Potential Impacts Of Proposed 52-Unit Condo Development In Westhampton Beach Detailed - 27 East

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Potential Impacts Of Proposed 52-Unit Condo Development In Westhampton Beach Detailed

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An architect's rendering of the proposed Townes at Ketchaponack, with existing homes shown in the foreground.

An architect's rendering of the proposed Townes at Ketchaponack, with existing homes shown in the foreground.

Brendan J. OReilly on Jan 19, 2021

The developer proposing a new 52-unit condominium community in Westhampton Beach at the site of a former asphalt plant has dubbed the project “The Townes at Ketchaponack” and is pursuing a special exception permit from the Village Board to proceed. Toward that end, the developer has filed a draft environmental impact statement with the village, identifying and addressing a variety of concerns the project raises — among them being the proximity to Francis S. Gabreski Airport.

The 9.4-acre site is on the north side of Rogers Avenue and on the south side of the Long Island Rail Road tracks. The Suffolk County-owned airport is on the north side of the tracks, and, according to assistant airport manager Joshua Smith, planes landing on the main runway would fly just 70 to 100 feet above the roofs of the proposed 31-foot-tall townhouses.

Mr. Smith wrote in a September 2020 letter to the developer’s consultants that the condo site is 2,500 feet southwest of the main runway primarily used in summer months by large corporate jets and military aircraft and used year-round for “touch and go” takeoffs and landings for training flights.

“I currently receive complaints from residents living over a mile from the end of this runway,” Mr. Smith wrote. “At 2 miles away, the aircraft are approximately 400-500 feet above the ground and we receive complaints all summer long that the aircraft are too loud and too low.”

He added that light produced from landing corporate jets and military aircraft at night may line up with the proposed development.

Mr. Smith also pointed out that Federal Aviation Administration review is triggered for any construction more than 25 feet tall within 2,500 feet of a runway end.

“By constructing 52 homes in the approach to a runway, additional noise complaints and discontent by the homeowners will be generated for the airport and the Town,” Mr. Smith wrote, suggesting that soundproofing techniques be incorporated into the home construction and homeowners be advised in writing that their homes lie in the flight path to a runway.

According to the draft environmental impact statement dated November 2020, extra sound insulation and windows with a high sound transmission class will be used.

The developer is Rogers Associates LLC, a limited liability company that gives addresses in both Wantagh and Hicksville, the principals of which are Robert Behringer, James Haney III, Chris Haney and Keith Haney.

Rogers Associates LLC enlisted P.W. Grosser Consulting of Bohemia to prepare the draft environmental impact statement for the Westhampton Beach Village Planning Board.

According to the statement, while there are 52 units proposed, zoning allows for six units per acre on the site, or 56 units in total.

The plan calls for 11 townhouses, a pair of two-family homes, a 2,668-square-foot private community center, a 480-square-foot gazebo, a pool and a 7,500-square-foot tennis court. Of the 52 units, eight are one-bedroom units that would be set aside for affordable housing. The balance are market-rate units, including eight three-bedroom units and 36 two-bedroom units.

According to a market demand study in the application’s files, the 1,200-square-foot affordable units would sell for $349,000 each. The two-bedrooms, ranging from 1,995 to 2,208 square feet, would be $699,000 each, and the three-bedrooms, at 2,364 square feet, would be priced at $739,000. The total expected sales income is $33.87 million.

An onsite sewage treatment plant would serve the entire complex.

The parcel is in a multifamily zoning district but was zoned as industrial prior to 2003. Currently, 6.6 acres are paved with asphalt and the remainder is woodlands and brush. Two asphalt processing buildings there were razed in 2017 and 2018.

The application was filed with the Planning Board in August 2019. One year ago this month, the board declared, under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act, that the proposal will require a thorough review of its potential impacts. Specifically, the Planning Board identified “moderate to large impacts” to transportation and the character of the neighborhood when it comes to density and architectural scale.

The applicant was required to submit the draft environmental impact statement, outlining all of the impacts the project may have on the village, from environmental and economic concerns to traffic and parking.

Presently, the land yields $32,684 in annual tax revenue for all taxing districts. If the project is completed, the anticipated revenue is $420,783 annually, including $241,285 for Westhampton Beach School District and $115,210 for Westhampton Beach Village.

Alternatively, 18 single-family homes would yield $221,680 in taxes and a 36-unit condo project would yield $344,088.

The parcel is in the Aspatuck Creek and Quantuck Bay watersheds, so the draft environmental impact statement was required to address any impacts on the ground and surface water and propose a stormwater management system. The consulting firm found no significant adverse impacts to water resources.

VHB, an engineering consulting firm based in Hauppauge, prepared a traffic study on behalf of the developer and submitted the findings to the village on October 28 of last year. The study showed a negligible increase in traffic compared to leaving the site as is and no significant negative impacts on the adjacent roadway network or safety.

In September 2020, Kerrigan Country Realty, a real estate firm in the village, sent a letter to the Planning Board affirming that there is a need for more condo units “given the large demographic demand, the continuing strong economy and the challenge of both homebuyer affordability and availability.” Principal broker Denise Kerrigan Perfido wrote: “The interest level for the new condo development has been very strong. The demographic interest is showing that the typical consumer is in the 50-60 age bracket and looking for a second residence in a beach community without the expensive burden of maintaining a private residence.”

Ms. Perfido said there is also high interest among homeowners who wish to downsize but stay local and among locals in the 30 to 40 age bracket who want to stay but cannot find homes to purchase.

P.W. Grosser Consulting anticipates that the development will add nine to 10 school-aged children to the school district.

Responding to an inquiry from the consulting firm, Westhampton Beach Police Chief Trevor Gonce wrote in August 2020 that he does not anticipate the development and its 156 expected residents will have an adverse impact that would require additional demand for police protection services.

A preliminary construction schedule submitted in September 2020 called for mobilizing for the first phase in July 2021 and winding down the second and final phase in December 2022, though that is contingent on approval.

Public comment on the draft environmental impact statement will be accepted once the village deems the draft is complete and ready for public review.

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