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Proposed project would bring 50 affordable rentals to Greenport

A 50-unit affordable rental project is in the works for a parcel on North Road in Greenport, Southold Town officials announced Tuesday.

An application for the multifamily apartment community, dubbed Vineyard View, will be submitted in January, town government liaison officer Denis Noncarrow said at a Town Board work session. It is a effort between the town, Conifer Realty LLC and the Community Development Corporation of Long Island.

The announcement comes at a time where lack of affordable housing for the local workforce has been a long-discussed issue in the town and Greenport Village. The village has worked with the town to get something going, Mr. Noncarrow said.

“We all know the history of housing in the town. We’ve had a real crisis. A lot of families are having a tough time,” Mr. Noncarrow said.

The proposed project features seven buildings that would include a total 14 one-bedroom, 22 two-bedroom and 14 three-bedroom apartments on a 17.2-acre site, which is just east of San Simeon. About seven acres of the site are buildable and there will be a buffer between the housing and wetland.

“Our core business is workforce and affordable housing,” Conifer Realty, LLC vice president Allen Handelman said.

Conifer has been working on Long Island for the past 15 years or so working primarily with the CDC and has developed almost 900 units, he said.

A funding application was submitted to New York State earlier this month, Mr. Handelman said.

The Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit, looks at how to collectively — between local governments, communities and other stakeholders — ensure economic stability and community development, president and CEO Gwen O’Shea said. One focus of CDCLI is to lend to developers to help “fill in the gaps” on projects.

The Rochester-based company is also the developer of Peconic Crossing, an affordable apartment project that will bring 45 rental units to Riverhead.

Southold Housing Advisory Commission chair Rona Smith said in talking to developers over the years, the committee has always looked for people “who would not only build this, but maintain it and service it.”

“The fact that Conifer has management capacity and is going to have a dedicated person, it means a lot to us because that’s the way we’re sure that a rental development is a success,” Ms. Smith said.

Building the apartments at the Greenport site would not require a zoning change, Supervisor Scott Russell noted. The parcel is located within a hamlet density zone.

The proposed units are rentals, as opposed to purchasable, because more people could be helped, and state and federal funding is available for rentals, Mr. Noncarrow said.

The selection process for renters will be a lottery, similar to that of the Cottages at Mattituck more than a decade ago, according to Mr. Noncarrow. People will be vetted through a background and credit check. There would also be a maximum income consideration depending on household size.

There will not be preference to Southold residents, Mr. Handelman said. Ms. Smith noted that the project will not be built with taxpayer dollars, but with funding acquired by CDCLI and the developer.

The town currently has an affordable housing registry and interested parties will be moved into the lottery, Mr. Noncarrow said.

As for timing for the project, an early projection puts construction starting in early 2019 after necessary approvals.

Town representatives met with local school officials and community members, such as business owners and civic groups, to discuss the project, Mr. Noncarrow said.

On Wednesday, people can further ask questions at an information session at the Peconic Lane community center from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to learn about the proposed development. Another session will be held Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

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Photo caption: Government liaison officer Denis Noncarrow shares details about the proposed Greenport site for 50 affordable rental units. (Credit: Kelly Zegers)