Hempstead Town Board members will hold a public hearing next month to reconsider a zoning proposal that would permit more than 1,000 apartments to be built in North Lawrence and Inwood.
Board members and Lawrence Mayor Alex Edelman announced Tuesday they will hear supporters and opponents of the overlay zoning districts during the 7 p.m. Sept. 20 town meeting.
Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, who took office in 2020, said residents have recently come forward with concerns about increased traffic and overcrowding in the Five Towns.
Many residents said they were unaware of the project and the potential developments.
“These are real concerns about the quality of life, about the roadway, the population growth, about the ability of structures to handle what could take place,” Clavin said.
The town board, in April 2019, approved three zoning districts to be built on 73 acres, aimed at bringing transit-oriented housing near the Inwood and Lawrence LIRR stations.
The board voted unanimously, including then-Supervisor Laura Gillen, council members Anthony D’Esposito, Dennis Dunne, Dorothy Goosby and now Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.
The first zoning district is a transit-oriented development district, which includes the Nassau Expressway in the Five Towns and will allow up to five-story buildings with 60 units per acre built on 20 acres. The district, which varies in density, also would allow for single-family homes, apartments and mixed-use developments, including businesses and apartments.
The second district includes 19 acres along Lawrence Avenue and Doughty Boulevard to allow mixed-use development in two or three-story buildings and up to 450 apartments.
A third residential town house and row house district would allow single-family homes with attached dwellings and is limited to 15 units per acre.
None of the sites has been developed.
Some Lawrence village officials, who appeared with board members Tuesday, said they opposed the potential projects and planned a meeting with residents Tuesday night.
“We are getting crushed,” Lawrence trustee Paris Popack said. “It's an emergency safety concern and there’s no reason people should be sitting through traffic for two hours coming home.”
Edelman said residents of the Five Towns would not be able to handle the new developments.
“This potential construction is going to have a devastating effect on the entire area,” he said. “Not just traffic, but there are going to be environmental and parking issues. There’s no way we can allow this construction to go on without being heard."
Town officials held public forums about the zoning in April 2019.
Blakeman said they also sent letters at the time to surrounding communities about the town board’s vote and also met with stakeholders, including the school districts and villages of Cedarhurst and Lawrence, fire departments and the Inwood Civic Association.
Blakeman estimated at the time that 95% of residents supported it.