Plaza lawmakers consider law to rein in late developments

Plaza lawmakers consider law to rein in late developments
Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender, as seen here at a previous meeting, wants to implement stricter rules about completing projects on time. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Great Neck Plaza lawmakers are drafting a proposal to modify part of the village code pertaining to the timely completion of construction projects, officials said Wednesday, in hopes of more strictly holding prolonged projects on schedule.

Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender cited an ongoing project at 5 to 9 Grace Ave., which she said has gone on close to two and a half years, as one of those projects that need to be reigned in to mitigate the impacts of construction like fugitive dust, fencing and broken up sidewalks.

“We want to hold some of these smaller building projects to a timetable that’s reasonable so they’re not getting approvals to build and then they come in, build a foundation, put the walls up and then they slowly give us the Chinese water torture of no people in the building doing work – or very few,” Celender said.

While the law has not yet been drafted, Celender said she wants to grant Michael Sweeney, the commissioner of public works, the ability to raise any red flags to the board during the construction so they can reign in any problems early on.

Celender also said the current ability to raise a building permit fee’s price for a developer seeking to extend it is not enough of a “disincentive towards just taking their sweet time with us.”

“We really have to put their feet to the fire here and if they’re going to take their sweet time, and not adhere to it, they’re going to pay a lot more,” Celender said.

She added that there would be a “little bit of wiggle room,” but that delays simply “cannot go on month after month after month.”

Richard Gabriele, the village attorney, said he and village officials will have a private meeting regarding the law sometime next week.

A public hearing date for the proposed law was set for May 16.

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