Town News

Board approves zoning changes for Green Acres


Zoning requirements at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream got a bit tighter on Tuesday as the Hempstead Town Board unanimously approved new legislation for its regional malls.

Green Acres and the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City are the only “regional shopping malls” — shopping centers with at least of one million square feet of gross leasable area within a single building — within the Town of Hempstead.

The legislation approved this week, following a public hearing last month, calls for establishing a maximum floor-area ratio — the ratio of a building’s floor space to the size of the land its on — for each of the malls. For regional shopping malls with a total floor area of less than three million square feet, like Green Acres, the maximum floor-area ratio is 0.75. In the case of Roosevelt Field, which has more than three million square feet of total floor area, its maximum floor-area ratio is 0.70.

Previously, there was no maximum floor-area ratio set for the Green Acres Mall. According to the legislation, which the Melville-based firm of Nelson, Pope & Voorhis LLC prepared, Green Acres currently has a floor-area ratio of 0.573.

Macerich, a California-based company that owns and operates regional shopping malls, recently purchased the Green Acres Mall in addition to the 13.3-acre Sunrise Multiplex parcel off Sunrise Highway. In its reports, Nelson, Pope & Voorhis stated that Macerich has indicated to the Town of Hempstead that it is planning improvements and expansions at the mall site involving the cinema parcel.

The report says that under the new legislation, the Green Acres mall “expansion potential would be significantly decreased” due to new building coverage and floor-area ratio requirements. “Two additional parking decks and a third story addition to an existing parking structure are estimated to be necessary to provide the required parking,” the report states.

Prior to the legislation’s approval, an additional 1.2 million square feet of gross leasable area could have been added to the mall, although with its passing, the site could still be expanded another 295,000 square feet.

Also included in the legislation are guidelines setting maximum building height at 75 feet, and the number of stories at four. A flat rate for the minimum number of parking spaces to be provided was added as well. For every 1,000 square feet of gross leasable area, 4.5 parking stalls are required so long as no more than 10 percent of the GLA is used for restaurants or theaters.

Additionally, no regional shopping malls are permitted to exceed a total floor area of 3.6 million square feet. Roosevelt Field currently stands at 3.22 million square feet.

“The regional shopping mall legislation passed by the Hempstead Town Board today marks an important step in controlling the size and growth of major shopping malls in our area,” said Supervisor Kate Murray. “The new law also establishes reasonable parking restrictions for these retail centers.”

The report was presented in August and a public hearing was held in September.