BY MADELINE ARMSTRONG
Plans for a 55-and-older apartment complex on East Shore Road were approved at the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 21.
The proposal, outlined at the previous meeting by Paul Bloom of Harras Bloom & Archer LLP and representatives from Mojo Stumer Associates, includes a three-story apartment-style building at 265 East Shore Road with an attached retail section.
The building proposed by the Villadom Corp. will include 63 apartment units and 161 parking stalls to be used by residents and retail customers. It was approved 4-0 with Trustee Eli Kashi not present.
After the site plan and architectural plan were initially presented to the public at the previous meeting, Bloom and Mojo Stumer’s Joe Yacobellis proposed a number of amendments during last week’s meeting on behalf of Villadom Corp. and its CEO, Kris Torkan.
One of the modifications to the initial plan was a roof amenity proposed to the board. The building will only be three stories high, so a recreational roof terrace is being sought. It has not yet been determined what types of recreational activities will take place on the roof terrace. However, once that is decided, the development team will offer a proposal to the board.
Another modification was a reduced side yard. Currently, there is a requirement for the side yard to be 15 feet, but Bloom has proposed a plan with a side yard of only 12.5 feet. The second modification concerns the building coverage (the area of the lot that must be covered by a building). It is required that the building coverage is at a maximum of 35% and the Villadom project has 36% building coverage.
After the presentation was made, several residents voiced concerns about the project. One resident who lives near the proposed location asked that trees be planted on one side of the building so that it would not obstruct the view from her house.
Bloom said her house was at a higher elevation than the building, so only the top part of the complex would be seen from her residence. Additionally, there is no room, according to officials, for trees to be planted in that area.
Another resident persistently asked about school-age children residing in the apartment complex, with concerns about potential overcrowding at Great Neck public schools. It was then confirmed that the 55-and-up residential housing complex can legally house children.
Mayor Pedram Bral said, because of the age restriction, any influx of K-12 students to the Great Neck school district should not be that significant.
“I also believe that the amount of tax revenue would be significantly more than the effect of students … and it would be a positive balance, not negative,” he said.
A number of people were concerned about the traffic flow and parking in that area. Parking and traffic on East Shore Road have been an issue for a while and residents said they believe that this building will exacerbate the problem. Although it will provide additional parking, many claimed that the spots will all be taken when people arrive for work.
The argument was made that the 47 parking stalls reserved just for the retail section will have a quick turnover. Additionally, a traffic study was done by VHB and the results did not confirm the circumstances being brought up.
“Unless we make the entire area into a parking lot,” said Bral, “I don’t know how we could address the lack of parking that exists.”
The site where the residential building will be built was an active sewage treatment plant for 80 years before it was decommissioned in 2014, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. This could cause potential contamination and health issues to those residing on the site.
However, Louis Massaro, the village public works superintendent, assured the community that “the village is doing everything properly from an environmental standpoint.”
Bral said of all options that could be presented as to what the village could do with the now-vacant property, this proposal has the least amount of impact on the environment and on the school district.
The board also unanimously approved various laws pertaining to the village’s zoning code. These approvals included correcting the list of retail businesses allowed in the Great Neck mixed use (MU) district, rezoning a portion of property currently part of the MU district to be in the Waterfront Residential District and to give the Board of Trustees the power to set an expiration date or terminate previously granted incentive zoning approval.