A plan to revitalize downtown Hicksville would rezone large areas around the Long Island Rail Road train station to create a walkable community with a mix of commercial and residential development.
"Downtown Hicksville is ready for a renaissance," Kathryn Eiseman, a planner and partner at Melville-based Nelson, Pope & Voorhis LLC said during a Dec. 8 hearing in Hicksville on the proposed rezoning. "This area is ripe for a transit-oriented development code to promote the type of mixed use that will bring vibrancy to this downtown, where people can walk safely, comfortably and have places where they want to linger."
The proposed rezoning is the latest step in a process that began more than a decade ago to transform Hicksville into a destination anchored by the LIRR station. The Oyster Bay Town Board is accepting public comment on the proposal until Jan. 7. In 2017, the town received a $10 million grant from New York State to design and implement projects to help foster a new downtown Hicksville.
Hicksville’s central business district radiates from the intersection of the LIRR station and state Routes 106 and 107. The rezoning proposal would divide and expand the downtown area into districts in a shape resembling a snow angel. Much of the area would fall under newly created zoning designations called Hicksville Downtown I, II and III while other areas would be rezoned as neighborhood business or general business.
The Central Business district zoning allows for commercial, retail business, restaurants, offices, personal services and apartments over commercial space. Building heights are capped at 60 feet and six stories.
The Hicksville Downtown I district would allow the same uses, but apartments could be built without being required to be over commercial spaces. Building heights would be permitted to be up to 50 feet and four stories.
It would also require setbacks for new buildings to create broader sidewalks. This district would be generally in the western and northern areas of the downtown, contain the LIRR station and be considered the core of the new downtown.
Another large area, designated as Hicksville Downtown II in the proposal, was dubbed a "transition district" that would cap building heights at three stories and allow for town houses to be built. The district is conceived as an entry point to the core downtown.
A smaller district, Hicksville Downtown III, would be East John Street, a single block between Broadway and Bay Avenue lined with small businesses and single-family homes. The rezoning would allow town houses to be built on this block.
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said at the hearing that if the rezoning is approved, new developments would still go through the town’s approval process.
"What it [the rezoning] does is it sets a pathway for that to take place, as any new project would still require approval, including a review of the environmental needs, water availability, sewage capacity, the impact on traffic flow and many other issues," Saladino said.