RONKONKOMA - A major hurdle was cleared Monday in a plan to revitalize the commercial district around the Ronkonkoma train station.
The Brookhaven Town Planning Board voted unanimously to waive restrictions that would have blocked any development within a 12-acre portion of the Ronkonkoma Hub.
The $538 million project includes close to 1,500 apartments, plus retail and office space on close to 50 acres on the north side of the train station.
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While many residents and officials have voiced their support for the project, others say it may cripple their business. Gregory Mensch, owner of North Fork Express Bus, says if he does not agree to be bought by the developer, his business will be taken over through eminent domain.
"They haven't negotiated very fairly with us," Mensch told News 12. "It's going to be a long battle. We have property rights."
The board voted 6-0 to waive the restrictions. It also approved the first phase of the project, which includes 489 rental apartments as well as a sewage treatment pumping station. Construction is expected to take 10 years.