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Farmingdale changes zoning for businesses, apartments

The Farmingdale board of trustees has eliminated a restrictive zoning designation that allowed bowling alleys but not retail stores in parts of the village.

The change, passed at the panel's meeting on Monday, means existing businesses and apartments with the old zoning designation will no longer need a special-use permit to operate; new businesses can open retail stores, and developers can build apartments.

The action rid the village of the "antiquated" Business DD District and put those properties into Business D District, which Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said he hopes attracts new businesses to the area.

"You couldn't have retail in the DD zone, and yet 50 percent of the zone DD is retail," Ekstrand said.

Properties with the DD designation were concentrated in the area where Fulton Street merges with Conklin Street, though they existed in other parts of the village. The old zoning limited those properties to uses such as medical centers, telegraph offices, fraternal lodges, bowling alleys, offices, movie theaters and automatic car washes.

For decades, the village made exceptions for other types of businesses and apartments, Ekstrand said. That practice meant that if a building was destroyed by fire or storm, owners could not rebuild for the same use without securing a special-use permit, which village officials have said caused problems for businesses seeking insurance.

Ekstrand said the issue was brought to his attention by Dollar Tree, which has a store in the old district on Fulton Street. A spokesman for the Virginia-based company declined to comment.

"The business D zoning is virtually the same zoning on Main Street, so you can have a plethora of businesses," Ekstrand said.

The zoning change also means that if developerswant to replace the shuttered Farmingdale Friendly's restaurant -- which was in the DD zone -- they will have more options without going before the village board for a special permit.

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