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North Main Street Redevelopment FAQ
Project Basics
  • What is the goal of this project?
    • To work closely with the community to develop a Master Plan for the Village of Freeport's North Main Street Corridor and Station Area that results in a "Better Freeport" for all residents and visitors.
  • Which area does the project cover, and which areas will be impacted when implemented?
    • The project area includes the entire length of North Main Street from Freeport's northern border at Roosevelt to its terminus at Sunrise Highway. The project also encompasses the LIRR station and the half-mile radius around it, including the downtown retail center on South Main Street, Henry Street, Church Street and Merrick Road. The area does not include the Nautical Mile. Aerial view of North Main Street
  • Was there public input into this process?
    • This is a community-driven process that has involved the residents of Freeport since the very beginning. Public meetings to gather community input were held on September 15, 2009, October 14, 2009, and over a week-long period from October 26 to 30, 2009. ADRAT the Master Planwill be presented on January 28, 2010, and a final public release will take place in late winter 2010. In total, more than 350 residents took part in developing the Master Plan.

      Additionally, a project Steering Committee was established that is comprised of a diverse selection of residents, business and property owners, civic and religious institutions and elected officials to guide the Project Team on an ongoing basis. Steering Committee members played a very active role in project development and outreach, and they also provided valuable feedback to every step of the project, representing the interests of the greater community.
  • I don't live in the project area. Why should I care about it?
    • While the Master Plan is being developed fora portion of the village, the impact of implementing the Master Plan will provide benefits for all Freeport residents and will serve to interconnect the village from North Main Street to the Nautical Mile. Benefits of the project are described below.
  • What will be the benefit for the entire village?
    • When implemented, this project will result in the development of a new, vibrant, mixed-use center around the Freeport rail station, as well as an improved North Main Street with visual and functional improvements and new retail and residential nodes. Following implementation of the Plan, the project area will become a safer, more walkable community that provides places for a diversity of people to live, work, shop and play.

      New greenways and parks, calmer, tree-lined streets and centers for entertainment are only a few of the community benefits that also will bring in much-needed tax revenue to relieve the burden of current taxpayers. In total, the Village of Freeport will become a destination, transit-oriented community that serves as an example for how to revitalize downtown areas and commercial strips for the entire Island.
  • Who is developing the Master Plan?
    • The Village of Freeport has hired a team of experts with experience in planning, policy, urban design, sustainability and community outreach. The team is comprised of Regional Plan Association, an independent, nonprofit planning and advocacy group based in New York City, with a Long Island program; Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists, a highly reputable national firm based in Pasadena, Calif., that specializes in community design; and Sustainable Long Island, a grassroots, nonprofit group that facilitates sustainable development in communities across the island.  

Financials
  • What is the total cost of the visioning project?
    • To develop the Vision for a Better Freeport, the total project cost is $300,000. Implementing the project will require further costs that will come from a variety of sources over time.
  • How is this project funded?
    • The $300,000 visioning project that will result in a Master Plan was made possible with funds secured by U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy; through Nassau County's Community Visioning Initiative grant; and through a Community Development Block Grant secured by the village. Additional funds for the project were provided by Bethpage Federal Credit Union.
  • How will this project affect my taxes?
    • By revitalizing the village through compact, mixed-use development, this project is expected to bring increased tax revenue for the village, which will help to relieve the tax burden on current property owners.
  • Will this project create jobs?
    • The Master Plan envisions the development of about 168,000 square feet of new retail and more than 63,000 square feet of new commercial space, which will open up a variety of new employment opportunities in the heart of the village. In addition, the temporary construction jobs that will be created by implementing this plan also will be significant.
  • Will the village assist business and other property owners with matching grants?
    • In general, this will have to be decided on a case-by-case basis during different phases of the project. The village currently is applying for funding that will assist property owners in certain sections of the project area.

Crime & Security
  • How will this project impact the crime in the area?
    • The reduction of crime, in particular around the station area, is one of the greatest concerns voiced by residents throughout the community input process. Reducing crime in the area will come about through a variety of measures. First and most importantly are the actions taken by the Mayor to improve surveillance and bolster police efforts in higher crime areas. Making crime harder to commit and its consequences more severe will do a lot to chase away the crime in this area and allow for the implementation of the Master Plan.

      Additionally, investments in the area stemming from the Master Plan, from streetscape improvements to full development of vacant lots into mixed-use buildings, is likely to have a dramatic effect on crime in the area. Crime most often occurs where there are few investments and no "eyes on the street." One of the early actions recommended in the Master Plan for the station area is to establish a police substation at the base of the rail station overlooking the recommended community green. Finally, investing in the area with features like parks and community centers brings about community stewardship for these shared resources, while developing mixed-use retail and residential places infuse the area with people and activity, which can further deter crime. Through these combined efforts, a thriving, vibrant Freeport with enhanced protection and surveillance will help to make crime a thing of the past.

