Hempstead residents push on downtown plan

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The community benefits agreement for Hempstead Village's $2 billion downtown redevelopment plan has yet to be completed, village officials said Tuesday, and some residents said they are getting tired of waiting.

Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr. said last week that the goal was to have the community benefits agreement being negotiated by village officials and the project's developer completed by Tuesday. But at the village board meeting Tuesday night, village attorney Debra Urbano-DiSalvo said the "agreement has not been finalized."

About 100 village residents, workers, business owners and community activists attended the meeting, repeating their demands that the community benefits agreement create jobs for residents, provide income-tiered affordable housing, protect current small-business owners from potential displacement and incorporate contracts for local businesses.

"We should be recognized and represented in this community benefits agreement," said village resident Diane Goins, a member of New York Communities for Change.

The redevelopment plan, led by master developer Renaissance Downtowns along with UrbanAmerica Advisors, offers a combination of condominiums, co-ops and rental apartments accommodating various income levels. It also includes a hotel, shops, open spaces, parking and entertainment.

"We need full transparency," local restaurant owner Early Lyn Jr. said about the process of the development. "You will be held accountable if you don't do the right thing."

Developers and village officials have said the overlay zoning code approved in July mandates that the agreement be in place before any new building permits are issued.

"Not one site plan has been presented by the developer because we don't have a CBA," Urbano-DiSalvo said.

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