Organic grocery wins on appeal

Organic grocery wins on appeal
Members of the Roslyn Village Zoning Board of Appeals Bruce Young and Leslie Waltzer as well as Village Attorney John P. Gibbons. The zoning board approved an appeal from Full House Organic grocery store on Monday, allowing it to serve prepared foods.

A monthslong dispute between Roslyn Village and an incoming organic grocery store came to an end on Monday, when the Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved the store’s request to serve prepared foods like salads and sandwiches.

The owners of the store, Full House Organic, had said they would bring a lawsuit against the village if their appeal was denied.

“I’m pleased and we’re going to move forward,” said Gavin Racz, a co-owner with his wife, Judy Racz.

“The purpose of Full House Organic is to open a store that serves the community,” said Ian Poulos, the store owner’s legal representative. “We look forward to Full House Organic opening soon.”

Gavin Racz said the store will open this summer.

The board’s decision allows the store to sell prepared foods as long as they are made off-site. Foods like smoothies and sliced deli meats, which do  not require a kitchen, can be prepared on-site.

The store owners opened an off-site location in Mineola on Jan. 2 at which they plan to cook foods that will be delivered to and sold from the grocery store in Roslyn.

Early last year the store owners sought a special use permit from the village because they wanted to open their store at 10 Roosevelt Ave. in an area zoned for light retail. They received approval for the special use permit from the Board of Trustees on Feb. 16 and subsequently purchased the building and began renovations that included an on-site kitchen. 

After finding out their building permit would not allow an on-site kitchen, the store owners purchased the off-site location in Mineola.

But a Sept. 15 letter from Richard Belziti, the Roslyn building inspector, said the store could not sell prepared foods, even if they were made off-site.

The store owners appealed Belziti’s decision to the zoning board and distributed a petition that garnered 264 signatures in support of their effort to sell prepared foods.

The zoning board first addressed the dispute at Dec. 30 proceedings cut short due to an expletive uttered by Gavin Racz.

Neither Gavin Racz nor Judy Racz appeared at Monday’s continuation of the proceedings.

After brief remarks from Poulos, two community residents expressed support for the grocery store.

“The village could avail itself of an organic food purveyor,” said Carol Hoeber, a village resident. “Over there [on Roosevelt Avenue] they don’t have a parking problem like you do in the village. I’m in favor of it.”

Janet Galante, a former Roslyn mayor and a member of the Roslyn Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber had discussed its support for the opening of the store.

She asked the zoning board to “clarify what seems to be stalling this.”

“I don’t want the village to be seen as bad for business,” she added.

Leslie Waltzer, the chairperson of the zoning board, said the board was taking comments, not questions, from the public.

The board then voted unanimously to close the hearing and approve its decision in favor of the store. Board member Erik Longabardi was not in attendance.

“The goal was to sell prepared food, and Full House Organic will be able to do so,” Poulos said after the meeting, adding that the owners “appreciated the support from the residents and the surrounding community.”

Attempts to contact Roslyn Mayor John Durkin were unavailing. 

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