The Southold Town Board will likely hear a presentation this August from developers looking to build a 36-unit community housing complex on the Main Road in Cutchogue.
After several recent hotly contested housing proposals in Cutchogue and neighboring Peconic, Southold Town recently formed a vetting committee to ensure proposals for affordable housing meet with the town’s goals before applicants begin the review process.
Board members said at their July 18 meeting that the new proposal, from Cruz Brothers Construction of Hampton Bays, meets the criteria to be heard by the town’s review boards, and said they hope to bring the applicant in to present the plan at the town board’s Aug. 15 work session.
The property, 3.2 acres of undeveloped land at 29475 Main Road, is on the north side of the Main Road three parcels east of Depot Lane, just one lot to the east of Cutchogue’s Hamlet Center zone, but within its HALO zone. It’s bounded on the west by a commercial building containing a gym and a florist that is accessed on Depot Lane, and on the west by a private home and then Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm.
The town board would need to adopt an Affordable Housing Overlay District for the property in order for the developers to proceed with the project, which includes six apartment buildings with six 1 and 2-bedroom units in each, along with an office building and two storage buildings. A public hearing is required before that zoning change would be made.
Other recent housing proposals, on Depot Lane and Route 48 in Cutchogue, met with public pushback due to their distance from the center of the hamlet, while neighbors of another proposed development on Carroll Avenue in Peconic said they weren’t comfortable having a housing complex on their rural street.
In this proposal, buildings would be arranged on either side and at the end of a long entrance drive from the Main Road, and the apartments would range in size from 513 to 831 square feet, according to plans submitted to the town, which show two 2-bedroom apartments on either end of the buildings, with one 1-bedroom apartment sandwiched into the center of each floor of the buildings.
Project funding would come from Unifam Investment Partners, a Long Island company working to address the affordable housing crisis here, according to the construction company’s proposal.
In recommending the project to the town board for review, the town’s new Affordable Housing Review Committee said this privately funded venture is located within walking distance of amenities ranging from grocery stores, the post office, restaurants and shops to public transportation with a nearby Suffolk County Bus and Hampton Jitney stop.
The committee said the applicants also responded to their design feedback by adding defined outdoor spaces, interior storage in the apartments and in-unit laundry facilities, ultimately meeting 34.5 of their 39 review criteria.
Councilwoman Jill Doherty, who is one of three town board members who sit on the review committee, along with members of the town’s land use boards, said at the July 18 town board work session that the group “had a lot of questions and wanted changes, but we feel now that we have enough information to decide if this is a good fit for the town.”
She added that addressing the need for 3-bedroom apartments could happen during site plan review, where the town’s land use boards could address whether the central one-bedroom units are “too dark and closed off.”
“This is the first time we’re going through with this process,” said Ms. Doherty. “The next step is to decide if this is a viable location and if it’s something you’re willing to consider.”
Board members agreed to see if the developers can present the plan at the town board’s Aug. 15 work session.