During the most recent Town of North Hempstead board meeting, the town board approved a resolution declaring themselves the lead agency for an environmental review pertaining to an application from Southern Land Company (SLC)—a Nashville, Tennessee-based real estate development company. SLC filed an application to the Town of North Hempstead in November 2020 and is seeking a change in zoning from “Residence-AAA” to “multiple residence” for the property located at 145 West Shore Rd. in Port Washington. The applicant is proposing to construct a seven-level, 176-unit multiple residence on the 7.17-acre, partially-underwater property.
Gordon Tepper, the director of communications for the Town of North Hempstead stated in an email that declaring the town as the lead agency for the environmental review is the first step in the process and no public hearings have been held as of yet. Tepper further stated that this application is “expected to be a lengthy process,” but did not comment further on the matter.
SLC feels that this particular area is a prime location for real estate given the waterfront access and stated that there is “a substantial need for multi-family housing on the North Shore of Nassau County.”
“Southern Land believes it has found a parcel with tremendous potential that, when completed, will offer significant environmental, financial and public benefits to the entire Port Washington peninsula community,” Dustin Downey, senior vice president of Southern Land Company, said.
The site is currently home to a sand and gravel company, but over the years the property has become rundown. Since the early design phase of the project, SLC has been working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to assess all aspects of environmental restoration and with local environmental groups to understand the property’s ecosystem. Environmental clean up of the site is expected to cost between $5-9 million dollars.
“This includes, but is not limited to, removing or remediating hundreds of contaminated piles from the water; removing environmentally hazardous debris from the water and shoreline, including industrial tires, old boats and abandoned cars; removing any sunken vessels we may find in the water; and removing steel cribbing from the water and shoreline,” Downey said.
SLC is proposing one, two and three-bedroom rental units in the complex. The smallest one-bedroom unit will be 870-square-feet. The largest two-bedroom unit will be 1,544 square feet. There will be a total of nine three-bedroom units at approximately 1,810 square feet. Approximate rent costs will range from $3,450 to $11,000 per month. Part of the project will include one and two-bedroom units available to future residents earning up to 80 percent of the area’s median income (AMI).
The development company is also exploring plans for a marina that would include a publicly accessible pier and a total of 30 boat slips available for rent among residents and the general public. They are also hoping to include a public promenade that would connect their project with North Hempstead Beach Park.
In order to move the process forward, the town must comply with three actions under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in order to determine the potential environmental impacts that the proposed changes to the zoning may have on the surrounding area.
In the first action, the town must declare themselves the lead agency in the project. This gives the town jurisdiction over the project, allowing them to oversee and coordinate the environmental review process.
Second, the town must issue a determination of significance as to whether “the proposed action has potentially significant adverse environmental impacts which warrant further investigation in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). In this case, the town has identified impacts to tidal wetland habitat, water supply, traffic volume, aesthetics and the use and enjoyment of the adjacent public beach/park, among others, as potentially significant.
Lastly, the town must set a date for a public scoping session. Under the SEQRA regulations, the public is given the opportunity to offer suggestions as to what should be included in the EIS. Examples include “specific locations to perform traffic analysis or times of day to take noise readings. The scoping session only covers the contents for the EIS and is not a hearing to discuss the merits of the project. The town does not respond to comments raised during the scoping session. Instead, a scope will be issued shortly after the end of the public comment period. A public hearing on the merits of the application will follow the completion of the draft phase of the EIS.”
“We are setting the date for the public scoping session tentatively for March 23 at 6 p.m. when the applicant, other involved agencies and any interested parties from the community will have the opportunity to comment on the scope of the issues to be considered during the environmental review,” Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte said at the Jan. 21 meeting.
For more information or to receive updates on the project, visit 145westshoreroad.com. The Town of North Hempstead will hold their next meeting on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. via livestream.