Westbury officials have detailed their rezoning plan to transform a degraded industrial zone north of the Long Island Rail Road station into a transit-oriented neighborhood.
Village officials told nearly 100 residents who filled a Village Hall auditorium on Thursday that the rezoning would help bolster businesses along Post Avenue, the village's main thoroughfare, expand the tax base and keep the community sustainable in the long run.
“The idea here is not to create a new downtown,” Mayor Peter Cavallaro said. “The idea is really to create a new center of energy, which will continue to feed and make Post Avenue healthy and keep it healthy, and thereby keep the community healthy.”
The proposed plan calls for rezoning 50 acres of land north of the train station bounded by School Street and Union, Post and Maple avenues.
Village officials said it would pave the way for Westbury to develop more affordable housing, which would allow seniors to age in place and attract young professionals to Westbury — a crucial step to keep the village relevant and sustainable for future generations.
“You can’t put your head in the sand, and you can’t wish it was 1950 again,” Cavallaro said. “We are trying to look forward. And we are trying to … make our village sustainable and successful 50 years from now, not just 10 years from now.”
Anthony Mastroianni, a longtime resident and one of nine people who spoke at last week’s hearing, agreed with the mayor that zoning codes should be kept up to date.
“I consider this to be the greatest milestone for the village since its incorporation in 1932,” said Mastroianni, who immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1956. “That code was made to serve an agricultural community in 1932 when it was adopted. We have changed since 1932.”
The rezoning plan is one of seven projects funded by a $10 million state grant to revitalize Westbury’s downtown and one that village officials said they are “extremely excited” about.
“I’m excited. This is great for the village,” trustee Vincent Abbatiello said, noting the rezoning would help bring more people to the community who would in turn patronize downtown businesses and contribute to tax revenue.
The village board is expected to approve the zoning changes by the end of this year.
Comments on the rezoning plan will be accepted until Aug. 2 and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to The Village of Westbury, Attention: Village Clerk, 235 Lincoln Place, Westbury, NY 11590.