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Hempstead can move ahead on site plan review

The Village of Hempstead.

The Village of Hempstead. Credit: J.C. Cherubini, 2011

The Hempstead Village board of trustees has approved a contract for up to $7,500 with an engineering firm to review the first site plan relating to the village's $2.5 billion downtown redevelopment project.

The board voted, 5-0, at last week's meeting to hire Hauppauge-based VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture P.C. to provide master development plan review services to the board. The contract calls for VHB to review documents submitted by master developer Renaissance Downtown UrbanAmerica for billing rates ranging from $35 to $300 an hour.

"It won't cost the village anything," village attorney Debra Urbano-DiSalvo said, adding the firm would take a look at the plan's parking component. "It's on the dime of the developer."

The contract will be funded through fees paid by developers and contractors opting to build in a downtown overlay zone. The fee schedule approved in March includes site plan review fees, building permit fees, submission fees to the planning board, fees to fund the jobs/business and local contracting centers, and fees to help create or improve civic spaces. Total fees could run about $1,500 per residential unit and about $15 per square foot for buildings with other uses.

Renaissance's first development proposal, submitted in November, called for a 349-unit rental apartment building on a village-owned parking lot on Washington Street from Front Street to Cooper Square North. The five-story building would have two connected wings wrapping around internal courtyards, roof gardens and green rooftop terraces with solar panels. The building would be next to an existing parking garage with about 872 spaces considered underutilized, according to the application.

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