This was too good to keep from all of you...
I'll let the fur fly tonight, but in the meantime, check out Kate Murray's press release announcing the Lighthouse scale down. This is the unedited release. Have fun!
Murray and Goosby Produce Alternate Development Zone For Lighthouse Site
July 12, 2010
Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, along with Council Members Anthony Santino, Angie Cullin, Gary Hudes and James Darcy, Town Clerk Mark Bonilla and Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, released details of a new development zone for the 77 acres of property surrounding the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The new zoning district crafted by the town will be presented as an alternative to the Lighthouse Project in an environmental report (Final Environmental Impact Statement [FEIS]). The alternate zone would be considered by the town board at a public hearing. The new zone facilitates a vibrant mixed-use development that is sustainable and would complement the suburban character of surrounding communities.
"We are taking proactive steps that can bring about meaningful development, along with all of the associated benefits, to the hub of Nassau County," stated Murray. "Creating a zone that encourages reasonable development is key to supporting our tax base, offering construction and long term jobs, stimulating the region's economy and facilitating a renovated Coliseum which would help keep the Islanders hockey team here where they belong."
"Developing an alternative zone which will allow development that fits on the property surrounding the Coliseum was a priority for the town," said Goosby. "This zone meets that objective and can be supported by local upgraded roadways as well as other infrastructure components."
The proposed alternative zone provides for 5.4 million square feet of construction (includes all buildings and parking structures) comprised of many of the same types of development that were sought by the Lighthouse Group. At the same time, the zone scales back the density contemplated under the Lighthouse plan. Among the many types of development that will be permitted in the newly created zone are convention facilities, hotels, retail, restaurants, offices, residential units, entertainment uses and a refurbished Coliseum.
Additionally, the town-crafted alternative zone embraces smart growth principles such as mixed-use structures, roadways and pedestrian areas that encourage walking and bicycling, as well as "green technologies" in building construction. Mixed-use development accommodated under the new zone could include retail and/or office structures with homes above those facilities, all within the same buildings. Roadways that incorporate bicycle lanes, street furniture along pedestrian walkways, as well as street side cutouts for parallel parking, will all combine to create a walkable community and a genuine destination for people who are looking for an exciting location to live, work and enjoy recreational activities. Other smart growth elements considered in the zone include "shared parking" that helps optimize the level of development and integrated parking facilities that combine the parking structures and retail/offices.
The new zone alternative provides for up to 500 new homes to be developed. Those housing units will be required to include affordable and next generation/workforce homes.
The density and building heights accommodated in the town's zoning alternative are substantial and sustainable. In fact, the density proposed would be the most intense zoning in the township. The Floor Area Ratio (FAR [the ratio of total square footage of construction as it relates to the square footage of land upon which it is built]) for the proposed zone is 1.6. By contrast, the FAR for the RXR Towers is 0.89 and the Omni Building totals 0.56. The Marriott Hotel has an FAR of 0.92. Moreover, the new zone's development total of 5.4 million square feet contrasts with an estimated 10-13.5 million square feet of development under the Lighthouse proposal.
The maximum building height contemplated under the town's zone is 100 feet or nine stories and applies to hotels. Mixed use, office and most other structures would be capped at four stories. Exclusively residential buildings would be restricted to three stories.
Town officials emphasized that the alternate zone is flexible in that it does not dictate which specific types of development prescribed in the zone must be sited on the individual parcels that make up the 77 acres around the Coliseum. The zone only requires that two of the permitted uses, other than the Coliseum, be included in the developer's proposal for each parcel.
Hempstead Town's zoning alternative also provides for traffic mitigation. The mitigation includes roadways within the Coliseum area which would redistribute traffic, addressing the burdens that would otherwise be created by a development of this significance. The plan also contemplates "smart" traffic signals and a reconfigured interchange at the intersection of Meadowbrook Parkway and Hempstead Turnpike.
"The Town of Hempstead has been working hard to facilitate reasonable development at the site surrounding the Nassau Coliseum," concluded Murray. "We committed to 'jump starting' a stalled development process, promised to provide for reasonable development that is progressive, and we have been clear that we would only permit a zone that can be sustained by the environment and local infrastructure. We've produced a zone that is true to those goals. What's more, making sure that the zone would be consistent with the suburban character of our area, support our tax base, stimulate the economy, facilitate the renovation of the Coliseum and help keep the Islanders hockey team here have also been key determinants in producing this alternative."