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Amityville LIRR station development proposal includes homes

Amityville Village trustee Nick LaLota at the Long

Amityville Village trustee Nick LaLota at the Long Island Rail Road station on Friday, May 13, 2016. LaLota is proposing a transit-oriented district to promote residential development in a mostly industrial area near the village's LIRR station. Credit: Steve Pfost

Amityville Village trustee Nick LaLota is proposing a transit-oriented district to promote residential development in a mostly industrial area near the village’s Long Island Rail Road station.

The proposal would let developers with property near the LIRR station build higher and denser, with fewer parking requirements. Under current village law, residential use is not permitted on industrial land. If the proposal is adopted, developers would provide community benefits such as open space and infrastructure improvements.

Similar zoning went into effect last year in downtown Copiague. According to Vision Long Island, an advocacy group that promotes redevelopment and open space preservation, 105 such transit-oriented projects totaling 12,000 units of housing have been approved on Long Island in the past decade, with another 20,000 units being planned. Here’s what you need to know:

Where would the new buildings go?

Redevelopment would be limited to lots of 2 acres or more located no more than 400 feet from the LIRR platform. About 10 properties meet those criteria. Among the largest is the headquarters for general contractor LandTek, which occupies a block at Green and Burch avenues. Management has expressed interest in a “high-end” rental project composed primarily of studios and one-bedroom apartments, LaLota said. A spokeswoman for the company did not return a call for comment last week. Another promising site is the headquarters for the village’s Department of Public Works, at 80 Sterling Place. Mayor James Wandell said in an interview that sale of village property could be considered. “Pretty much any good idea is on the table,” he said.

What are the details?

Under a draft of the proposal that LaLota circulated last week, buildings could fill up to 80 percent of the lots they occupy. Amenities could be traded for density, with terms set by the board of trustees. The highest density would be reserved for buildings 300 feet or less from the platform, with limits set at four stories and 48 units per acre. Zoning regulations currently limit multiple dwellings in most of the village to 12 units per acre, covering no more than 40 percent of the lot. The entire proposal is subject to New York State environmental impact review and village board approval.

What would the village gain?

Village officials are trying to grow the tax base and bring shoppers and retail businesses to Broadway, the village’s main thoroughfare a block east of the LIRR station.

“You’re trading industrial use for high-end residential use, and that is an upgrade for the village,” LaLota said. “I don’t know any residents who are begging to have a factory next to them.”

Is there interest in such a project?

Many of the Amityville’s new or planned multifamily projects are at or near capacity. Eric Alexander, Vision Long Island director, said that proximity to train tracks has been an asset in Farmingdale, Westbury and Valley Stream.

“There are people who want single-family homes, but there’s a significant minority that wants to live downtown, with close access to the train,” he said. “And they will pay for it.”

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