pontieri and trustees Jack Krieger, Lori Devlin and Joseph Keyes voted in favor of the project. Trustees Gerard Crean, William Hilton and Deputy Mayor Stephen McGiff voted in opposition.

Because Tritec needs to seek a variance from the ZBA for a 9-foot-by-18-foot parking spot that is used in the plans, Crean made a motion to postpone the village board decision until after the ZBA meets next Wednesday.  

“If we continue this evening, we will not be the last and final word on the application,” Crean said.  “At this particular point in time without the zoning board opinion on this I think it is premature and would in effect leave the ultimate and final decision to their board.”

Should the ZBA deny the variance, the process would have to restart anyway, McGiff said. However when put to a vote, the motion was denied, 4-3, as the approval could be given by the board pending the next decision.

During closing comments before the board’s final vote, McGiff voiced his concerns.  

“High density, rental apartments do not work here,” McGiff said, referencing several existing apartment unit developments in the village. “I hope history proves me wrong.”

Hilton said that there are serious parking deficiencies in the project. He cited that several of the parking spots are placed in areas that are inadequate to turn. Hilton, a former member of the Planning Board and the ZBA,  added that the plan places parking spots on Lake Street, which is often used by the fire department.

“[Lake Street] is not wide enough for parking and for safe passage for an emergency vehicle,” Hilton said.

Krieger compared this decision to previous big decisions made by village boards in the past, which led to the creation of a park region near the Great South Bay.

“The impact that this project will have on the village is significant and we all know that,” Krieger said.

The original plan for Four Corners called for a mixed-use development that included a hotel, but Rob Loscalzo, Tritec's chief operating officer, told Patch in January that there is "no financing in hospitality right now."

“This was obviously an emotional decision,” Loscalzo said after Thursday's vote, adding that he was excited to get started on the project.

Approximately 40 people attended Thursday night’s meeting, with mixed reactions to the vote.

“We have to hope for the best,” resident Don Wachsmuth said of the project. “There are plenty of examples around that dictate we shouldn’t do what we are doing.”

Resident Joel Peck said he was hopeful that it would be a successful project, and that there are examples of similar projects that have worked in other areas.

Next Wednesday’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting will take place at Patchogue Village Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Krystle DiNicola contributed to this story.

