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Amityville hospital site zoning change on agenda, anti-racism group settles with landlord

Amityville Village Hall on Ireland Place in Amityville

Amityville Village Hall on Ireland Place in Amityville on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014. Credit: Steve Pfost


Hospital site zoning change on agenda

Amityville trustees will hold a public hearing next month on a change of zone for the Brunswick Hospital site that would allow for a mix of retail and housing.

The 7.67-acre site is near the village's north entrance. The hospital closed in 2005 and village officials have said they are eager to see redevelopment.

Current regulations that zone part of the property for retail business use and part for residential stand in the way, said Joseph F. Buzzell, a lawyer for property owner BH Realty. "No project is going to work on this site with the split zoning," he said. Some prospective tenants have already started to look elsewhere for that reason, he added.

Amityville Mayor James Wandell called early plans for a mixed-use project that could include rental apartments, retail and other businesses such as an urgent care center "a step forward."

The hearing is scheduled for July 14. -- NICHOLAS SPANGLER


Anti-racism group settles with landlord

ERASE Racism, a nonprofit focused on racial equity, reached a $165,000 settlement in a fair housing lawsuit against a Mineola landlord and property manager, the group announced.

The lawsuit filed in August accused Town House Apartments, one of Mineola's largest rental buildings, of discrimination against black prospective renters.
"It is important for the individuals who are engaged in these discriminatory acts to be held accountable," said Elaine Gross, president of ERASE Racism.

The settlement comes at a time when blacks are underrepresented in the area's rental market, occupying 4 percent of about 2,000 units, Newsday reported last year.

The Fair Housing Justice Center in Manhattan sent prospective "test" renters to Town House as applicants to document discrimination. Black testers were denied immediate apartment availability and quoted higher rents than white applicants, according to settlement documents.

Building superintendent Jorge Agudelo, who acted as building agent on all three visits, could not be reached for comment.

The settlement will include employee training at the Town House Apartments, owned by LLR Realty LLC, Erase Racism said in a news release.

It will also allow ERASE Racism to examine documents and rental applications until 2017 "to ensure compliance," the release said.

In 2007, research by ERASE Racism led Nassau County to pass its Human Rights Law, which prohibits housing discrimination, Gross said in an interview.

"We thought now that they had a strong law, they would have been more
aggressive in pursuing fair housing violations," she said. "That did not

John Sarcone, Nassau County director of Housing and Community Development,
said the county "has no zoning authority and is in compliance with all federal guidelines." -- SIOBHAN BARTON


Public safety forum to tackle drugs, cops

The Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations will host a public
safety forum Thursday June 19 at the county Public Safety Center
in Westbury.

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at 1194 Prospect Ave. in Room 103A. Nassau police officials are to make a presentation about the drug problems in Long Island communities, discuss the recent reduction in its plainclothes division and problem-oriented policing units, as well as the reallocation of resources or disbanding of some other special units.

Coalition directors Bradley Schnur and Joan Ortiz, recent graduates of
Nassau County's Citizens Police Academy, will speak about their experience
at the academy. A representative from the fire marshal's office will also
speak about carbon monoxide safety and issues.

For more information about the meeting, visit, email or call 516-972-6988.-- AISHA AL-MUSLIM


Whitman birthplace to host coffee, talk

Join the conversation.

A free six-week coffee and conversation program will be held at Walt
Whitman Birthplace State Historic site in Huntington Station every Tuesday
starting June 17. Classes, with light refreshments, will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at 246 Old Walt Whitman Rd. The class will not meet on July 8.

Readings include short stories, philosophy, poetry and essays by a variety of authors, including Maya Angelou, Ralph Emerson, Maimonides and Abraham Lincoln.

"It's kind of like a book group," said Cynthia Shore, executive director
of the Walt Whitman Association, sponsor of the program. "But it's a book group with a theme .?.?. so the audience is a little more targeted."

