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Hempstead OKs apartments, town houses at Mitchel Field

The Hempstead Town Board voted Tuesday to approve a 204-unit residential complex on Mitchel Field in Uniondale, next to the site of the proposed Lighthouse Project.

Sources have told Newsday that the developer of the complex, AvalonBay, is a potential builder of the residential component of the Lighthouse Project.

The AvalonBay complex was approved by a 4-0 vote. Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Ed Ambrosino recused themselves because the project is represented by Rivkin Radler Llp, the law firm where Murray's sister works as an attorney, and because Ambrosino's law firm represents AvalonBay on another project. Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby was absent.

Maryland-based AvalonBay Communities applied in January 2008 to rezone the 11 acres to allow 44 three-bedroom town houses and 160 one- to three-bedroom apartments in buildings up to three stories high. The town houses would be for sale and the apartments would be rentals.

As part of the proposal, AvalonBay would buy part of the property, which is owned by the Navy, and renovate and sell 19 existing houses. The developer would also refurbish eight other homes on the site for wounded war veterans in coordination with the national Homes for Our Troops program.

The Navy would donate 23 acres to nearby Nassau Community College and the county.

The developer also agreed to give $1 million to the Uniondale School District to accommodate an anticipated 58 children from the complex.

At a public hearing in May, town board members peppered the developers with questions about the lack of outdoor recreational facilities for the children and the impact of living in a commercial area bordered by highways and an office building.

An AvalonBay official said a playground would be built.

Avalon vice president Matthew Whalen said, "We look forward to moving the project forward to the next step for approvals on the building permits" and adding "to the housing options for our young people."

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