ben romano March 11, 2011 at 01:44 PM
are you people kidding we have more housing that is disproportionate amount of rentals that are not even zoned to hold the rentals we shoulder that burden to long more than half of village housing is rentals wake and help the tax paying people from this tax burden
PatchawgFatGuy March 11, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Over-development is not progress. With so many homes sitting empty do we need such a large amount of rental apartments. Why not condominiums or a Co-op? As a home owner I feel that renters do not have as high a sense of community as people who have a stack in the future of the town they live in.
jared March 11, 2011 at 04:35 PM
well i'd rather have high density appaerments that are kept nice than a empty dept store that kids hang out on the roof of. This is better than nothing that area is embarrassing bring people by when one the way to the brick house or bbq. though i am still in favor of the six story hotel, that would have did wonders from the main street and I hope to see one in this area built in the future. Maybe across the street the old sweezys?
jared March 11, 2011 at 04:37 PM
let me clean my English up: This is better than nothing, that area is embarrassing to bring people by when one the way to the brick house or bbq. thumbs up to brickhouse, bbq, village idiot and public house for bring people down to the village on the weekends during the winter.
John Bogack March 11, 2011 at 08:09 PM
Well the plan has passed and the rentals are coming. It should be remembered though that this approval is not a hundred percent final. The Village Zoning Board must approve the parking plan for this site. At the Village Board meeting there was some pretty serious facts brought up by Trustee Hilton documenting that there are nearly a hundred spots that are questionable for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons: issues about some of the proposed parking interfering with fire safety access not just to the site but to the whole village. I supported the Tritec proposal and I still do but I also said that when approved it had to past muster with all the Village's codes Now it's up to the Zoning Board to make sure that Tritec lives up to its part of the bargain and delivers a project that is safe and doesn't negatively impact nearby business owners or the community as a whole. I think they will. They are smart enough to know that Tritec will not succeed if Patchogue Village fails and now they definitely have a hundred million at stake to remind them.
Patchogue March 12, 2011 at 01:00 PM
I live in Medford, but bought a house due to the Patchogue revitalization. This area has been seeing a great revitalization, the Davis Ferry Park Ferry Terminal being rebuilt, the lights and sidewalks down Main Street, the condos, the East Main St Theater being demolished, the new stores and signage on Main street, J&R's, the Tritec facade being redone on the building across from J&R's, the new YMCA, the new LA Fitness, the St. Joseph's new sports center on Sunrise Highway, etc. I hope this project works. If it works Patchogue will be the destination they have been striving for it to become. If is doesn't work, it could turn into a bad area. It is a boom or a bust. Craig Thomson
Christie March 14, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Well if you can't beat them then join them. If you can not sell your house then just rent it out.
Dennis Barone March 19, 2011 at 11:32 AM
Welcome to the hood... but change is comming.
John Bogack March 19, 2011 at 06:32 PM
While this plan has been approved in the main some parking issues remain. Tritec is now requesting zoning relief from the Village Zoning Board about the size of its required parking spaces. There is an article in the Patch about that meeting that took place earlier this week that offers some more detail about what happened at that meeting. I was there too. I found the meeting interesting and baffling at the same time. Mr. Sloane, attorney for Tritec turns out to be a bit of a muck raker. A survey of more than a thousand parking spaces in the Village undertaken by Tritec showed that more than 6 out of every ten spots in the village, including all the spots around Village hall itself are undersized. That assertion is still subject to double checking of course but Mr. Sloane used it as a justification for allowing Tritec to do the same with a couple of hundred of its proposed spots too. Then later a second plan was submitted that did not require a variance at all although those spots would not fit standard sizes too. But they would not be as small as the ones Tritec is now seeking a variance for and apparently legal sized. I objected to that line of thinking though: one illegality does not justify another in my mind. Tritec got a fair deal from the Village. Looking for more concessions simply wastes time and brings on more controversy. It's time Tritec looked to submitting one and only one plan that does conform to village rules, it says it wants to anyway, let it.
CCOP March 19, 2011 at 11:22 PM
I LIVE ON LAKE STREET AND WANT TO KNOW WHY THE VILLAGE IS ALLOWING TRITEC TO BUILD 291 RENTAL UNITS WITHOUT THE PROPER AMOUNT OF PARKING SPACES AS PER VILLAGE CODE. THE VILLAGE SHOULD CONDEMN THE SLUMLORD PROPERTIES ON LAKE ST. BETWEEN JENNINGS AVE. AND UNION AVE. AND BUILD A NEW FIRE HOUSE ON THESE PROPERTIES. THEN TRITEC SHOULD BUILD A FOUR TIER PARKING FACILITY AS PER THEIR ORIGINAL PLANS AND PLACE IT ON THE AREA WHERE THE EXISTING FIRE DEPT. NOW STANDS. THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL THEY CONFORM TO VILLAGE PARKING RULES/VILLAGE CODE. WHAT, IT WILL COST TOO MUCH MONEY? THE OWNER OF ONE OF THE SLUM HOUSES ON LAKE ST. WANTS OVER A MILLION DOLLARS FOR HIS OVERCROWDED DUMP. THE VILLAGE CONDEMNED BUSINESSES AND HOMES ON LAKE ST. / MAIN STREET TO BRING IN THE WASTEFUL BRESLIN PROJECT IN THE 80'S. HE NEVER PAID A DIME TO THE VILLAGE FOR THE SWEETHEART DEAL THAT HE GOT FROM THE VILLAGE AND IT WAS AN EYESORE FOR YEARS AFTER HE WALKED AWAY. TRITEC SHOULD CONFORM TO VILLAGE CODES AND ALSO NOT BE ABLE TO USE PUBLIC PARKING THAT WILL EFFECT LOCAL BUSINESSES WHO PATRONS UTILIZE THE EXISTING PARKING IN THE AREA. REMEMBER WHEN TRITEC WALKS AWAY WE WILL BE STUCK WITH THIS PROJECT FOR YEARS TO COME. BY THE WAY, I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE FIRST "LIVE AFTER FIVE" AFTER THIS PROJECT IS COMPLETED. I WILL CHARGE A SMALL FEE FOR ANYONE WHO NEEDS PARKING. LOL!
RICHARD March 20, 2011 at 12:02 AM
why did you delete my comment?
Christie March 20, 2011 at 05:54 AM
This community has always put the cart before the horse and this is a huge cart. Before this village goes and adds 29o apartments and 500 parking spaces it really needs to look at its traffic flow and the roads. Your two main roads into the village are two lanes. We already have traffic tie-ups on Main, North Ocean and the famous idiot circle. They should also look at the traffic flow to and from south of Main Street. And we must not forget that the Rose family is going to be adding there community to ours as well so that will be even more. The only thing I can say is 20 years ago my husband and I were thinking about moving but because we both loved this village and school district so much we chose to stay. I never thought that 20 years later I would be hating the day I was going to be living in a city and am looking foward to getting out of the place I once loved to call "Home." I think that one day years down the road when this village board has changed this community will regret the disions that it allowed this village board to make. I will say that I think 20 years ago this would not have been approved.
Dennis Barone March 20, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Because it was stupid !!!!!
good taste March 03, 2012 at 05:32 PM
This article was listed under "most popular" on Patch. It is a year old but I guess people are still reading it...as they should be. Mr. Pontieri's comment is the voice of resignation and defeat. He didn't like Tritec's plan, he said that he "struggled and wrestled" with it. When you know a plan is good you don't struggle and wrestle with it. In my opinion, Patchogue 2012 doesn't really think that 291 apartments is a good idea. If they can't fight Tritec, let Residents First have a go at it!!

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