Farmingdale Main Street projects hinged on parking, mayor says

Farmingdale Village Hall on July 5, 2011. Farmingdale Village Hall on July 5, 2011. Photo Credit: Alexi Knock

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Farmingdale officials have approved one mixed-use project for Main Street but rejected another.

Approval for special-use permits needed for the projects hinged on parking, Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said.

The project that was approved at the board meeting Monday includes the renovation of 6,153 square feet of commercial space at 155 Main St., the demolition of a building behind it and the construction of a 14-unit apartment complex.

The apartment building would include two floors of apartments above a ground-level parking garage.

Village officials required owner Samuel Glass to provide 17 parking spaces for the 14 apartments but waived 14 of the required 15 commercial parking spaces and let him pay the village $5,000 for the one space.

The village regularly waives parking requirements for retail space because there are nearby municipal parking lots, Ekstrand said. "What we will not do is waive residential parking," he said.

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The board rejected a proposal for four apartments on two floors above a building at 205 Main St. The plan did not provide for additional parking for residents. "We said if you can reconfigure your building to provide parking, that's fine, but we are not going to allow building on Main Street and not have residential parking," Ekstrand said.

Owner Joe Bruzzese said village officials "told me at the very beginning parking is no issue."

He said he was surprised by the board's rejection but is "not going to give up."

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A letter to Bruzzese from the village building department on the village website said the board may waive five of six required parking spaces and allowed him to pay $5,000 for one space.

Ekstrand said the code is ambiguous about granting parking waivers for residential housing but said village boards historically have only given them to commercial projects.

Farmingdale has a number of construction projects in the works, including Jefferson Plaza, a mixed-used development on Secatogue Avenue that will have 154 apartments and 19,200 square feet of retail space. It is expected to be completed next year.A three-floor building with 26 residential units and 3,100 square feet of commercial space at 231-245 Main St. is also expected to be completed next year.

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