New Hyde Park Mayor Christopher Devane said it is time to reimagine developments on Jericho Turnpike during the village’s first board of trustees meeting of the year Thursday night.
“Our old way of doing things in the village with mixed-use retail and apartments on top does not work,” Devane said. “Don’t take my word for it. Look around Jericho Turnpike for the last 30 years.”
Devane told Blank Slate Media the “once in a generation” chance stems from the recent purchase of Miller Brothers Plumbing and Heating and the need to bring an influx of development to the area.
Devane said the property is one of the deepest from the turnpike and he sees it as a linchpin for the surrounding area. When speaking with the developer, he said there should be more amenities to offer.
“From a village standpoint we are trying to improve the quality of our stores and buildings so it becomes an attractive place to live and shop,” Devane said. “And if we do it right, other owners can tell themselves if we fix up our buildings too, people will pay top dollar to live in the apartments above.”
Over the past year, New Hyde Park has begun the process of making major improvements to its village properties, including ongoing construction for a new playground at Memorial Park, renovations at village hall and knocking down the Marcus G. Christ Community Center to build a new one.
Last year, the village unveiled a new bocce ball court at Memorial Park and the Donald Barbieri Dog Park.
The mayor said once any plans are finalized for applications for new developments after Miller Brothers is knocked down, they will be presented to the public.
“This is an opportunity at that property to re-envision the Jericho Corridor,” Devane said. “I’m in this spot as mayor because for the last 50 years I’ve lived in this village. When I drive down Jericho and turn left and turn right, there is no rhyme or reason to the stores we have.”
Similar concerns have been brought up by neighboring villages.
This month Great Neck Estates adopted plans to establish a business overlay district on its portion of Middle Neck Road. Overlay zones create special zoning districts on previously established districts that can allow for additional criteria.
Mayor William Warner said the village, in conjunction with BFJ Planning, has been working on developing the overlay district plan for more than a year in efforts to revitalize not just the village’s portion of Middle Neck Road, but the peninsula’s business district.
In December, the Mineola Board of Trustees voted unanimously to create new business overlay districts on part of Jericho Turnpike and downtown to give the village more flexibility when considering future developments.
Mineola Mayor Paul Pereira said the need came from a retail landscape that has changed in recent years.
Devane said any decisions on whether or not to create new overlay districts would come at a later date, but he has spoken about these issues with local mayors such as Pereira and Kevin Fitzgerald in Floral Park, among others.
“This is a huge thing for us,” Devane said. “We going to get it right and that’s the whole goal. We need to reimagine it.”