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Downtown apartments eligible for $500,000 in sewer funds through county inclusion program

At a meeting Friday, county legislators on the Public Works, Transportation & Energy committee authorized $500,000 in sewer infrastructure funds to Georgica Green Ventures, the company currently constructing the new Riverview Lofts apartments in downtown Riverhead.

The funds would be appropriated through the county’s Sewer Infrastructure Pilot Program for inclusive housing, which was established in April 2019. As the $2 million fund was created, county lawmakers cited both the environmental need for sewer improvements and housing needs that exist for people with  intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Construction is underway on the Riverview Lofts, located at 221 East Main Street in Riverhead. When completed, the five-story building will feature 116 affordable housing units consisting of 31 studio apartments, 57 one-bedroom and 28 two-bedroom apartments offered at tenants with income limits ranging from 60% to 130% of the area’s median income.

The project is eligible for this county money because ten of those rental units will be designated for individuals with disabilities. The eligibility of its tenants will be determined by the state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, according to Friday’s resolution,.

Riverview Lofts will also include commercial space, part of which is set to be occupied by the Peconic County Brewing Co. later this fall.

“[The developers] are going to get $500,000 in sewer infrastructure money to guarantee that those units will always be available,” said Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue), who chairs the public works committee.

“It’s a difficult thing,” he said, for disabled adults seeking independent housing options. “There is a need for this sort of housing.”

The New York Housing Resource Center estimates that there are 25,425 adults in Suffolk County living with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Of those, 63% of them live with family caregivers— 25% of them with caregivers over the age of 60. 

The pilot program seeks to address the predicament many families must face: what happens to their disabled child when they are deceased.

The program dedicates $2 million in wastewater funding for community housing developments that permanently restrict units within the project to individuals eligible to receive services through the New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.

In order to qualify, the project must include non-certified housing, a more flexible alternative to the traditional group home setting. 

The Georgica Green application will now move forward for a vote before the full Suffolk County Legislature at their next general meeting scheduled for Oct. 6.