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Babylon changes residential zoning code to control village development

Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino said the village has

Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino said the village has tried to keep "the character of the neighborhoods like they were. Unfortunately, sometimes, it's out of our hands." Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Babylon is making changes to a section of its residential zoning code in order to control dense development in the village.

In December 2018, the village placed a one-year moratorium on landowners subdividing large residential lots. The temporary ban applied to new applications for subdividing residential lots with parcels  starting at 11,000 square feet, in the A-11 district, which is the village's largest zoning category.

With that moratorium set to end, the village board of trustees last week voted  to permanently change the code so that the minimum lot area is increased to 13,000 square feet and the width enlarged from 100 to 125 feet.

Village attorney Gerard Glass said the move was an “upzone” of the district, making it harder for people looking to subdivide.

“They can always apply for a subdivision,” Glass said. “It’s just in areas where the character of the neighborhood is larger lots, it becomes more difficult to subdivide. And it makes a number of lots not eligible … whereas before, the village could not deny a subdivision to some of these lots.”

Residents have been complaining to village officials about subdivisions on Peninsula Drive and Cedar Lane, Glass said.

“Over the years, our board’s been very sensitive to trying to make sure the lots that are developed are not too small,” Mayor Ralph Scordino said. “We try to keep the character of the neighborhoods like they were. Unfortunately, sometimes, it’s out of our hands.”

At a public hearing on the changes before the vote, one resident voiced support but said it was “too little, too late” because of subdivisions already happening on his street. “I wish you had done this a year and a half ago,” he told Scordino.

“I wish I did, too,” the mayor responded, “but sometimes you can’t look backward, you have to look forward.” 

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