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Hempstead Village approves study on century-old sewer system 

Developers want to buy property at Main and

Developers want to buy property at Main and Bedell streets in Hempstead Village to build apartments.   Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Hempstead Village Board members unanimously approved a sweeping water and sewer study of the village’s infrastructure, which officials and developers say is essential for planning future development.

Board members commissioned the report to study the village’s century-old sewer system and what needs to be upgraded to accommodate future development as well as how redeveloping downtown would affect the entire village.

"No project, whether it is commercial, mixed-use, or residential, may move forward in the Village of Hempstead without the necessary water and sewer availability that will not negatively impact our current residents," the resolution introduced by trustee Waylyn Hobbs states.

Hobbs said the resolution was a proactive step before the village approves development projects. He said previous studies only focused on downtown development.

"Before any development can take place, we need an entire study of water and sewer and we can’t do it patchwork," Hobbs said. "Any development will have an effect for the rest of the village. Based on the information we have, it is a very old system. The only way to tell what improvements we need to do is a study and we’ll know how bad it is."

It is the third study commissioned by the village since officials adopted a 2008 downtown redevelopment plan to create a walkable, mixed-use downtown to attract residents and businesses and stimulate the village economy.

But development on several projects has stalled since the village transferred 14 vacant properties and parking lots to Plainview developer Renaissance Downtowns in exchange for an $8 million community development agreement.

Developers of two properties who are seeking to develop and acquire properties from Renaissance at Main and Bedell streets say new sewage improvements, and the village’s commitment to tax breaks, is vital to adding mixed-use apartments.

Copiague-based Conifer Realty, which is proposing 228 affordable apartments and 25,000 square feet of commercial space, has said it cannot build without sewer improvements. Conifer Realty has committed $1.5 million in sewer improvements.

A neighboring property, planned by Medford-based Concern for Independent Living, is proposing 96 units of affordable housing, with a preference for veterans.

"I’m thankful they took further action on the sewer and water infrastructure needed for development and existing residents," said Conifer vice president Sam Leone. "But I’m frustrated in the same vain. We can’t predict when the state will change its mind" on promised aid for sewer work. "We’re in a danger zone."

Hempstead Mayor Don Ryan, who was elected campaigning against the Renaissance downtown redevelopment project and development that would not add jobs, said he still opposes the apartment projects.

"The goal is get a water and sewer study and be selective on developing businesses," Ryan said.

Nassau County completed a $22 million project in 2016 to add a new sewage pump station to divert sewage and stormwater overflow from Hempstead Village, Baldwin and East Meadow.

The new pump station, designed after storm flooding during Superstorm Sandy in 2012, will transfer about half of the village’s wastewater, up to 12 million gallons per day. But new sewage lines still need to be connected to the pump station.

The village has a commitment of at least $5 million from the state for sewer improvements.

Hempstead Village sewer study

  • Study of development impact on entire village water and sewer system
  • Pledged $5 million state grant, plus developer commitments
  • Sewage lines needed to connect to Nassau County pump station

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