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Developer seeks zoning change in Seaford

The Town of Hempstead's bond rating has been

The Town of Hempstead's bond rating has been dropped a notch from Aaa to Aa1 by Moody's Investors Service on April 1, 2014. Credit: JC Cherubini

The Hempstead Town board Tuesday is to review a zoning change to allow developers to turn the site of a vacant school building in Seaford into a $45 million senior housing complex.

The plan has the support of school district officials, but raised concern among residents living near the site.

BK at Seaford LLC, a subsidiary of The Engel Burman Group in Garden City, won planning commission approval in September for the 112-unit The Seasons at Seaford for residents 55 and older. The developer wants the zoning changed to senior citizen housing from residential.

The developer also is seeking to lower the minimum age requirement -- from 62 years to 55 -- and restrict children younger than 18 from residing in the development at Seaford and Waverly avenues.

"There is a tremendous need for these kinds of houses in Long Island," developer Jan Burman said of residential developments for retirees, empty nesters and those looking to downsize.

The 5.67-acre complex will consist of two-bedroom units in about a dozen two-story buildings, along with a clubhouse providing 7,000 square feet of indoor recreation area and a pool. The owner-occupied units would sell for about $400,000, Burman said.

A total of 195 parking spaces -- more than the required 187 -- are proposed. If approved, the project could take up to 18 months to complete, Burman said.

The Seaford Avenue School building has been vacant since 2010, and district voters approved, 972-769, a plan in December 2012 to sell the vacant one-story site to the developer for $5.2 million. Under the sale contract, the developer has two years to obtain zoning approvals, with an optional six-month extension.

"Right now, it is a vacant school that is totally fenced," Burman said. "It looks ugly. It is costing the school district to maintain it. Why not knock it down and replace it with new beautiful housing?"

The pending sale is expected to save the district about $100,000 in annual maintenance costs and create $600,000 in annual tax revenue.

"Additional tax revenue is a way to put things back, particularly in the tax cap era," Seaford schools superintendent Brian L. Conboy said, adding the district might use the money to restore some athletic programs, student clubs and decrease class sizes.

But residents have opposed the plan because of the density, its proximity to single-family homes and possible increase in traffic.

"I just don't see that saturation level working for not only the community, but the people who would live there," said resident Roberta Grogan, a member of the Seaford Harbor Civic Association, adding that 80 units would be more manageable. "This number of units is just not right."

The Hempstead Town board plans to hold a hearing at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion, adjacent to Hempstead Town Hall.


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