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New Cassel Community Visioning Planning Documents
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Town of North Hempstead
Saccardi & Schiff, Inc.
245 Main Street
White Plains, NY 10601
Saccardi & Schiff, Inc. 1
I. DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT
A. Boundaries of the Urban Renewal Project Area
The boundaries for the Urban Renewal Project Area, hereafter referred to as the "Project" or "Project Area" are shown on the Project Area Boundary map. This area includes the land located within Census Tract 3042.01, commonly referred to as New Cassel. The Project Area is bounded by the Wantagh State Parkway on the east, Brush Hollow Road and Union Avenue on the north and west, School Street on the west, and Railroad Avenue on the south. The Project Area consists primarily of residential land uses, with commercial activity concentrated along the Prospect Avenue and Union Avenue corridors. The Project Area’s industrial uses are primarily located in a large block between Grand Boulevard and Hicks Street. Two Urban Renewal Areas previously designated by the Town Board of North Hempstead, New York (the "Town Board") are located within these boundaries: one along Prospect Avenue and one along Union Avenue. The Prospect Avenue corridor generally bisects New Cassel and forms the "Main Street" of the neighborhood. Union Avenue forms the neighborhood’s northwestern border, separating New Cassel from the Incorporated Village of Westbury.
B. Urban Renewal Plan Objectives
The objectives of this Urban Renewal Plan are as follows:
1. To eliminate substandard conditions within the Project Area as identified in the New Cassel Urban Renewal Area Study, June 2003;
2. To improve the condition of deteriorated or dilapidated buildings within the Project Area;
3. To create new housing opportunities
4. To redevelop vacant, underutilized, and deteriorated properties
5. To enhance the aesthetics and overall image of the Project Area
6. To improve public safety
7. To help generate economic activity
8. To improve community facilities
C. Proposed Actions
The Urban Renewal Plan proposes the redevelopment of vacant properties and key underutilized sites within the Project Area, which adversely impact the surrounding neighborhood, and impair the sound development of the community. These sites include, among others, the Grand Street School and prominent properties along the Prospect Avenue corridor. In addition, a limited program of acquisition and demolition, primarily focused on individual, decayed, insanitary, and vacant/underutilized properties, will be undertaken by the Town of North Hempstead Community Development Agency, (the "Agency" or the "Community Development Agency"), which will dispose of such properties for redevelopment in accordance with this Plan. Another key component of the Plan is a rehabilitation program to reverse deterioration of existing homes and businesses, and preserve their structural integrity and long-term usage. In cases where rehabilitation proves infeasible, the Community Development Agency may undertake acquisition of such properties for redevelopment in accordance with the designated land uses stipulated by this Plan. A third component will consist of a program of concentrated enforcement. This includes both code enforcement and police activity.
II. CONFORMITY TO THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AND CONSISTENCY WITH LOCAL OBJECTIVESS
The recently produced area vision plan, Seeking A Shared Vision for New Cassel: Vision Plan for New Cassel (the "Vision Plan"), is the clearest statement of community objectives. During the course of a multi-day planning event, community stakeholders identified significant issues in New Cassel, and formulated concepts to revitalize the area. Recommendations included actions to reconstruct and revitalize the Prospect Avenue corridor, improve the appearance of buildings, reduce criminal activity, address overcrowding and illegal housing, develop community cultural and recreational facilities, improve parking conditions, and reduce litter. The 1989 Town of North Hempstead Master Plan (the "Master Plan") encourages efforts related to neighborhood revitalization in New Cassel and strict enforcement of local laws with respect to private homes and rental housing. The Master Plan also recognizes New Cassel’s predominantly residential character and the presence of blighting influences. The Urban Renewal Plan, which proposes redevelopment and rehabilitation for residential, commercial, and community facility use, conforms with the Master Plan, and is consistent with the local objectives identified in the Vision Plan.
III. PROPOSED LAND USES
One portion of the land use strategy is the creation of a centrally-located, multi-family residential and public community facilities cluster. As illustrated on the Proposed Land Use map, these uses will be in close proximity to the Project Area’s primary recreational facility, Reid Park. This type of development is intended to address both the high demand for housing, and the need for community facilities/services identified in the Vision Plan. Additionally, mixed use office/residential or retail/residential development is proposed for portions of Prospect Avenue. These mixed use areas include significant redevelopment nodes at the Brush Hollow Road, Grand Street, and Bond Street intersections. Each of these intersections is highlighted in the Vision Plan and each currently has considerable vacancies. This type of redevelopment can provide commercial uses desired by the community, additional housing opportunities, and improved safety. Continued medium-density residential use is envisioned along Prospect Avenue between Magnolia Avenue and New York Avenue. Other proposed land uses generally consist of rehabilitated or limited in-fill residential uses. In the southwestern corner of the Project Area, the continued use of the block between Grand Boulevard and Hicks Street for commercial/industrial activity is proposed. The small blocks west of Hicks Street are proposed for medium density residential and mixed use.
