Developing a dialogue about development

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Valley Stream’s Board of Trustees voted to change the village code in January, which now allows hotels to be built in commercial zones which border busy roadways and rail lines. In an effort to attract a high-quality hotel, the code established guidelines for any hotel to come into the village. All hotels must have one common entrance, 24-hour desk service in addition to one of more of the following: maid, telephone or bellboy service, or the furnishing or laundering of linens. The rooms must have “transient occupancy” which prevents people from making the room their home, and kitchen facilities are also prohibited in the rooms.

Mayor Ed Fare said he and other village officials meet weekly with developers who are looking to start projects in the village, but there are many variables when deciding where to purchase land. He said there are currently two hotel developers who are interested in the area, but nothing is certain.

“While the village can be helpful and the Building Department can be helpful,” Fare said, “we still have to deal with the economy and who is and who isn’t willing to sell their properties.”

Fare added that a common problem that arises is when the owner of a neighboring property gets wind of a developer coming into the area, they request an astronomical price for their piece of land, which then turns off the developer. “Our own people are driving out the development,” he said.

Trustee Vincent Grasso said that in his meetings with developers, he often hears that Valley Stream is in a prefect location since it is a short train ride to New York City.

David Sabatino, president of Envision, added that Valley Stream sells itself with its proximity to the beach and city. He said it is important for residents to educate themselves on what’s happening in their community so they can ask the right questions when plans for commercial spaces are being considered.

“The more we expand the tax base,” he said, “the better it will be on your pocketbook, or wallet, or whatever you carry your money in. If you expand your tax base, it’s going to pay dividends to your community.”

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