By Ethan Marshall
There was not an empty seat in the room during last week’s public hearing in the Village of New Hyde Park, as residents demanded that the board repeal a law amended in March to allow industrial or commercial zones to be mixed in with residential areas, pending approval of applications from the board.
According to New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil, one of the main concerns expressed by the public over this law is that they were “worried over what mixed-use could be like.” Prior to the law, non-residential areas were strictly industrial or commercial. “Areas becoming mixed could result in unintended negative effects,” he said.
The town amended the agreement with the intention of clarifying boundaries in certain zones included in the area. The law itself was part of negotiations with the Long Island Rail Road Third Track project.
It was the Village that wanted mixed use to upgrade the village and make it look nicer. The controversial new zoning covers an area near the track work.
Village Clerk Kate Hillmann said residents of places like apartment buildings could suffer the most if, for example, an industrial or commercial area were set up on another floor. In addition to possibly causing disturbing noise for residents and allowing for the storage of potentially harmful goods, “one of the biggest potential problems may be an influx of traffic,” Hillmann said.
Montreuil told the meeting attendees the board was no longer accepting any more applications for mixed use. This decision was reached during a public hearing May 9. No applicants were approved prior to the suspension of applications.
The town approved the law last year as part of an agreement with the governor’s office and the 3TC for the village to get funding from the state. Without the law, the village would have to give up the funds for the new railroad track being developed there.
“The board is concerned repealing the law may result in the loss of funds,” Montreuil said.
However, according to Hillmann, “they are still considering whether to repeal the law or amend it, and how to do so.”
In addition to being open to responding to emails and phone calls from the community, the board intends to send robo-calls to the residents in an attempt to better inform them so they can provide their input.
The village board is currently reviewing an application for a mixed-use development on South 12th Street. The proposal for the four-story building with 71 apartment units drew hundreds of concerned residents to an April 30 public hearing.