Tritec Real Estate’s developer and architects presented the proposal for a 456-unit apartment complex where the Touro College facility sits on Union Boulevard at the Nov. 26 meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Bay Shore at the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Public Library.
The audience of more than 200, however, expressed major concerns for the project, primarily the developer’s lack of communication with the Bay Shore School District. Tritec only reached out to the school district recently, despite beginning research on the Union Boulevard parcel in late 2018.
Several teachers and parents within the district spoke during the comment portion of the meeting. Bay Shore superintendent Joseph Bond was also in attendance and spoke against the proposal, primarily focusing his concern on the anticipated influx of students, if the apartments were to be built.
“You are talking about where kids go to school, people’s neighborhoods and where kids are educated,” said Bond, who expressed that the school district is currently opposed to the project. “Then, you have the business community. Many times those interests do not dovetail.”
Based on Tritec’s completed projects, the developer’s team concluded that the apartment complex would generate between 12 and 42 students, once filled. Bob Coughlan, the co-founder of Tritec and particular developer of this proposal, also conveyed that since the project would be tax-positive by $1 million, that money would safely compensate for the increase of students to the district.
Bond and other district officials pointed out that students receiving a typical education costs the school district approximately $25,000 per student. Bond refuted Coughlan’s claim that the $1 million would benefit the school district, citing the parameters of a 2 percent tax cap (or the CPI inflation rate, whichever is lower) on the annual budget.
“The tax cap would render any taxes paid by the developer moot,” Bond said, adding the point that the developer is participating under pilot parameters. “That renders the district responsible for absorbing any tax related to this project.”
Regarding the anticipated influx of students, Bond expressed concern that the developer’s estimate may not fold out as projected.
“What if their projections are not right?” Bond said, adding that the effects of a misunderstanding of this nature would have major consequences for the school district.
Mike Krieger, the president of the teacher’s association, said that the meeting was very frustrating and that the developer’s team did not answer key questions asked during the comment portion.
“That really exacerbated the situation,” Krieger said, adding that the developer has been negligent to the needs of the school district, which ultimately extends into the community. “They weren’t aware of the repercussions.”
Tritec’s presentation utilized comparison to its completed projects, including New Village at Patchogue and Ronkonkoma Hub, when considering size and density of the project and the overall benefit to the community.
Krieger and Bond both argued that Bay Shore is tough to compare with other hamlets and villages because of Bay Shore’s heightened emphasis on its schools, and going even further by saying that Bay Shore has unique qualities to its community.
“Comparing Bay Shore to another location is like comparing apples and oranges,” Bond said.
The large audience voiced other concerns for the project, including traffic concerns (especially near the railroad).
Tritec, Bay Shore School District and the teacher’s association have all expressed interest in a meeting with all parties behind closed doors. Bond said that he expects a meeting to occur between the school district and Tritec (at least those two parties) in the next two weeks.