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Lynbrook apartment hearing postponed to Nov. 19

Developer announces open house for Oct. 22.

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For the second time in a week, a public hearing on a proposal to develop a luxury 200-unit apartment complex and a 400-space parking garage in downtown Lynbrook was postponed, though a community open house is also in the works.

Village officials had scheduled representatives of Farmingdale-based Terwilliger & Bartone Properties to present ideas and listen to public feedback at the Oct. 1 board meeting. Due to an error, however, not all businesses and residences within 200 feet of the proposed project were notified, and Mayor Alan Beach announced the weekend before the meeting that it would be pushed back to Oct. 15. Then, last week, Beach wrote a letter to developer Anthony Bartone, asking that the hearing be postponed until Nov. 19.

In the letter, dated Oct. 3, Beach asked Bartone to provide documentation on traffic, environmental and parking studies completed near the sites of the projects; all renderings of them; water table reports; a copy of the application to the county’s Industrial Development Agency for a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement that the company is requesting; and construction plans for the project. Beach also requested a copy of the regulations and requirements for units that would be designated as workforce housing — apartments with rents that are affordable for those making about $77,000 per year. Beach did not have the regulations, Bartone said, because the process is administered by a third party, in this case the nonprofit Long Island Housing Partnership.

“I would respectfully ask you to consider adjourning the Oct. 15 public hearing to Nov. 19 to allow a thorough review of the above documents,” Beach wrote. “Such an adjournment would also provide your company an opportunity to communicate directly with the Lynbrook community about this proposal.”

Terwilliger & Bartone has scheduled a community open house on Oct. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Elks Lodge No. 1 headquarters, at 57 Hempstead Ave. in Lynbrook to address residents.

The $75 million, 200-unit apartment complex, dubbed the Cornerstone at Lynbrook, would be built on the southwest corner of Earle Avenue and St. James Place, in the village’s downtown cultural arts district. In exchange for the board’s approval to build, Bartone said he would fund and construct a $10 million, 400-space parking garage at Broadway and Langdon Place.

The parking garage would be built first, on what is now Parking Field 3, a lot used mostly by Long Island Rail Road commuters. The apartments would be built on a two-acre parcel of land now occupied by Parking Field 8, used by employees of village businesses, and at 14 St. James Place, which is now a law office. According to Bartone, the parking garage would take six to eight months to complete, while construction of the apartments would take 18 months.

Village Attorney Tom Atkinson was one of the parties involved in the sale of the law office, and has recused himself from providing legal counsel for the project. The sale is not contingent on the board’s approval of the project.

The apartment complex would predominantly comprise studio and one-bedroom apartments, which, Bartone said, would preclude an influx of students into the school district. Rents would likely range from $2,400 to $3,800 per month, and the complex would be built atop its own parking garage, separate from the planned lot at Broadway and Langdon Place.

Many residents have anxiously anticipated the public hearing, but Beach said the delay would allow Bartone to be better prepared to answer questions, and offer him the chance to provide documentation along with his answers.

Residents attended the Sept. 17 and Oct. 1 village board meetings looking for answers to their questions about the project, ranging from the traffic it might create to why village officials had not solicited ideas from other developers about how to redevelop the land.

Beach asked residents to listen to Bartone’s plan when he comes to Village Hall. Beach told them he would not answer questions until after the presentation. He told the Herald that the Oct. 22 community event would be “open to everyone.”

Responding to a Herald Facebook inquiry, Robert Paskoff had questions about how the project might affect the school district. “How many of the units will be two-bedrooms, and who is currently paying school tax on the property now?” he asked.

Though he has asked for a PILOT agreement, Bartone said that the complex would generate $500,000 in tax revenue, to be divided among the school district, the county and the village. Resident Samantha Cohen asked how much of that revenue would be offset by the cost of additional students in the school district, and expressed other concerns.

“That is not taking into consideration how a 200-unit apartment building would change the dynamic of our village,” Cohen wrote. “You are adding at least 200 residents that have no real connection to our village. They are renters, they didn’t invest like homeowners.”

Many residents have also confused the workforce housing regulation for Section 8 housing, which offers rentals to those who make a smaller percentage of the median area income than residents of workforce housing.

At the Oct. 1 meeting, responding to questions about potential traffic issues, Jeff Greenfield, vice chairman of the Nassau County Planning Commission, who supports the project, said that two traffic studies — one on the site of the apartments and one focusing on the parking garage site — had concluded that problems would be minimal. Because he is also the vice president of the Lynbrook Chamber of Commerce, Greenfield added, he recused himself from the planning commission’s discussions of the project.