Readers Write: New Hyde Park development code must be repealed

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Your article “The turn to transit-oriented development” (June 14) highlights the various initiatives municipalities are engaged in regarding development in and around train stations.  The recent transit-oriented development initiative in the Village of New Hyde Park requires further analysis and scrutiny in light of the less than forthcoming give-and-take between the village administration and village residents.

The VNHP Development Incentive Overlay District created in 2018 and amended in March of 2019, spans from South 4th Street to the east end of Plaza Avenue on the north side of the LIRR and from South 8th Street to New Hyde Park Road on the south side of the LIRR.

Unlike Mineola’s overlay district, the New Hyde Park overlay district is generally no more than 100 feet deep on both sides of the LIRR and directly adjacent to the residential zone containing hundreds of two-story, single-family homes.

The VNHP local law enacted and amended, Section 195-3.2: Development Incentive Bonuses, is a less than two pages of overly vague local law that does not specifically spell out what can be constructed as-of-right in the overlay district. This invites special permit applications like 300 South 12th LLC that stretch the limits of a harmonious transition to the residential zone behind reason.

Exceeding the permitted height limit, insufficient parking, 100 percent lot coverage with a 40-foot wall at the first residential property line and Nassau Industrial Development Agency subsides – meaning you, the village taxpayer – caused residents to turn out by the hundreds to oppose this complete overdevelopment of less than one-half acre adjacent to a vibrant single-family residential neighborhood.

The 300 South 12th LLC Special Permit Application proposed a four-story, 71-unit apartment complex at 300 South 12th Street.  This translates into a density of 150 apartments per acre.

If this project’s density is applied throughout the overlay district, more than 2,000 people would be added to our village of just under 10,000 people – an increase of over 20 percent. We live in one of the densest parts of Nassau County already.

The Section 195-3.2 law, as noted in the editorial and by the mayor’s own admission, was a result of negotiations to secure $5 million in state “grant” money. So in order to secure $5 million in state “grant” money the village administration composed a law that allows developers to come in and submit anything – four stories, 10 stories, 150 apartments per acre, etc. – with the village board as the sole arbiter of thumbs up or thumbs down.  

It is time to start over and conduct an inclusive and collaborative effort in our quest for sensible and sustainable development. Section 195-3.2 of the VNHP Code must be repealed for the simple fact that it is completely ambiguous and incomplete compared to overlay districts recently enacted in other villages and towns. This is a result of minimal to non-existent dialogue with village residents and haste to appease and take “grant” money from region-wide special interests who would like nothing better than to eliminate local governments like our beloved Village of New Hyde Park.

Edward Powers                   

New Hyde Park

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