Village gives nod to Jamaica Avenue apartment


A proposal to build an apartment complex at 54 and 68 W. Jamaica Avenue was approved for final site development plan review by the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals on Feb. 28 during the regular meeting of the board of trustees. The village board voted unanimously to amend the zoning map from a C-1 district, a residential and commercial zone, to a CA-district, or floating zone at 68 West Jamaica Avenue.

The floating zone change covers a 5,000-square-foot parcel of residential property to be added to a 20,000-square-foot property to make way for the construction of a high-density, multi-family apartment complex at the southeast corner of South Corona and West Jamaica avenues

Last June 21, the village board voted unanimously to change the 20,000-square-foot parcel of land in a multi-family residential and commercial district. Originally, the change was meant to pave the way for the construction of the new apartment building at 54 W. Jamaica Ave. But plans were halted and revised by the Jamaica Holdings LLC developer to accommodate the addition of 68 W. Jamaica.

The revised plans have bumped up the density to 63 apartment units, a 34 percent increase, doubling the number of studio apartments from eight to 16, and adding eight new one-bedroom units. First-floor parking also increased from 43 to 56 parking spots.

According to a statement of recommendation made by the village’s Community and Economic Development team during the meeting, “The Community Economic Development team finds the current application…to be in the best interest of the village of Valley Stream and should be approved. The addition of this property to the approved project at 54 West Jamaica Avenue will expand investment in our downtown and our tax base. This project will enhance the safety and beauty of an important corridor between our downtown and train station.”

The statement further explained that the development team negotiated with the developer to provide a contribution of $268,000 to the village’s community benefit fund.

The applicant has also addressed concerns of the neighboring firehouse by revising the site layout and [close off the building exit] to the rear of the firehouse and has agreed to provide affordable units and pay the full value of village taxes if IDA (Industrial Development Agencies) benefits are received for this project, according to the statement.

Dominick Minerva, attorney for the developer, detailed noteworthy features of the apartment complex including:

Rooftop deck for residents and community room and lounge

Trash room on each floor with a trash shoot

Installed energy-efficient installations such as LED lighting and energy-efficient windows

“…the applicant may, though it’s not fully determined yet, apply to the IDA (Industrial Development Agencies) for assistance and if he does so, the applicant is willing to agree to fully reimburse the village in village taxes,” Minerva stated.

Resident Mike Belfiore asked the board whether the village has applied the provisions of the New York State Long Island Workforce Housing

Act to the development project, to which Mayor Edwin Fare replied,

“…We follow the letter of the law.”

“Are there any particulars of that [in regard to complying with the law] to be found on the record?” asked Belfiore. “No,” Fare responded.   

“This [project] is proposed as a market-rate development. If the applicant does apply to the IDA agency, then they will have to comply with their requirements for affordable units…but if that application is not accepted, it will all be market-rate,” affirmed Minerva.

“…It really is the job of the village to apply the act, but if there are no details…there are no details,” argued Belfiore. 

The Long Island Workforce Housing Act requires housing projects that include five or more residential units either to set aside 10 percent of a project’s units for workforce or affordable housing — priced for families making 130 percent of the median income in the area or less — or construct affordable housing elsewhere in the municipality or pay a fee.