Developer Seeks Gap to Build Three-Story Rental Apartment Complex in Commack
A developer is looking for area deviations from Smithtown to build a 98-unit sister building for its Commack rental apartment complex, but neighbors say the project will cause noise and light pollution in their backyard.
A dozen homes on Astor Court sit south of TDG Realty’s 55-plus-year-old Fieldstone complex and the five-acre Jericho Turnpike Trailer City, a trailer and parts store site, where the developer is proposing a new three-story , 37 feet high building. TDG Realty based in Woodbury The acquisition sites are separated from the homes by a 30-foot treed buffer and a planted buffer of roughly the same width, but neighbors in an Oct. 25 Zoning Appeal Board hearing argued said the storms had thinned out the trees.
During this hearing, Ben Bonaventura compared the existing Fieldstone building to “Times Square at night” due to the lights he said were visible through the trees; he later told Newsday he was concerned that clearing the new site for construction would expose his backyard to the Jericho Turnpike and the new building’s parapet would rise above the treeline. His neighbour, Craig Krsanac, said the plantings already in place were so small he expected to be “dead and buried” before becoming an effective buffer zone.
TDG representatives said in documents filed with the city that there would be no “direct line of sight” between their proposed building and any of the neighboring homes, all of which are at least 100 feet away. They are asking for height and setback variances, as well as a variance that would allow them to increase the gross floor area from 25% to 41% of the lot. They argued that these deviations would allow them to preserve open spaces on the site and that similar requests granted for the first Fieldstone building had resulted in no “adverse impact on the surrounding neighborhood”.
TDG partner Paul Posillico told Newsday the company planted a mixture of nearly 90 trees to protect its first building and would do the same for the second. “You can’t plant mature trees,” he said, but the trees would be “of significant size” and include conifers to be protected through the winter.
Any construction is likely five to six months away, city planner Peter Hans told Newsday. The application is on hold while officials from the city’s Department of Environment and Waterways determine whether the project will require an environmental impact statement. Review of the site plan will follow.
Planners will review the proposal and the conditions of the existing project, he said. “If there are areas that need increased vegetation, we will definitely explore that,” and may even ask TDG to put new plantings in the forest.
Posillico said the housing market for those 55 and older is booming. TDG’s first project opened in June 2020 and was leased within months, he said. Rents for the new project, which will offer slightly larger apartments, would be around $3,300 for two bedrooms and $2,500 for one bedroom.
Bonaventura, who moved in 31 years ago, said he was resigned to another condo building and just wanted TDG to plant a thick buffer zone of trees to keep his backyard looking natural. . “I want them to honor their word,” he said.