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Town Proposes Mixed Use Plan for Elmont

Proposal incorporates community vision and beautification priorities

A proposal on zoning changes for Elmont’s Hempstead Turnpike corridor was the hot topic at a recent Town board meeting, announced by Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilmen Ed Ambrosino and James Darcy. The proposal, which has been under development by town planners, has elicited community interest among residents who have supported the town’s revitalization efforts in downtown Elmont. In addition to previously released plan details focused around commercial development, Murray, along with Ambrosino and Darcy, recommended to the entire town board that the draft plan for Elmont’s Hempstead Turnpike corridor be modified to incorporate “mixed-use” development in some portion of the zone.

The proposed changes to the Hempstead Turnpike-Elmont (HT-E) Zoning District are aimed at furthering the revitalization of Elmont’s downtown, while stimulating the growth of businesses and reinvigorating the local economy. The proposal also encourages investment by the private sector, as a new zone would provide a blueprint for developers on types of development permitted and changes in allowable building heights and density.

The proposed plans incorporate features presented during Elmont’s visioning process, which included input from Hempstead Town officials, civic associations, community groups, religious organizations, school representatives and residents. What’s more, the inclusion of “mixed-use” development with residential apartments over retail stores in some portion of the zone will embrace a key “smart growth” priority and provide for new housing options for the community’s residents, especially young workers.

“Councilmen Ed Ambrosino, James Darcy and I are committed to zoning enhancements for the Hempstead Turnpike corridor in Elmont that will encourage meaningful development, reinvigorate the business community, encourage commercial investment and stimulate the economy,” stated Murray. “Additionally, I am pleased to announce that Councilmen Ambrosino and Darcy will join me in recommending to the entire town board that the draft plan for Elmont’s Hempstead Turnpike corridor be modified to incorporate ‘mixed-use’ development with residential apartments over retail stores in some portion of the zone.”

“This proposal continues an important dialogue with neighbors,” observed Ambrosino.” “I believe that this positive step embraces ‘smart growth’ principles, providing a foundation for a reinvigorated business district and offering needed housing options for the community.

I want to thank Supervisor Murray for promoting the inclusion of ‘mixed-use’ development in zoning changes for downtown Elmont.”

The town’s draft plan was designed to complement other community enhancement initiatives that Hempstead officials have undertaken and upcoming projects. Streetscape, beautification, replete with brick-paved walkways and Victorian streetlights, has been completed in the area around the Hempstead Turnpike-School Street-Elmont Road triangle.

Two more streetscape projects are on tap for Hempstead Turnpike. New affordable senior co-ops, the subject of a public-private partnership, are being occupied just south of the former Argo Movie Theatre. An urban renewal project focused at the former Argo Movie Theatre site is ongoing and Elmont neighbors have welcomed upgrades at Elmont Road Park and Hendrickson Avenue Park over recent years.

Councilman James Darcy noted, “Our town is taking important and positive steps to make Elmont an even better place to live, work and raise a family. We’ve added affordable senior homes near the heart of Elmont’s downtown, our government has continued beautifying main streets with brick-paved walkways and Victorian streetlights, and the former Argo Movie Theatre is the subject of a great urban renewal program. These efforts will complement progressive and dynamic zoning changes along Hempstead Turnpike.”

The zoning plan incorporates four sub-districts in the Hempstead Turnpike-Elmont Zoning District. The zoning district is located along the Hempstead Turnpike business corridor in Elmont, the community’s main hub for commerce and transportation.

Planners carefully crafted each sub-district, taking into account the character of the existing business and residential communities while also providing for development enhancements in each area:

The Neighborhood Center promotes a cosmopolitan lifestyle in the heart of the Elmont community. The pedestrian and transit friendly Neighborhood Center is located in two areas of the district: Plainfield Avenue/Elmont Road and Meacham Avenue sections of Hempstead Turnpike.

A mix of business uses in this sub-district includes larger and smaller shops combined with offices and restaurants. Providing for doubling of development density compared to existing zoning restrictions, the Neighborhood Center is geared toward pedestrians and transit users. Buildings could be constructed up to four stories and 60 feet with proper authorization.

The Gateway acts as the front door into the community. As a neighbor of Belmont Park, located at the western edge of the Hempstead Turnpike corridor off the Cross Island Parkway, the Gateway sub-district provides for a variety of new development options to complement the historical racetrack. Hotel, conference center, restaurant, retail trade and personal services are among the uses within the Gateway sub-district. Buildings in the Gateway can be constructed up to six stories and 75 feet. The Gateway does NOT include any of the “Belmont property.”

The Shopping Center Sub-District, located in two areas (east of Elmont Road/School Street on the north side of Hempstead Turnpike and south of Hempstead Turnpike, west of Meacham Avenue), enhances properties that house existing suburban-style shopping centers. Building limitations in the Shopping Center Sub-District are two stories and 30 feet.

The Highway Business Sub-District, situated along Hempstead Turnpike, complements strip commercial development throughout a majority of the corridor. In creating this zone, planners sought to maintain viable and successful businesses along Hempstead Turnpike while being sensitive to the surrounding residential neighborhoods. There are an array of business and organizational uses within this sub-district. Buildings are primarily limited to a height of two stories and 30 feet.

 “New zoning could transform a long-term vision into a reality for Elmont,” Murray said. “It would pave the way for a sustainable, successful future for businesses and residents in this great community. The increased density provided in certain areas of the proposed zone, increased building height regulations in some sections, the encouragement of walkable neighborhoods and our plan to propose ‘mixed-use’ development embraces smart-growth principles and will help facilitate a more vibrant and dynamic Elmont.”