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East Farmingdale rezoning could boost development on Route 110

Aerial view of East Farmingdale, looking east, with

Aerial view of East Farmingdale, looking east, with the LIRR tracks running from bottom to top on the left side of the picture. Also seen in the photo is Airport Plaza shopping center. Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

A proposal to rezone central East Farmingdale could bring up to 4,402 new residents and $612 million in construction to the hamlet, according to a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement released last month by the Town of Babylon.

The projections represent the maximum development possible under the prospective code, the statement says.

Town officials said the rezoning, if approved by the Town Board, could be a boon for the 109-acre project area surrounding the intersection of Route 110 and Conklin Street, which is now flanked by a mulch manufacturer and a shopping center that includes a movie theater, Home Depot, Stew Leonard’s grocery store and other retailers and eateries.

Potential development could create a dense, walkable neighborhood of mixed-use buildings and public spaces, as well as much-needed housing — all served by new mass transit options under consideration, such as a rapid transit bus line and reopening the Republic station Long Island Rail Road stop at Route 110 and Conklin, officials have said.

But the draft of the environmental review was coolly received by some neighbors, who expressed concerns about the impact of the potential development on traffic, infrastructure and quality of life.

The review, which was prepared for the town by White Plains environmental consultants AKRF, projects that the proposed code would allow for up to 2,681 residential units and 3.1 million gross square feet of potential building space, and buildings that could rise up to four stories near the project area’s center.

The current zoning prohibits residences and would allow up to only 1.6 million square feet under a maximum build-out scenario.

The new residents could include up to 327 public school-age children who would attend either the Farmingdale school district or the Half Hollow Hills Central school district. Both districts “have the capacity to enroll the students,” according to the report.

Local water and wastewater infrastructure also have sufficient capacity to meet the increased demand, the report found.

The possible development would probably increase traffic but improve cyclist and pedestrian safety, according to the report.

“As such, increases to vehicular delay are not necessarily considered by the Town of Babylon to be significant adverse impacts,” the report reads.

The new properties that could be built would be worth close to $6.9 million — more than twice the potential value of the parcels if the rezoning is not carried out, the report states.

Five people expressed concern about the report at a June 13 Babylon Town Board meeting.

“What the current homeowners get is years of construction disruption” and “more traffic and delays,” said Nancy Cypser of East Farmingdale.

“Please scale back the development to a level that the community here can actually embrace,” she asked the board.

The environmental impact statement and the proposed code require public hearings and approval by the town board, Amy Pfeiffer, the director of Babylon’s Downtown Revitalization office, wrote in a statement provided by a town spokesman.

A town spokesman said no public hearings are currently scheduled.

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