Port Jeff Planning Board Gives Conifer the Go-Ahead

Port Jeff’s latest apartment complex has the green light to proceed.

The Port Jefferson planning board unanimously agreed to conditionally approve site plans for Port Jefferson Crossing, a new apartment complex developed by regional affordable housing developer Conifer Realty just north of the Port Jeff railroad station along Main Street.

Jen Sigler, PJ village site plan reviewer, showed off the new renderings in the planning board’s Sept. 17 meeting, where designs have changed somewhat from their original June, July and August presentations. Gone are the red facades on the easternmost portion of the planned building, and overall the color is more continuous. The structure will have one type of external brick and windowed element on the first floor facing Main Street, and a second structure that is connected internally strikes out into the sidewalk slightly with so-called “bump outs.” The bottom brick portion on the eastern-most structure has changed to a grey color as well.

Some planning board members still felt lukewarm about some facade changes. Planning board member Laura Zimmerman was especially miffed, saying that the developer’s incremental changes have not done enough to change the overall cold and barren look of the building toward the southeast corner.

“This is a building that’s going to be there for 50 years, or however long it’s going to last,” Zimmerman said.

Kenneth Garvin, an architect for the developer, suggested they could add more character to the southeast tower on the wraparound.

Current plans cite the three-story complex will have 45 units in total, 37 one-bedroom apartments and eight two-bedroom apartments. The complex will also offer over 3,100 square feet of retail space. There are plans for a covered parking garage of 48 stalls for residents, a community room, laundry facilities and a gym.

The board has also asked that the developer give the planning board greater detail and a better price-by-price point for specific costs on the project, though they did approve the developer’s bond amount at the estimated $1,177,947. The board will need to amend the application approval at a later date figure if additional budgetary details are later considered.

The developer had originally asked for a waiver on a payment in lieu of parking and a parkland fee, but the planning board has kicked the decision over to the board of trustees who will make that determination.

Alison LaPointe, the special village attorney for the Building and Planning Department, said the normal PILOP fee is set at $4,000 per space in the C-2 district thanks to a village resolution in 2018, though the parkland fee is set on a case-by-case basis.

“It is common procedure for the planning board to request a proposed fee amount from the applicant and then upon review the planning board either asks for adjustments to the amount or approves,” she clarified in an email.

Once the number is approved the owner then has to secure bond documents, which are then reviewed by the village attorney, where upon approval the bond documents are executed.

Mayor Margot Garant confirmed in the village board’s Sept. 21 meeting that the board and developer would need to discuss a recreation fee in short order, which depends on the number of apartments and scope of the overall project.

The village still has to work with PSEG on the location of a utility box and utility lines. Port Jefferson has worked with the developer in establishing the creation of Station Street, which is planned to be a one-way road that provides entry to the adjacent parking lots just north of the train station parking lot and just before the initial footprint for the proposed development.

LaPointe said the costs for Station Street are being shared between the village and developer. The Villages portion of Station street is funded with Restore NY grant funds at a 50-50 match. Certain contributions such as curbing from the applicant are to be partially financed by a state grant received in 2016.