Tonight, the Incorporated Village of Farmingdale (“Farmingdale“) will consider amending its zoning code to expand permitted uses in its Downtown Mixed-Use Zoning District (“Downtown“). The proposed amendments will allow, among other things, legal and medical offices on the ground level of buildings. The changes  will allow more space for non-retail businesses and help to ensure Farmingdale’s Downtown remains vibrant, especially given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the retail sector.

Farmingdale established its Downtown in 2011, after its consideration of a Downtown Master Plan. The Downtown is designed to create and sustain an attractive and economically flourishing downtown, with transit-oriented development and an active, pedestrian-friendly Main Street, encouraging walking and bicycling. The Downtown, more or less, is an area running north and south along Main Street, from Melville Road to Route 109; it also includes an area surrounding Farmingdale’s Long Island Railroad Station. The Downtown is a well-known and well-regarded destination replete with restaurants, bars, shops, retailers, and professional offices.

Presently, along the Downtown’s Main Street, the zoning code prohibits ground level offices for doctors, dentists, physical therapists or other medical care providers, as well as those uses which require State or Federal licenses. Administrative, professional, medical and other office uses are permitted only on upper levels.

Farmingdale seeks to amend the Downtown zoning code to expand permitted uses without affecting parking. The proposed amendments will allow, as of right, ground level offices for lawyers, insurance agents, accountants, doctors, dentists, chiropractors or other health care providers licensed by the State. The amendments will also permit professional schools, learning centers, test preparation centers, and other similar uses on the ground level, whereas these uses are also currently limited to upper levels.

Farmingdale’s proposed amendments to its Downtown provide greater flexibility in arrangement of local businesses, and offer more support for brick-and-mortar services within the community.