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Hempstead Village appoints 3 new members to town IDA board

Hempstead Village Hall is seen on Thursday, Feb.

Hempstead Village Hall is seen on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Hempstead Village board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint three new members to the Hempstead Town Industrial Development Agency.

Hempstead Village residents Karla Guerra, Franz Nicolas and Reginald Lucas are now able to vote with the IDA board on projects in the village. They join Stacey Hargraves, the village assessor, a holdover appointment from the previous mayor’s administration.

Guerra is a Garden City attorney, Lucas is the president of the Hempstead Coordinating Council of Civics Association, and Nicolas is a retired engineer. They replace former Mayor Wayne Hall Sr., former deputy Mayor Luis Figueroa and Alan Heuson, president of the Ingraham Estates Civic Association.

The boards of trustees in Freeport Village and Hempstead Village are allowed to appoint village members to the IDA board under state law. The appointees are to be at least one member of the village’s governing body and at least three “at-large members drawn from a cross-section of the village community.” They are not paid. Freeport has no plans to change its IDA appointees, a spokesman said.

The Hempstead Village appointments come after a contentious March municipal election in which the downtown revitalization — and the tax breaks the IDA granted to developers — was a major issue. Hempstead’s new mayor, Don Ryan, wants to see more commercial and light industry as part of the downtown’s redevelopment, instead of more apartments. Ryan filed a lawsuit when he was a village trustee challenging $33 million in tax breaks for a proposed apartment complex; a judge struck down the lawsuit in January.

Trustee Charles Renfroe led the effort to choose the new IDA members. Renfroe had been appointed to the IDA board by Hall, the former mayor, in 2016 but said he was taken off it when he voted against a project.

Renfroe said the new administration wants to see projects that will bring “jobs that lead to careers. Construction is fine, but they only last a couple of years and then the work is gone.”

“I think that they are all duly qualified,” Renfroe said of the new appointees. “Whatever happens, it will affect our community and our residents . . . I think they will be able to tell us what it is that they like and they don’t like about the projects. We are not looking for 900 apartment units here in Hempstead.”

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