Babylon Town’s downtown revitalization office, which has shepherded large projects like Wyandanch Rising and Copiague’s downtown development, is without a director after she left for a position with the state.
Amy Pfeiffer resigned from her director job, which she held from March 2016 to August, to take a position with the Office of Planning and Development.
She presided over the town office to see developments like Wyandanch Rising, a public-private project with transit-oriented development to improve the economically distressed community, come to fruition. Two mixed-use buildings have been built so far, with one under construction and more planned.
In Copiague, a new zoning category was created in 2015 to encourage developers to invest in transit-oriented projects there. A facade improvement program, partially funded by grants, is working to improve the business district; and street and pedestrian improvements are ongoing.
Pfeiffer’s office, created in 2004 as an arm of the Planning Department, oversaw those two projects.
“It’s a big loss because she was very talented,” Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said. “She brought a lot to the table in terms of both her knowledge, experience and her . . . bedside manner. Community residents and civic groups liked interacting with her. I enjoyed working with her.”
Messages left for Pfeiffer at her new office were not returned.
Schaffer said he expects to hear from town Planning Commissioner Rachel Scelfo, whose staff is continuing to work on the downtown revitalization projects, on whether the director position should be filled.
“I think that we’re still looking at how we want to move forward,” Scelfo said. “For the time being, we’re continuing on those projects.”
That includes a project that, despite years of discussion and planning, never got off the ground due to community opposition.
The East Farmingdale Route110 redevelopment was grounded last October after civic associations and residents opposed a proposal to rezone 109 acres near Route 110 and Conklin Street. The change would have allowed for mixed-use buildings as tall as 60 feet and consisting of almost 2,700 apartments.
Scelfo said she is speaking with residents to revive a version of development in the area.
"We’re looking at different projects on a case-by-case basis at this point,” she said.
Another project that didn’t see the light of day won’t be getting a second chance, Schaffer said.
A 2017 town proposal to create a mixed-use development permit that would have allowed developers to build on lots two acres or smaller got nixed last year.
“That was something that got shot down pretty quickly because community groups wanted it to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis as opposed to a general rezoning,” Schaffer said. “So I don’t see that coming up again.”