By Samuel Glasser
Construction of a new Tower Ford dealership on Northern Boulevard could begin by October, the Thomaston village board was told at its meeting last Thursday, following its decision to approve revisions of the plans.
The new car dealer proposes building a sales showroom on the site of a former gas station at the corner of Northern Boulevard and Summer Street. Tower Ford is now located at 124 South Middle Neck Road in a crowded building that houses the sales and service departments.
The service department would not move to the new building.
The board approved several significant design changes to the original plans.
Architect Ronald Zakary of Zakary Hagemann Associates of Oyster Bay said the revisions entail shifting the building 18 feet to the east, constructing a ramp on the west side of the building leading down to a basement storage area and adding a mezzanine inside that requires increasing the height of the building by two feet.
All of the changes fall within the limits of the building code and no variances are required, Zakary said.
While the ramp will be adjacent to Summer Street, it will only be accessible from Northern Boulevard, Zakary also noted.
In December 2016, the village first approved the plans, which Zakary said called for the building to be constructed on a slab. However, after soil tests revealed poor conditions down to a depth of 10 feet it was decided that excavating a basement and pouring a foundation would be more cost-effective than driving piles to support the structure.
In addition, Ford Motor Co. required the owner of the franchise to make certain interior design changes such as adding the mezzanine for offices that will overlook the showroom.
Tower Ford is owned by Great Neck Ford, an operating unit of GPB Capital, which acquired the dealership from Larry Orlando about a year ago, Orlando said.
Mayor Steven Weinberg said that the board’s approval was conditioned upon receiving formal statements that the ownership of the business had been transferred to GPB and that the owner of the land, Spartan Petroleum Co., agrees that Great Neck Ford is now the lessee of the property.
Village officials stressed that deliveries of new cars would only be done from Northern Boulevard and that demonstration drives with prospective customers would not be done on village streets.
In other business, the board voted to suspend the traffic ordinance regulating turns off Lee Avenue onto Northern Boulevard during the morning and evening rush hours pending a traffic study.
The intersection was reopened in late August after being closed for several years because of flooding problems related to the construction of an office building at the corner of Lee and Northern Boulevard, Weinberg said.
He said he hopes the study can be done within six months.
The board also accepted a proposal from Paramount Pest Management to provide pest control services for Village Hall at a cost of $1,450 for one year.