IV. PROJECT PROPOSALS
A. Land Acquisition
The Plan provides for the acquisition of designated properties by the Community Development Agency for redevelopment purposes. See the Property Acquisition map for identification of specific parcels, and the accompanying List of Properties for Acquisition.
Demolition of structures on properties designated for acquisition will occur as necessary and appropriate for redevelopment.
All property acquired in accordance with the Plan will be made available for redevelopment or public improvement. The Plan proposes mixed-use, multifamily residential and community facility development for these sites. The Community Development Agency, as part of its disposition of property for residential use, may incorporate into its approval any or all of the following:
1. The number of residential units;
2. Whether units are ownership, rental,condominium or cooperative units;
3. Whe estimated initial rents or selling prices for such units;
4. Income restrictions, if any;
5. Restrictions on future rents or resale prices, if any; Saccardi & Schiff, Inc. 4
6. And the basis on which consideration for the sale or lease of the property is to be determined.
Buildings that are not designated for acquisition will be eligible for rehabilitation assistance through programs administered by the Community Development Agency.
E. Concentrated Enforcement
Enforcement activities currently underway include investigations by the Town’s Illegal Housing Task Force and subsequent prosecution for code violations, and targeted Nassau County Police Department operations. These efforts will be continued and intensified where appropriate and possible.
V. PROPOSED PUBLIC, SEMI-PUBLIC, PRIVATE, OR COMMUNITY FACILITIES OR UTILITIES
The Community Development Agency and the Town, consistent with the availability of funds, will make improvements to public facilities such as, but not limited to, park facility upgrades, traffic calming measures, street and sidewalk beautification, landscaping, off-street parking, and other improvements to complement redevelopment activities and provide an adequate level of public services for the Project Area. Individual redevelopers will make improvements such as, but not limited to, off-street parking, landscaping and other improvements needed to complement redevelopment activities. Community facilities to serve the residents of the area, potentially containing a day-care center, assembly rooms, or resource centers, are proposed for incorporation in an area of new, multi-family residential development.
VI. PROPOSED METHODS OR TECHNIQUES OF URBAN RENEWAL
The Urban Renewal Plan proposes acquisition of designated properties in the Project Area, demolition of existing structures, and reuse of the properties for new housing, businesses and community facilities. The Plan also proposes rehabilitation of properties not designated for acquisition.
VII. STATEMENT AS TO PROPOSED NEW CODES AND ORDINANCES AND AMENDMENTS TO EXISTING CODES AND ORDINANCES
In order to achieve the goals and objectives set forth in this Urban Renewal Plan, amendments to Chapter 70, entitled Zoning, of the Code of the Town of North Hempstead are required. The following items have been identified as most significant:
A. Mixed Use Definition
The combination of residential and commercial (office and/or retail) uses in a single structure is identified in Proposed Land Use as a key component of the redevelopment initiative. This is a concept that has been embraced nationally by planners and economic development consultants as a means of revitalizing failing "downtowns". The Vision Plan has also identified mixed use development as a desirable way to bring new retail and commercial activity, along with residential opportunities to New Cassel. The mix would provide additional buying power for local merchants along with eyes on the street to provide a heightened security presence. Because "mixed use" is neither defined in the Code, nor presently permitted by the Town, two actions are required: (1) language must be added to chapter 70- 231 Definitions, to define "mixed use;" and, (2) mixed use must be made a permitted use in the appropriate locations in the Town. The definition should be as follows: Mixed Use - A building containing a combination of retail and/or office use, accessible to the public, with residential use above. Mixed Use should be added to the list of permitted uses in the Business A and Business B districts located within an Urban Renewal Area as identified by the Town of North Hempstead pursuant to Article 15 of General Municipal Law.
B. Front Yard Setbacks and Parking Requirements on Prospect and Union Avenues
The limited depth of properties along Prospect and Union Avenues, much of which is the result of Nassau County’s widening of these streets, has created significant obstacles to the redevelopment of these properties. Combining this limited depth with a front yard setback requirement and an off-street parking requirement effectively precludes an economically viable redevelopment scenario. Furthermore, planners have strongly supported the need to reinforce the streetwall in the redevelopment of local business districts to encourage pedestrian activity and enhance community vitality. In response to these conditions, the following amendments are proposed:
1. C Elimination of the ten foot (10') front yard setback requirement in Business A zones located within an Urban Renewal Area as identified by the Town of North Hempstead pursuant to Article 15 of General Municipal Laww Saccardi & Schiff, Inc. 6
2. C Adjustment of Section 70-103 Parking Requirements
a) One parking space per dwelling unit shall be provided in a Mixed Use building
b) On street parking located immediately adjacent to a property having street frontage on Prospect or Union Avenues shall be counted against the required off-street parking at the rate of 25 feet of frontage per parking space. Frontage calculations for corner properties shall be reduced by 5 feet of frontage per street.
