Village of Great Neck talks Millbrook development, Everfresh

Village of Great Neck talks Millbrook development, Everfresh
Howard Hassan of Everfresh addresses the Board of Trustees in the Village of Great Neck. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Residents expressed concern about the Village of Great Neck losing a suburban charm at a public hearing Tuesday night on a proposal by Millbrook Apartments to add new apartments, describing the proposal as part of a larger problem of excessive development.

As it currently stands, North Shore Millbrook LLC wants to demolish 34 units of the rent-stabilized 119-apartment community to create 101 new units, for a net gain of 67 apartments. This would involve the addition of two four-story buildings and a three-story building.

Village officials said they had originally intended to open and then adjourn the meeting, as required under law, in what they described as a matter of fairness as developers were not ready to give an updated presentation.

Elizabeth Allen, a longtime resident of Great Neck, said she is concerned that there has been “no concerted effort” to preserve “one of the last parcels of affordable housing.”

“It’s the drip, drip, drip of continued crowding, continued expansion,” Allen said, adding that the board seems to think of the individual application more than the community at large.

Trustees said they “can’t tell people they can’t build unless there’s a significant environmental impact.”

When asked by a Millbrook Court resident what can be done to prevent the landlords from pushing people out of their apartments, officials said that New York State must enforce that.

Peter Bee, counsel for the Village of Great Neck, said village officials have also forwarded an anonymous complaint against the proposed development to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

Mayor Pedram Bral also made reference to the Citizens Advisory Committee, which was formed to address the revitalization of Middle Neck Road and East Shore Road with engineering consultant VHB, and said they would be presenting their findings soon.

Jean Pierce, a member of the committee, said the group has met a few times and discussed issues such as traffic, excessive development and bringing retail back. She also noted it as well-advertised and described it as a way to “keep some form of control.”

In unrelated business, the Village of Great Neck extended the deadline for Everfresh to complete its façade project.

Howard Hassan, the grocery manager at Everfresh, said they plan to complete the project in three segments and that some sheetrock is up.

But, Hassan also noted, the work uncovered issues with the foundation that are forcing them to work on the interior as well.

Prior to those issues, Hassan said the project was expected to be finished in five to six weeks.

“It’s an even bigger process than we thought,” Hassan said.

When Mayor Pedram Bral said this is something that “should be done” by the holidays, Hassan replied, “That’s our hope.”

Everfresh was originally given a July 1 deadline for the completion of a new façade as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, which required the business to boost its appearance and build a “pocket park” to continue using a parcel of land for its refrigeration units.

As part of that agreement, trustees reserve – but have not yet exercised – the right to take $500 per late day from a $10,000 bond payment Everfresh made.

Everfresh representatives have previously said the delay is due to issues with getting contractors because of a busy construction season.

Trustees also passed a resolution that would allow the village – but does not obligate them – to issue about $3 million worth in bonds that would go towards public works projects and equipment replacements.

In other unrelated village business, Louis Massaro, superintendent of the public works department, addressed a complaint from a resident about leaking garbage trucks.

Massaro said there is only so much that can be done, as “all garbage trucks are not watertight” and people leave liquids in their garbage.

The next Board of Trustees meeting is Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Village Hall. Alternatively, residents can now watch meetings live-streamed on the village’s Facebook page.

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