ROOFTOP VIEW Jack Martins, Mineola’s mayor, with the Marquis at Mineola to the left, says developing the downtown will help improve the quality of life for everyone in the village.
from The New York Times
by Marcelle S. Fischler
IF every acre of unprotected open space on Long Island were developed with single-family homes, the landscape could hold another 90,000 homes. On the other hand, if erected as town houses, garden apartments and apartment buildings, the same 90,000 units could be built in downtown areas, utilizing about half of the 8,300 acres — or 13 square miles — of available parking lots, vacant land or open space on the Island.
How the area can grow, what it will take to be economically viable going forward, as well as how much and what type of new development is possible and preferable, is the focus of the 2010 Long Island Index released last week. The study and an accompanying interactive map (www.longislandindexmaps.org) examined 156 places, including 111 classified as downtowns.
Nancy R. Douzinas, the president of the Rauch Foundation, the report’s benefactor, said that such transit-oriented development would increase property tax revenues and be “a boost to the local economy.”
“If there is a place to invest, it is this type of development,” Ms. Douzinas said. “It is not a drain because you don’t have to build a new infrastructure.”
Focusing on new housing in downtowns could also help meet the needs of younger people, who without affordable alternatives are leaving the Island, and empty nesters seeking different options, said Ann Golub, the director of the Long Island Index.
Twenty-nine downtowns were identified as having high potential for attracting new housing and jobs, among them mixed-use centers like Mineola and Hempstead as well as smaller downtowns like Riverhead and Wyandanch, said Christopher Jones, the author of the report and the vice president for research of the Regional Plan Association, which is based in Manhattan. There were Long Island Rail Road stops in 111 of the 156 places studied.