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Letter: Is Hempstead Village plan really viable?

Nassau County and Hempstead Village trustees may have

Nassau County and Hempstead Village trustees may have an escape plan from a $10 million loan on a foreclosed downtown megablock. Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

A July 21 editorial claims that politics prevented developers Don Monti and Scott Rechler from getting, essentially, a 20-year payment in lieu of taxes [“Iron out wrinkles in Hempstead”]. They want to erect 336 apartments at Washington and Front streets to start Hempstead Village’s revitalization.

Should a lengthy payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, even be awarded in a densely populated village where new apartments have not, historically, brought long-term benefit?

A Newsday article from April 1972 describes the 1960s renovation of 69.5 acres in Hempstead Village’s downtown, and describes “apartment buildings that have sprouted up here with the regularity of new flowers in a formal garden.” Neither these nor later apartment construction revived Hempstead.

Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr. said, “One thing the village has is a lot of PILOTs . . . When you give it to apartment buildings, they don’t create jobs” [“Board to vote May 21 on tax-break deal,” News, May 9, 2013].

It seems Hall now supports a shift. To his credit, he has obtained a community-benefits agreement guaranteeing the developers will hire village residents. Also, he is balancing difficult forces: state support to upgrade the village’s sewer lines apparently depends on this revitalization going forward.

Reine Bethany, Hempstead