The Vision Plan clearly set forth the goals and concerns of the New Cassel community. Some of these concerns can be addressed through re-zoning of properties to facilitate their redevelopment in a manner that is consistent with the concepts set forth in the Vision Plan. The location of existing zoning boundaries along Prospect Avenue hinders the orderly and visually consistent development of commercial and residential uses along the corridor. In addition, these boundaries make the implementation of certain proposed traffic calming measures difficult, as they must relate to the uses situated along both sides of the street. Rezoning of certain properties in the area will encourage residential redevelopment at densities appropriate to their location within New Cassel. This will provide for further residential opportunities within the community and provide further buying power for local merchants. The following map changes are proposed and illustrated on the Proposed Zoning Map C:
1. Moving the north/south R-D and B-A District boundary lines on Prospect Avenue to the centerline of Magnolia Street.
2. Rezoning of the properties bounded by State Street on the west, Bond Street on the East, Prospect Avenue on the North, and the property lines approximately two hundred feet (200') south of Prospect Avenue from BA and R-C to R-M.
D. Facade Standards
The Vision Plan strongly represented the need to visually enhance the "downtown" character of New Cassel’s Prospect and Union Avenues. Visually attractive retail areas are extremely important to the sustainability of the businesses choosing to locate there. In addition, the mix of residential and office/retail uses on Prospect and Union Avenues dictates that the character of these two most important streets be improved to provide a quality of life on the street that will enhance the experience of living, working, and shopping there. Therefore, Chapter 70 should be revised by adding facade standards to include definitions and requirements for signage, awnings, canopies, storefront windows, and security gates / grilles for properties located within an Urban Renewal Area.
VIII. PROPOSED TIME SCHEDULE FOR THE EFFECTUATION OF THE PLAN
Effectuation of the Plan will commence upon approval of this Plan by the Town Board. The Plan will be implemented through the use of available grants provided under the federal Community Development Block Grant Program, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and other funding sources. The timing will be based on the availability of such funds and of properties sought for acquisition and redevelopment.
IX. DURATION OF PLAN CONTROLS
The regulations and controls contained in this Plan shall be binding and effective by deed or lease upon all purchasers or lessees of land and their heirs or assigns in the Project Area covered by this Plan, from the date of approval of this Plan by the Town Board for 40 years, unless amended as provided herein.
X. PROCEDURES FOR CHANGES IN APPROVED PLAN
The provisions of the Plan may be modified or amended at any time by the Town Board in accordance with the provisions of Article 15 and Article 15A of New York General Municipal Law.
XI. PROVISIONS TO PRESERVE INTEGRITY OF PLAN
In order to preserve the integrity of the Plan, the Town of North Hempstead Department of Buildings, Safety, Inspection, and Enforcement (the "Building Department") will notify the Community Development Agency upon receipt of any applications for a permit for building construction or alteration, or for a certificate of occupancy for a structure or use within the Project Area. Pursuant to Section 503(h) of the General Municipal Law, for a period of three years from the approval of this Plan by the Town Board, or of any amendments or modifications thereto, the Building Department shall not issue a building construction or alteration permit, or a certificate of occupancy for a structure or use within the Project Area, without having first obtained the consent of the Community Development Agency, unless the construction, alteration, or use is necessary for the immediate protection of public health and safety. The Agency shall consent to the issuance of certificates and permits upon a determination that the proposed construction, alteration, or use is not inconsistent with the Plan or any amendments or modifications thereto. The Agency shall have the power to reject any proposals which are inconsistent with the Plan in order to preserve the integrity of the Plan.
XII. PROSPECT AVENUE CORRIDOR AND UNION AVENUE CORRIDOR URBAN RENEWAL PLANS SUPERCEDED
This Urban Renewal Plan and the provisions thereof supercede the Urban Renewal Plan for the Prospect Avenue Corridor Urban Renewal Area, as amended, and the Urban Renewal Plan for the Union Avenue Corridor Urban Renewal Area, as amended.
Hempstead, the Town of North Hempstead Community Development Agency, and the residents of New Cassel. Begun in July 2002 with a five-day "charrette" that drew approximately 800 New Cassel residents, government officials, and other community stakeholders, a “Vision Plan” was formulated and adopted in the early Spring of 2003 establishing mixed-use development, a pedestrian-friendly, walkable community, and the development of attractive and inviting public spaces as the guiding principles in the revitalization of the area. Following the adoption by the North Hempstead Town Board of the New Cassel Urban Renewal Plan and zoning changes along Prospect Avenue during the summer and fall of 2004, the Town, the Agency, Nassau County and Sustainable Long Island spearheaded a request for proposals for the redevelopment of seven sites along Prospect and Union Avenues in October, 2003. Approval of redevelopment proposals for each of these sites, and for a pilot site, is expected to result in the investment of approximately $60 million and the development of approximately 220 apartments, an urban park, and 45,000 square feet of retail space, including a bank, a pharmacy, and a supermarket.