Implementation
  • How long will the plan take to be implemented?
    • Implementation of the plan is laid out over three phases, with initial work being completed within a year or less. Full implementation could take up to 10-15 years, depending on economic conditions, but significant progress will be made in each year. Many of the early actions in Phase I, which include streetscape improvements to North Main Street and facade improvements to existing buildings throughout the project area, will be implemented very soon.
  • How will the ideas in the Master Plan be implemented?
    • The ideas that were gathered from the community, developed by the team of planners and architects and presented in the Master Plan will come to life over three phases:
  • When the Master Plan is implemented, will it affect my home or business?
    • Implementation of the plan will rely largely on redeveloping sites that are currently abandoned, underutilized or used for parking while making improvements to existing buildings. This type of development allows for new development at minimum impact to existing uses. For those sites where there are current uses that will be changed (i.e. an industrial site that is envisioned as a mixed-use building), this will be achieved in later phases of the project where economic conditions are more likelyto encourage such shifts in land uses. This Plan encourages the village to work with willing property and building owners who wish to make improvements and/or additions to existing buildings orwho are interested in selling their property for other uses.
  • Will this project create more housing? If so, what kind of housing?
    • The Master Plan envisions the creation of about 1,400 units of new housing made up of a mixture of rental and ownership at affordable and market rates.
  • Will this project create more retail and commercial space? What types?
    • The Master Plan envisions the creation of 168,000 square feet of new retail space and more than63,000 square feet of commercial space. The retail envisioned includes a mixture of local Mom-and-Pop-type shops, along with national retailers that have branched out from mall locations and are being incorporated into downtowns across the country. The commercial space will be suitable for such uses as medical offices, legal firms and other professional services.
  • How will this project create a neighborhood where people will want to live, work and play?
    • Freeport already is a destination for many people, particularly those visiting the Nautical Mile and making connections to Jones Beach. Enhancing the area around the station will serve to attract people, who normally pass through to these other destinations, to come and stay for a while, buy a sandwich from a local shop, eat in the park and maybe even begin to consider living there. People will pass through on the train and think, "Freeport looks great!" The fine qualities of the village thatexistalready --its community spirit and pride, its diversity and its resources, only will become more abundant to more people through implementation of this project.

Plan Phases
Phase I - North Main Street Corridor and Core Station Area
  • Streetscape improvements, including street trees, street furniture, attractive lighting, sinking the utility cables, and traffic-calming, will be made to North Main Street.
  • Facade improvements to existing buildings.
  • Conversion of parking fields in the Core Station Area into other uses, including:
    • The triangular lot currently used for parking north of the station is re-envisioned as a community green, a gathering place for residents to relax and recreate. Other lots immediately around the rail station will be used for mixed-use residential buildings and a 150-room hotel south of the tracks
    • Parking lost at these lots will be captured in a decked garage north of the station, through shared parking around the station and within some of the buildings that will be developed.
    • Efforts to calm the traffic on Sunrise Highway will facilitate greater connections between the southern and northern sectors of the village.

Phase II- Further expansion around the core and in the North Main Street Corridor

The vibrancy and place-making established in Phase I will trigger additional investment in the village and allow for the following in Phase II:

  • Expansion of mixed-use and residential redevelopment at sites to the east and south of the immediate station area.
  • Phase I streetscape improvements along North Main Street will help to attract investment in residential and mixed-use nodes along the corridor.

Phase III- Completion of projects and expansion to the west of the Station

  • The completion of mixed-use development around the Rail Station and along North Main Street.
  • Mixed-use commercial and residential development to the west of the station along Sunrise Highway.

Key to all of these steps happening will be the village embracing the Master Plan and working closely with developers and investors to carry out these phases. Additionally, funding opportunities through federal, state and county programs, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street program and Nassau County's Empire Zone benefits program, can help to implement some of the steps. The village has been promised $10 million from the county to make the Phase I streetscape

 

Impacts
  • What will happen to the existing businesses in the Study Area when the plan is implemented?
    • Businesses currently operating in the study area will be presented with opportunities to become part of the implementation of the Master Plan. Incentives for facade redevelopment will be identified, credits for growing (such as Empire Zone benefits) will be identified and village officials knowledgeable about the Master Plan will work closely with existing businesses to ensure they receive the many benefits and understand how to comply with Master Plan recommendations.
  • What incentives will there be for developers?
    • There will be a number of incentives for developers looking to act upon the Master Plan's recommendations. First, the Master Plan serves as a guide to the village as they consider proposals for development in the community. The Master Plan gives the village the advantage of choosing developers open to the recommendations of the Master Plan. Second, because the Master Plan was developed with strong community input, it helps to guide the way to the kind of development that is desired in the area. Following the recommendations of the community-endorsed Master Plan, developers can avoid the community resistance that can often accompany new development.

      Finally, by developing a form-based code as part of the Master Plan, developers that adhere to the code can avoid the bureaucratic red-tape that can often hold up development proposals and speed up the approval of projects that adhere to the code, saving valuable resources. "Form-based code" is a tool that guides development to meet specific standards for the physical structure being developed and how it relates to the public realm and the other buildings around it. By applying this new zoning code to specific areas throughout the downtown, developers know what they can build where, and their finished product results in an attractive, more walkable and vibrant community.
  • If I already have a business and site plan and my site is in the Study Area, how can I find out if they comply with the coming Master Plan?
    • Since the final Master Plan will not be released until later this winter, any projects being developed now do not have the benefit of conforming to the code in the Master Plan. However, if you are willing to share your design and site plans with the Freeport Community Development Agency (CDA), that department will coordinate with the study team to review and make recommendations for the site plans to better conform to the new code.