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Town moves ahead with downtown Baldwin redevelopment 

Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, center, is flanked by

Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, center, is flanked by council members Dorothy Goosby and Bruce Blakeman at Tuesday's meeting. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Hempstead accepted a study that said development proposed for downtown Baldwin would not have a negative environmental impact, which could clear the way for a $10 million revitalization.

Town Board members on Tuesday voted unanimously to accept the findings for the area known as the Baldwin Mixed-Use Zoning Overlay District, which includes 87 acres along the Grand Avenue corridor consisting of 179 tax lots.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $10 million state grant last year to redevelop downtown Baldwin that would pay for beautification projects and spur mixed-use development along Grand Avenue.

Hempstead Town officials passed the resolution completing the environmental review to follow state deadlines. The town’s deadline for applications from developers was due last Friday.

“We’re looking forward to the vision people gave the community and what the community wants,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin said. “This continues the process while working with the stakeholders to get the process flowing.”

The town is consulting with Manhattan-based VHB Engineering and Vision Long Island, a nonprofit that advocates for smart growth on Long Island, to facilitate private investments and economic development by promoting the region’s access to public transportation and apartments and businesses near the Baldwin LIRR station.

“I think this will stick,” Vision Long Island director Eric Alexander said. “What we see for Baldwin is asking for mixed use small businesses to thrive and the Main Street walkability they’ve been asking for on Grand Avenue.”

Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby said she was concerned about changes made in September to remove limits on density. She said former Supervisor Laura Gillen and former Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney did not consult her or other council members about changes.

“I wish we could have more time,” Goosby said. “This will ensure we will begin working on the necessary remedies and return density controls to the overlay zone.”

Councilman Chris Carini, who took office this month, abstained from the vote because he said he was not part of the initial process that created the Baldwin zone.

“Good luck Baldwin, I’ll be there with you,” Carini said.

The Town Board also approved a $942,000 cut to the supervisor’s budget and $650,000 for five hires in Clavin's executive staff, including former Oyster Bay Town Attorney Joseph Nocella as his chief of staff.

The town also voted 5-2 to award back pay to former communications director Donna Amendolara, who was transferred to the supervisor’s office for two weeks in December at a $160,000 salary. She was replaced by the board with Communications Director Greg Blower. Clavin and Carini voted against the measure.

Councilman Anthony D’Esposito abstained from a vote on a $9,750 raise for his sister-in-law, Danielle D’Esposito. The board approved her new salary of $73,600 as a clerk in the receiver of taxes office.