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Farmingdale considers a more inclusive business zone

Farmingdale officials have drafted a resolution to do away with one of the village's zoning districts, which the mayor says is "antiquated" and limits uses.

The proposal would eliminate the Business DD District and absorb all its properties into the Business D district, which officials hope will promote more development in the village, including retail stores and apartments.

Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said some properties in the DD district are vacant, and he wants them to attract developers.

But the zoning can be an obstacle, because of the limited uses, including medical centers, telegraph offices, fraternity houses and automatic car washes. There are about a dozen properties in the district, located mostly on Fulton Street near the Hempstead Turnpike.

The Business D District includes properties outside the downtown area and allows for many more uses than DD, including residential and commercial development, officials said.

"I want ours to be more compelling" and easier for development, Ekstrand said Tuesday in an interview. "We saw that the Business D District has what we want," he said.

Officials also want to do away with the DD zoning district because most of the properties in the zone -- retail and apartments -- have been grandfathered in but are not an allowed use.

They would lose their status if a fire or other catastrophe destroyed more than 50 percent of the property. The property owners would not be allowed to rebuild their businesses or housing, officials said.

Building inspector Steve Fellman said this makes them uninsurable.

The issue came up a few months ago when an unidentified national business wanted to come into the shopping center on Fulton Street, which is zoned DD.

A handful of people spoke Monday night at the public hearing on the zoning proposal.

No one opposed the change but some asked why this was not discussed when the village's downtown master plan was approved in 2011.

The hearing will continue at the board's next meeting on Jan. 5.

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