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Hicksville post office redevelopment eyed

A plan to downsize the Hicksville post office is creating yet another redevelopment opportunity in the hamlet's heavily used transit hub.

Earlier this month, U.S. Postal Service officials told civic leaders they will sell their 123,734-square-foot building on West John Street - across from the Long Island Rail Road station - and open a much smaller office nearby. Once a regional mail processor, the 40-year-old building now operates simply as a municipal post office.

"It has more space than necessary," said USPS spokeswoman Krista Riemma.

The Postal Service is soliciting proposals from potential buyers. While no timetable for the sale or move was announced, the site's development potential has generated discussion.

"We'd be open to residential or commercial development," said Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, "but it would have to be consistent with the suburban lifestyle otherwise enjoyed in Hicksville."

While acknowledging it was too early to suggest specific uses, Venditto said he generally opposes high-density housing for that area.

"That's the message to developers," he said.

The town also will consider a plan to replace an asphalt plant near the postal building with housing containing about 350 senior and first-time home buyer units.

AvalonBay Communities, a large Long Island apartment developer, hasn't studied the post office site, but the company has identified Hicksville as a candidate for more rental properties.

"Hicksville needs higher-density housing," vice president Matthew Whalen said through a spokesman.

As Oyster Bay continues to work toward developing a larger Hicksville revitalization plan, Chamber of Commerce president Lionel Chitty said he'd like to see the hamlet become a place people don't just drive into and out of.

"If some kind of housing is here," he said, "people will stay, businesses will benefit and tax revenue will increase."

Greg Yatzyshyn, a Hicksville Community Council member, said any proposal must consider traffic and school enrollment impacts. "These things take a lot of thought," he said.

That's why the public process will play a critical role down the road, said Town Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia. "It has to come from the community," she said.

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