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Your Ideas: Building a Hauppauge Village Green

Many people agree there should be one, but differ on where a town center should develop.

For about a week, Hauppauge Patch has asked locals to think about where they'd like to see a town center or village green set up in Hauppauge, in response to a general consensus that the community lacks any central meeting point to gather.

Their ideas are below, gathered on our Hauppauge Patch Facebook page or as comments on this site.

For starters, on Facebook, Scott Kern said, "Just redevelop the old Sears shopping center. Everything else in there goes under anyway." That storefront has been vacant since May.

"How about across the street from the HYO complex...?" said Robert Gennari, while Patti Hearne Wolf suggested, "The vacant property on 111 next to Moloneys. We need a village square!"

Rhoda Goldman Tauber added, "Just where it was before it was torn down. At the start of the bypass by Carvel" where routes 347 and 454 meet. But Maureen Connolly Napolitano said, "How about where Smithtown General was?" referring to the vacant grounds of the former hospital that are still cluttered with rubble today since being knocked down in 2007.

Russell Lloyd, however, took a more cynical tone. "If we had a village square, they'd just build a CVS and a 7-11 on it anyway. This 'village' is toast."

Comments on Patch came mostly from Christopher D'Antonio, who laid out a plan he is pushing that aims to bring a village feel back to Hauppauge and ease problems such as transportation and traffic.

"I see three sites with enormous potential based on their current layout, uses, and location in the 'center' of Hauppauge," he said.

"1. Redeveloping Atrium Plaza to front the building onto Wheeler Road, and investing in the vacant land to the west of it as a green or tearing up the parking lot on the east side of Atrium Plaza and constructing a small green with a bioswale or large rain garden representative of the springs which lend Hauppauge its name, and relocating the parking spaces lost to the vacant land to the west of Atrium Plaza as a public parking lot.

"2. Redeveloping the Branchinelli's Shopping Center with an eye toward preserving the existing businesses but perhaps adding on a floor with apartments above and a public plaza on the corner of Townline and Wheeler.

"3. Covering the parking in front of Shoprite and A.C. Moore with a sturdy landscaped roof and connecting it to the hill to the southwest to provide breathtaking vistas and a unique public square."

If you have any other ideas, share them below.

