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Village Board Discontinues Conklin Street Zoning District Public Hearing

District will remain unchanged until further notice

The Village of Farmingdale Board of Trustees met Monday, Feb. 6 at Village Hall to continue public discussions on LLG-2011- the agenda item that would have added new allowed uses in the Conklin Street zoning district.

In December, Mayor George Starkie and the village board voted to eliminate “restaurant use” as a permitted option for the area in question- located after Hempstead Turnpike, before Main Street and essentially next to Fulton Street- after residents voiced concerns over the potential for increased pollution and food odors.

At the Feb. 6 meeting, Starkie discussed the background of the situation and provided reasons why he decided to discontinue the public hearing on it. “After hearing from the public and one person in particular, we were informed this might fall under the category of spot-zoning,” Starkie said. “Sometimes you need that ‘aha’ moment. So we continued the public hearing with the understanding that we’d definitely eliminate ‘restaurant use.’ Subsequently, that property has sold. Nobody is telling us to who; nobody has come in with any applications. At this point, I think it would be unfair to the public to continue the hearing.”

Spot-zoning refers to an application of zoning to a specific parcel of land within a larger zoned area when the rezoning is usually at odds with a city’s master plan and current zoning restrictions. The rezoning may be for the benefit of a particular owner, and at odds with pre-existing adjacent property owners.

To cap off the discussions, Starkie added, “we’re just going to discontinue the hearing. Nothing is going to change with the office-resident district as it is now. If something in the future comes up, then we will have to republish a public notice.”

The board continued discussions on finding an outside source to help run the village’s private water supply. Ultimately, a resolution was made to approve Guastella Associates, LLC, to provide consulting services to the village to analyze proposals for the shift from the Bethpage Water District and the Suffolk County Water Authority. “They have an incredible résumé,” Starkie said of Guastella Associates. “They were recommended from another water district on Long Island. They are experts in this industry. Bethpage has made an offer to run our water, as has Suffolk County Water Authority. This is the outside agency that will come in and review those proposals.”

Deputy Mayor Patricia Christiansen presented an updated Beautification Committee report. “We’re not quite ready for spring, but we are looking into plants for our hanging baskets and plantings for what will be implemented in May.”

For the final agenda item of the evening, the board asked for community feedback on the idea for an Options For Community Living Home to open on Cherry Street.

Options is a private non-profit community agency that has been building paths of hope for some of our region’s neediest people since 1982. They provide housing and assistance for families and individuals who are homeless, working their way out of crisis, or faced with debilitating medical conditions or mental illness.

Some Farmingdale residents were concerned about the “secrecy” of the organization, as they weren’t provided with much information regarding the identities or backgrounds of their future neighbors. “That particular property is right on the corner of a bus stop for the elementary school and high school,” said Farmingdale resident Susan Myles. “Doing renovations on the house will of course bring up the property value of all those around us, but we’re concerned about who’s going to be living there. Because of the privacy issues, we don’t know who’s going to move in, and because of the secrecy of [the night that company made a presentation at a village board meeting], it led to speculation that anyone can move in. That’s too close to the school bus stops.” Starkie responded that he had a great discussion with the Options community director, and he was assured that the company never had any complaints about its residents causing trouble.

The next Village of Farmingdale Board of Trustees meeting will be held on March 5 at Village Hall at 8 p.m.