The program is being funded by a $900 New York Council for the Humanities

Registration is suggested by emailing or calling 631-427-5240, ext. 112. -- DEBORAH S. MORRIS


Four libraries to get grants for rehabbing

Four south-central Nassau County public libraries will divide more than $235,000 in state library construction grants, Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook) announced.

"This funding will go a long way toward helping to modernize and rehabilitate our library services and facilities," Curran said in a news release.

The Freeport Memorial Library will get $177,915 for the renovation and replacement of old and damaged windows and Rockville Centre will receive $34,900 for new, automatic front doors. Lynbrook will use $18,113 for video security system and to rehabilitate its meeting room's roof and Baldwin will get $4,558 to replace its landing.

"Libraries are a very important part of our communities and making these capital investments will ensure that they remain safe and accessible," Skelos said. -- SID CASSESE


Demolition making way for mixed-use

The last of five stores being demolished on Farmingdale's Main Street is expected to come down in the next few days to make way for a mixed-used development, Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said.

Demolition at 231-245 Main St. started two weeks ago, Ekstrand said.

"In the next week everything will be leveled and most of the debris will be carted away," he said.

Construction is expected to begin in August and last a year, he said.

Islandia-based Staller Associates plans to build a three-floor building with 26 residential units and 3,100 square feet of commercial space.

Construction will involve digging up Main Street to connect utilities to the new building, though Ekstrand said he did not know when that would happen. He said village officials met with the developer to make sure that there is sufficient planning to avoid a repeat of an incident earlier this year when a subcontractor for another developer on a nearby project breached a gas line.

The Nassau County Industrial Development Agency awarded Staller's project a sales tax break of up to $275,000 on materials and furniture, and a 20-year phase-in of property taxes from the current assessed value to the new value after the $6.3 million project is completed. --  TED PHILLIPS


VFW Post offering facilities for no fee

Veterans of Foreign Wars Long Beach Post 1384 is offering organizations and groups fundraising for their charitable causes the opportunity to use its facilities free of charge.

The veterans group is also joining with the Long Beach Jazz Band, a group of seven jazz and popular music players, to play a concert, dance and food party for charitable groups using the building at 675 West Park Ave. on any Tuesday night from 8 to 10 p.m., organizers said.

The jazz group would donate its services for its weekly concert with no admission charge. A cash bar would be available with proceeds going to the VFW Post for its veterans support programs, organizers said.

For more information, call VFW commander Dan MacPhee at 516-445-8928. -- AISHA AL-MUSLIM


Social media seminar for business owners

The Huntington Business Incubator is hosting a seminar to show business owners how to improve their presence on social media.

The Workshop: Developing a Social Media Plan For Your Business will be
held Wednesday at 6 p.m.

It will include tips on learning how to set up a social media strategy for business by defining the audience, using various social media sites and tools, creating engaging content, and setting and measuring social media goals.

"There are many different pieces of effective social media use that must be planned out and examined," Brian Wasson, an educational technology specialist who will be running the seminar, said. "This seminar will help businesses figure out what questions they must address as they start to develop a plan for using social media. And yes, businesses large and small do need a plan."

The incubator is at 1268 New York Ave. in Huntington Station. From 5:30 to 6 p.m. there will be a networking opportunity. Registration is free, but an RSVP is requested to Diane Teets at 631-351-2884 or by email to

"I hope attendees leave the seminar thinking: Wow, there is more to
using social media for my business than I thought," Wasson said. "I need to figure this out and take it seriously if I hope to turn the likes, comments, shares, and tags into profit." -- DEBORAH S. MORRIS


Residents urged to rediscover parks

Suffolk County has designated Saturday, June 21, as "Discover Suffolk
County Parks Day."

The legislation, signed by County Executive Steve Bellone, aims to attract new park visitors during "challenging economic times," officials said in a statement.

"Discover Suffolk County Parks Day offers residents an opportunity to explore parks they have never seen before or revisit those familiar from their childhood," Bellone said in the statement. "With the vast array of ecosystems, beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities, there is something for everyone to enjoy."

Admission fees will be discounted for all Suffolk County parks, according to the statement. -- SIOBHAN BARTON

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