Christopher D'Antonio January 26, 2013 at 01:20 AM
Just to respond to Russell Lloyd's comment regarding the transformation of a village square into a CVS or 7/11. Any area which would become a square in Hauppauge would require the purposeful action of the Town of Smithtown or Islip. It would have to be supported by a plan for the hamlet and at least a nod of assent from its inhabitants. Take the vacant parcel next to Moloney's on Route 111 for instance. It is presently zoned Business 1 in the Town of Islip so it could be developed into retail stores as it stands. Any effort to turn it into a village square should be accompanied by a change of zone to a residential zone which only permits parks, houses, and schools and a deed covenant perpetually restricting the property to use as a park. That would almost certainly ensure its existence and prevent the whims of development from sweeping it up, but as it stands it is unprotected in the least.
Christopher D'Antonio January 26, 2013 at 01:21 AM
To paraphrase the Lorax, if we don't care a whole awful lot, then nothing will change, no it will not.
Christopher D'Antonio January 26, 2013 at 01:26 AM
I actively encourage anyone with ideas or designs for Hauppauge, however pie in the sky or far-fetched, to please let me know so I can incorporate them as ideas for a draft plan to create a hamlet center for Hauppauge.
Dave b January 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Will this proposed Village Square raise our taxes?
R U Meyer January 26, 2013 at 04:53 PM
This won't be very popular, but does the High School really need all that land? They could lease some of the land facing 111 and Townline, develop it into an attractive and inviting strip of shops and then rent them, making some money for the school district.
Christopher D'Antonio January 26, 2013 at 07:00 PM
R U Meyer, I would like to see the development of that strip be combined with some good public spaces, even small plazas. I am not sure whether the school district can get involved in business outside of education, so an alternative might be for the School District to work with the Town of Islip to sell the land with zoning and covenants associated with it to ensure that it would only be developed in accordance with what the community would prefer. I think a small step in the right direction would be to get the High School to improve its frontage on Route 111 and Townline by pulling the fence back 20 feet to right in front of the electronic sign, plant a few trees in front of it and connect the sidewalk from where it ends in front of the High School now with the sidewalk in front of the Fire Department (by means of a slightly meandering path to give it a more rural character.)
Christopher D'Antonio January 26, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Dave B, it depends on the quality of the village square that gets built and its impact on the surrounding businesses. If it attracts new business which could benefit from its presence, such as restaurants with outdoor dining fronting onto it or increases traffic in the businesses near to it than the affect on our taxes might be neutral or possibly positive. If the square gets developed as part of a larger private development then it would likely not result in an increase in our taxes but then there may be restrictions on it and its use which the wider community might not be happy with. If we take the vacant parcel adjacent to Moloney's for example. It presently is assessed taxes as vacant commercial land because it is zoned for Businesses. Developing it as a village square would likely require the town to purchase it, unless a community association or businesses in Hauppauge raised money for it. Doing this would effectively remove it from paying taxes and the money used to purchase it would have come from town funds or community donations. So it would seem that taxes across the entire town and in our school district could go up, but I would suggest that the effect would be minimal given that it is one vacant parcel amongst thousands in the town and possibly a couple thousand in the Hauppauge School District.
Christopher D'Antonio January 26, 2013 at 07:21 PM
If the square becomes part of a wider plan to make the center of our community more appealing and entices people to stay a while and spend closer to home then it would definitely have the potential to offset any minimal increase in the tax burden it creation would have. But just as the square would require our thought and consideration, so would the accompanying changes we could leverage with it.
Christopher D'Antonio January 26, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Some good examples of what we could look to are: - The square next to the Nesconset Library - Northport Park at the end of Northport's Main Street - The square in front of Oakdale's train station - The small square on the east side of Lake Avenue in St. James, south of the train station - Or to get somewhat ambitious, Heckscher Park near Huntington village
RC January 26, 2013 at 09:23 PM
The traffic on rt 111 is a major problem , residents do there best to avoid it .
Christopher D'Antonio January 27, 2013 at 09:15 PM
RC, in the article "Where Should Hauppauge's Town Center, Village Green Be? " I detailed several means we could consider for improving traffic flow on Route 111. A village square likely would not increase traffic during the peak periods when congestion is most severe but could potentially result in people staying a bit longer to enjoy the square if they head in to the center of Hauppauge for a bite to eat, to go shopping, or simply to enjoy a walk if the pedestrian network were made more accessible and pleasant, with our sidewalk gaps being resolved, the deployment of street trees and brick pavers/ decorative concrete where warranted, and striping crosswalks and associated signage where they are needed. This needs to be a coordinated investment between the state, county, towns, and school district if it is to be pursued. New York State would be responsible for Route 111, Suffolk County for Townline, Smithtown for Brooksite Drive, and Islip for Lincoln Boulevard, and potentially the school district for its frontage on Route 111.
VT January 30, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Christopher ... sounds good on paper , but the traffic problem on 111 will always be . Good luck .
Christopher D'Antonio January 31, 2013 at 02:02 AM
VT- There are roughly 3000 Hauppaugians who live within a 10 minute walk of the center of Hauppauge. The rest of us live no farther than 1 hour's walking distance or a 20 minute bike ride from the center of our community. If the ride or walk there was pleasant and safe from all directions and the buildings or site plans were reworked for the convenience of people walking or cycling in addition to those driving then I could see the traffic problem becoming that much less of an issue for native Hauppaugians.
Christopher D'Antonio January 31, 2013 at 02:17 AM
We live in a great place, with good community institutions, some notable restaurants and businesses, a vibrant history below the surface, and some excellent community design features. The question becomes, if given a more ideal environment, would people come out of their homes more often and enjoy the wider community. Branchinelli's is already packed on a Friday night, the track at the High School sees a lot of after hour use, the library hosts well-attended programs on an almost nightly basis, the high school draws over a thousand students into the community center every weekday for most of the year and there are plenty of synergies between the retail and restaurant uses and the office uses during the day and after work is over. Can we tap into to this and make it work to the benefit of our community and the identity it enjoys amongst us and the face it presents to the wider world, or are we content with going elsewhere to enjoy things like outdoor dining, pleasant jogging routes, quality public spaces, an appreciation of history, the showcasing of natural environment, and attractive shopping areas. I see us denying ourselves the pleasant aspects of hamlets like Islip, Sayville, Port Jefferson, and Huntington and I just wonder why we can't pursue our own version of what makes them pleasant.

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