Residents protest proposed Floral Park lot subdivison

Residents protest proposed Floral Park lot subdivison
Mayor Kevin M. Fitzgerald. (Photo courtesy of Kevin M. Fitzgerald)

A proposed lot subdivision, drainage issues and an incoming convenience store took center stage at the Floral Park Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.

The architectural review board held a meeting on Feb. 21 to discuss a proposed subdivision of 32 Orchid St. in which builders would remove the existing house and replace it with two new houses on the lot.

Trustee Michael Longobardi emphasized that this meeting was just to review the subdivision itself and determine if the proposal complies with the building code, and that it was not a final decision on the building of two houses.

Longobardi said the official proposal for the two new houses is set for a review tentatively scheduled for March 27.

Jackie O’Donohue, a lifelong Floral Park resident, protested the lot division proposal.

“I, along with many of my neighbors, are frustrated not only that this is allowed, but by the process leading up to its approval,” said O’Donohue.

O’Donohue has come to appreciate the small differences in Floral Park guidelines compared to neighboring Queens, such as residents not being able to leave their cars parked on the street overnight or having to receive variances from neighbors to build pools on their property, she said.

She said the lot subdivision proposal requires a public hearing before a final decision can be made. O’Donohue claimed that a decision had already been made in the lot subdivision proposal and that residents were not made aware of this decision.

“It further reiterates that our voices don’t matter, a fact that I take issue with,” said O’Donohue.

There seemed to be confusion from residents when it came to the legality of the lot subdivision.

O’Donohue questioned why a variance was not required by neighbors on Orchid St. to approve the lot subdivision and two new houses.

Mayor Kevin M. Fitzgerald responded that a variance is not required from neighbors to approve the proposal. He added that the meeting was not to approve the two new houses, but only to discuss the subdivision of the property, which is legal without a variance from neighbors.

The resident also referenced a moratorium on lot subdivisions that was put in place by the village.

“I’ve lived in Floral Park all my life,” said O’Donohue. “I’ve never known a lot to be split like this.”

She said that the moratorium had been in place for 20 years and questioned why it would be lifted to allow this subdivision on Orchid Street.

But Fitzgerald explained that the moratorium was a temporary hold on subdivisions.

Gerard Bambrick, the village administrator and treasurer, said the moratorium was put in place 20 years ago, but it was temporary and only actually in place for about six to nine months.

Both Fitzgerald and Bambrick said that many lot subdivisions have taken place in Floral Park.

Another resident, Sal, was also concerned about the proposed lot subdivision. He said the two new houses would occupy three times the lot space as the original home because of the proposed spacious square footage.

The resident said the school district will not be able to afford an influx of students from future lot subdivisions, which may lead to more families moving into the village. He said he also worried that taxes would increase and younger homebuyers would be dissuaded from moving into the village because of high mortgages.

Drainage issues clogged up meeting time, as residents complained about alleged long-standing sewage problems.

One resident, John, said there is no drainage on his home street.

Another resident, Marina, backed up John, complaining about consistent sewage and drainage problems in her neighborhood.

“It’s always hopeful to hear the word drainage mentioned at this meeting,” said Marina. “It’s apprehensive when you hear the weather forecast.”

Marina said the sewers in her neighborhood often back up as a result of flooding. There was a huge sewage backup in her home and her neighbors’ homes on Jan. 15, she said. She said that a new study on the sewers needs to be done to fix the underground pipes.

Fitzgerald said the board is working on securing funding from both Nassau County and Rep. Anthony D’Esposito to fund an amibitious drainage project that is estimated to cost around $5 million.

There were also two resolutions for engineering services in drainage areas on the agenda, according to board members.

Board members also spoke to applicants for a new convenience store set to open in Floral Park.

The store will offer cigars, cigarettes, candy, snacks, gum, beer and other goods for sale, although not to be consumed within the store.

Board members emphasized that the store cannot sell vape products or devices or marijuana to comply with official policies. The store owners are hoping to support the local community by selling locally brewed craft beer.

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