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Babylon town withdraws proposal for mixed-use development permit

Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer announced the decision in a Facebook post Friday night. Civic leaders who opposed to the plan praised the announcement.

Town of Babylon Town Hall in Lindenhurst on

Town of Babylon Town Hall in Lindenhurst on July 11, 2016. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

The Town of Babylon on Friday withdrew a controversial plan to create a mixed-use development permit that faced significant opposition from some residents, who said it would diminish quality of life in their neighborhoods.

Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer announced the decision in a Facebook post Friday night.

“After receiving many thoughtful presentations and emails, the overwhelming majority of which were in opposition, the Town Board and I have agreed to not present the mixed-use permit proposal for a vote at a future meeting,” Schaffer wrote.

“This proposal has been withdrawn and will not be considered in the future,” the post continued.

The mixed-use permit would have allowed developers to construct three-story buildings containing up to 70 apartments as well as retail or office space on some lots two acres or smaller in business, industrial and multi-residential districts.

Civic leaders who opposed the plan praised the announcement Friday.

“The Town of Babylon is so densely populated, we don’t need more apartments,” said Danielle Leacock, president of the Parkdale Civic Association in North Babylon.

Leacock was one of 17 people who spoke critically of the permit before the Babylon Town Board at a public hearing Wednesday night. Five spoke in favor.

“I’m very grateful that they listened,” she said of the board members.

The permit, which would have been the first of its kind on Long Island, had won praise from planning experts and pro-development groups, who’ve called it an innovative approach to creating dense, walkable neighborhoods and to relieving the area’s shortage of affordable rental housing.

The effort, hatched by Babylon’s Office of Downtown Revitalization, was a smaller companion project to larger redevelopment efforts such as those in Wyandanch and Copiague.

One such project is still in the works for the Babylon hamlet of East Farmingdale, the center of which the town hopes to rezone in the coming years to allow for denser, mixed-use development.

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