The Mineola Board of Trustees on Wednesday night unanimously voted to approve an application to redevelop the current site of Piccola Bussola, which burned down in an August 2020 fire, into a four-story residential building.
“It’s been long enough,” Mineola Mayor Paul Pereira said before motioning to vote. “The project fits into the overlay district and what we envisioned when we discussed it, had hearings and voted on it.”
The development is the first to be in the new Jericho Turnpike overlay district, one of two the village board established last December to give Mineola more flexibility when considering future developments.
The restaurant, located at 159 Jericho Turnpike, was destroyed in an August 2020 electrical fire along with four apartments on the second floor. Rebuilding the restaurant is not possible because the building itself predates the village’s current building codes, according to village officials.
“The restaurant would only be a restaurant as long as I was there,” restaurant owner Tony Lubrano said to Blank Slate Media after the hearing. “This is something I can pass on to my family.”
The proposal would create a four-story building with 27 parking spots on the ground floor and 18 residential units on the top three.
Within the building itself, there would be 11 parking spots on the ground floor and 16 spots in the property’s parking lot.
On the second through fourth floors, there would be a total of six two-bedroom units and 12 one-bedroom units.
New zoning regulations allow projects to exceed the village’s maximum height of 25 feet but not exceed 40 feet within the overlay districts. The proposal includes a roof 40 feet high with parapets that are 4’8”.
David Mammina, the architect for the application, said the building’s brick facade and parapet design is similar to the building two doors down on Jericho Turnpike that fits within the aesthetics of the village.
“Speaking to the parameters of the new zoning and having context within the community, I looked and asked myself what would Mineola look like if it was the 1930s and what would those buildings look like,” Mammina said during his presentation. “We are trying to make something that resembles the environment around it, and I think we achieved that.”
The project would take approximately 18 months to complete once construction begins, which is unknown at this time, Mammina said.
Mammina added the location is unique because of the ingress and egress on Washington Avenue and that there would not be added fluctuation to traffic on the turnpike.
Questions from the trustees centered around security, garbage scheduling and maintenance.
Deputy Mayor Janine Sartori suggested Lubrano and Mammina look into adding to the outside of the front of the building to provide more character and blend in with the village, which Mammina said he is already looking into regarding outside lighting and signage.
“We’re trying to reenvision something that is going to be there for a very long time, and adding those details to make it feel more welcoming in our community would really be wonderful,” Sartori said.
“We’re looking at this project not as what do I want to do but as a collaboration between what’s good for me and what’s good for the village,” Lubrano said. “Whatever suggestions, recommendations or priorities you have, we are open to them.”
Joel Harris, a Mineola Chamber of Commerce member alongside Lubrano, said he was a proponent of the project and allowing people to use what Jericho Turnpike has to offer.
“Although it is unfortunate we are losing Piccola Bussola, I am happy about bringing people onto Jericho that will have the opportunity to utilize the stores that are already there,” Harris said. “I think this will be a very nice project for Mineola.”