North Hills continues hearing on Seventh-Day Adventists site changes

North Hills continues hearing on Seventh-Day Adventists site changes
The Village of North Hills Board of Trustees continued a hearing for the Greater New York Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists' site plan proposal, which neighbors are pushing against. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

The Village of North Hills continued a public hearing Wednesday night to consider a proposal of additions and renovations to the Greater New York Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, which is drawing pushback from neighbors concerned about the project.

The church, located at 7 Shelter Rock Road, is proposing a series of changes to the building and site, including expanding the parking lot, the building’s setback, a new recording studio and other building expansions.

Attorney Gianni Sbarro, an associate at Forchelli Deegan Terrana LLP who is representing the church, said comments from the Board of Trustees, the village’s consulting landscape architect firm and neighbors have been addressed by the church in their site plan proposal.

He said a new set of plans has been submitted addressing the comments related to the project’s parking, traffic and civil aspects.

The church’s architect said the adjustments are also more environmentally sensitive.

Michael Hopkins, an attorney representing one of the church’s neighbors, contended that the nature of the church’s site plan proposal is not for religious use and therefore would not grant them certain zoning law exemptions for their proposed construction.

Hopkins also said that the neighbors he represents are largely concerned about the setback of the church’s building, which would be reduced by 50 feet from the property line. He said the neighbors are against any setback in the site plan proposal.

“[It causes] an undue hardship on my property and has the potential of negative, long-term financial impact to my property’s future use and evaluation,” Hopkins said, reading a statement from the neighbors he represents.

Bruce Migatz, an attorney who represents another neighbor of the church, said his clients are concerned about the changes to the parking lot as it is next to their property.

Sbarro said they are doing everything they can to work with the neighbors to address their concerns.

The Board of Trustees did not vote on the matters because they had not received the report from Cameron Engineering, the village’s consulting landscape architect firm, until Wednesday afternoon and did not have enough time to review it prior to the meeting.

The public hearing will continue at the Board of Trustees’ next meeting in August.

The Village of North Hills also held its organizational meeting Wednesday night, appointing various positions in the village. This included the mayor’s appointment of Trustee Dennis Sgambati as deputy mayor, a position he has held for 20 years, after his re-election in June.

The board voted to appoint Doreen Severin as chairperson and Barry Bassik as deputy chairperson of the Village’s Planning Board.

The board also reappointed Alison Chimerine as chairperson of the Architectural Review Board.

The mayor, who was also re-elected in June, congratulated his fellow re-elected members and thanked the village residents for voting.

“Thank you all and we’re happy to serve,” Natiss said.

The North Hills Board of Trustees will convene again on Aug. 16.

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