Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilman Fred Pollack announced that the Town Board has approved legislation to regulate "Big Box" commercial development in North Hempstead. The legislation, which passed unanimously, imposes additional restrictions on certain new commercial development of 85,000 square feet or more.
"This legislation would protect against the hidden costs of these huge developments, such as traffic congestion, air pollution, and the impact on locally-owned businesses," said Supervisor Kaiman. "There is a growing trend in communities across the country toward the development of large retail, or 'Big Box' commercial buildings and we need to have measures in place to allow for proper planning."
The legislation amends the town's zoning code to provide that any new commercial development of 85,000 square feet or more would be required to obtain a special use permit authorized by the town board; would require a minimum development site of three acres to properly accommodate specifically tailored parking requirements, loading areas, increased setbacks, landscaping, and other site features; and would require that specific development and design standards are met to properly address the impacts of large scale commercial developments.
"This measure will give the town more direct control over the planning and construction of these enormous structures," added Councilman Pollack. "As a town, we need to ensure that all planning decisions factor in the character and concerns of our communities."
Under the previous town zoning code regulations, "Big-Box" commercial development could have been built within commercial and industrial zoned unincorporated areas of the town where retail use is permitted. Those developments would have had no additional review process or design standards beyond those that are presently required for other retail commercial uses that are much smaller in scale and operation.