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Lindenhurst Village board approves downtown ‘floating zone’

Lindenhurst Village Hall on June 7, 2011.

Lindenhurst Village Hall on June 7, 2011. Credit: Alexi Knock

The Lindenhurst Village board of trustees on Tuesday night approved a controversial new zoning law.

The board voted unanimously to approve the “floating zone” legislation, known as the Downtown Redevelopment District. The zone can be applied geographically and sets parameters for proposed development that cannot be altered by a village zoning or planning board. Mayor Mike Lavorata said before the vote that the zone will give the board of trustees more control over development.

“Because it’s a legislative action, it provides us with the opportunity to change the requirements,” he said.

Developer Tritec Real Estate of East Setauket wants to build a 260-unit multifamily rental complex across from the Lindenhurst Long Island Rail Road station.

The company first made their plans public at a 2015 village meeting, but because the village has no multiresidential zoning other than for senior-citizen housing, the company had been unable to submit an application. The creation of a floating zone will allow Tritec to apply. It will also allow the village to move forward with grant applications that could bring in a significant amount of money and a comprehensive plan for downtown development, Lavorata said.

“We can’t even apply if we don’t have a law like this that shows we’re serious,” he said.

Unlike the public hearing on the zone earlier this month that brought out hundreds of residents — most in support — few spoke on the law Tuesday night. Those who did, however, expressed doubts and chastised the board for not making changes to the areas of concern raised by residents, such as the height, density and parking requirements in the floating zone. Buildings can be up to 53 feet tall, according to the proposed zone, with up to 37 units per acre, and the parking requirements range from 1.15 spaces for studio apartments to two spaces for three-bedroom units.

“More than one person was concerned about the height, more than one person was concerned about the amount, more than one person was concerned about the parking,” resident Terence Whelan said. “You heard us and you’re not doing what the voters of this village asked you to do.”

Lavorata defended going forward with the existing zone language by noting that the board will be carefully scrutinizing all development proposals.

“I don’t think any of us are super comfortable with every detail of this thing,” he said. “If and when a project is brought to our attention, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be as high as that, as big as this. We are going to take it very seriously.”

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