In recent weeks, many questions have been asked
about the proposed Matinecock Court affordable housing development, and
specifically about the Town's role. Here are some facts about the
This is not a new project. In fact, the project was
first proposed more than 30 years ago, when Housing Help obtained an option to
buy the property and first sought to have the parcel rezoned to allow for
multi-family rental units to be built. Housing Help sought to build 210 rental
units on the site.
Many of the Town's actions have been the result of court orders
and settlements of court suits. As a result of a suit -- which was
filed in 1980, continued through the decade and went all the way to the U.S.
Supreme Court in 1988 -- the Town was ordered to rezone the property. In 1997,
Housing Help filed a second action, which charged that the Town and its
Community Development Agency took various actions to interfere with and block
the development. Pursuant to a U.S. District Court Judge's threat of contempt
and fines, in August 2000 the Town entered into a court-ordered settlement. The
Judge retained jurisdiction of the matter to ensure that all of the terms of the
settlement were carried out.
The Town resolved the matter for three reasons: to ensure that a proper
environmental review would occur; to ensure that the private developer would not
use money from fines and sanctions to finance the project; and to limit the
This is a private project. It is not sponsored by the
Town. The town did contribute $300,000 in federal community development
funds to assist in the planning process, but that was as a result of a court
settlement. The Town has also agreed as part of that settlement to express
support if Housing Help attempts to seek federal or state funds. While the
units, once built, will have to be sold and/or rented in compliance with fair
housing rules, Housing Help will be responsible for screening applicants for
family size, income, employment history, home ownership/rental history and
credit worthiness. It is expected that Housing Help will contract with a
professional management company to administer the application
A public comment session was held on the project. After
the initial application was made to the Planning Board in 1995, more than 400
people appeared at a public meeting to discuss the plans and submitted an
18-page report in opposition to the plans. The town asked Housing Help to
respond to all of the issues raised. Under the court-ordered settlement, a
second scoping session was not required.
Throughout the decades-long history of the project, the Town has
been sensitive to community concerns and has obtained significant changes in the
project in response to those concerns.
Among those changes were:
A reduction in the size of the
project to a maximum of 155 units.
A change from all rental to half
rental, half equity ownership
Creation of a community advisory
committee to address community concerns and to suggest changes. The committee,
formed in 2003, filed official comments on the draft environmental impact
statement and brought about changes in areas such as increasing road width, the
number of parking spaces and some setbacks and the inclusion of landscape
buffers around the perimeter..
The current plan calls for construction of 155
affordable units – 77 ownership, 77 rental plus a unit for the on-site manager
--a community center, a sewage treatment plant and approximately two parking
spaces per unit. The plan complies with Town Code affecting stormwater
Housing Help still needs to take some steps before the project can be
built. Housing Help must get approval from Suffolk County for the
sewage treatment plant and obtain its financing. As the project gets built, it
will have to be constructed in accordance with state and Town building codes.
Housing Help will be required to follow the environmental review and site plan
steps all residential developments must undergo.