“ROAD TO RONKONKOMA
A Long Island suburb fights sprawl.
While the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) debates assorted new shapes for suburban density in its new show Foreclosed, Long Island’s Ronkonkoma is just doing it. A redevelopment project at the Long Island Railroad’s Ronkonkoma Station in Brookhaven will use a form-based zoning code overlay. That’s a first on Long Island, and a possible model for growth there.
On February 7, Tritec Real Estate Company of East Setauket was named master developer for the Ronkonkoma Hub Transit-Oriented Development. Now a dispiriting patchwork of parking lots, light industry, and fitfully occupied storefronts, the site will get between 600 and 800 housing units and around 150,000 square feet of retail and offices arrayed across 54 acres.
But mixed-use by itself doesn’t guarantee good placemaking. The zoning overlay’s purpose is to yield “an urban sense of place,” said architect Stephen Gresham of Niles Bolton Associates, who is working on the project with Tritec. “Creating a street frontage, using build-to lines to eliminate huge suburban setbacks, and using architectural form descriptors” will also be part of the code, he added. Brookhaven supervisor Mark Lesko, a project champion, said, “I want that Main Street feel—bars, restaurants, coffee shops—where young folks want to go.”
Eventually, this transit village could be the center of a much larger node. There is a new technology park being planned across the tracks in Islip. In December, Empire State Development awarded $4 million for the design of a regional sewage treatment plant to serve both the technology park and the Ronkonkoma Hub.”
Via: The Architect’s Newspaper
Photo: REDEVELOPMENT AT THE LONG ISLAND RAILROADDS RONKONKOMA STATION IN BROOKHAVEN WILL USE FORM-BASED ZONING. COURTESY TOWN OF BROOKHAVEN