Farmingdale plan is 3 parking spots shy of approval, mayor says
The developer behind the latest proposal for Farmingdale’s bustling downtown hasn’t resolved a parking issue ahead of a public hearing scheduled for Monday, Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said.
Hauppauge-based Staller Associates Inc. wants to build a 54-unit apartment building with commercial storefronts on Main Street. The $18 million project requires village board approval because it adds residential development in downtown area, would be denser and taller than allowed under the village code, and doesn’t provide enough parking as required.
The plan for The Loft at 333 Main St. would create parking for the three-and-a-half-floor development with residences on the upper floors.
Plans submitted to the village would create 87 parking spaces for the apartments, but the village code requires 90 spaces be provided. The proposal is “three spots short,” Ekstrand said of the parking. He noted the village routinely approves exceptions for commercial parking but doesn’t grant exceptions for on-premise parking requirements for apartments.
Instead, “you would have to scale down the size of your project,” Ekstrand said.
That could be achieved by reducing the total number of apartments or by reducing the number of two-bedroom units and increasing the number of one-bedroom units, Eckstrand said. The plan calls for 27 one-bedroom apartments and an equal number of two-bedroom units.
Staller representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Former Farmingdale Mayor George Starkie, 60, who owns Starkie Bros. Garden Center on Main Street, said the parking is problematic but so are the project’s proposed density and height.
“It’s going next to an historic building, our village hall,” Starkie said. “It’s going to dwarf anything else on that side of the village.”
The village code allows building in the central area of its downtown mixed-use zone — where The Loft development would be located — to have a maximum height of 36 feet, 40 units-per-acre density, and a floor area ratio of 1.5. Floor area ratio is the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the property. The village board may permit development that exceeds those requirements. Staller’s proposal calls for a 43.5-foot-tall building, 60 units-per-acre density and a floor area ratio of 1.97.
Ekstrand said the additional height, density and floor area ratio were not a problem since the board has approved them for other projects that have added more than 250 units of housing to the downtown and train station area since 2012.
“We’ve given relief to all the other developers on every single item [Staller is] asking for except for residential parking,” Ekstrand said.
Starkie said the series of exceptions granted to recent developers wasn’t what they had in mind when they created the master plan and that the denser, larger buildings were envisioned as being around the Long Island Rail Road station, not next to village hall.