Plandome Heights Planning Board closes hearing, postpones vote for Summit Drive subdivision

Plandome Heights Planning Board closes hearing, postpones vote for Summit Drive subdivision
Plandome Heights planning board members Elaine Canton, left, and Roxanne Fitzig examine new plans for the proposed subdivision at 109 Summit Drive. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

Plandome Heights Planning Board Chairman James Madison closed the public hearing about a proposed two-lot subdivision on Summit Drive after four meetings on the topic but postponed any decision from the board until a fifth meeting.

Madison said the transcripts of the first three public hearings in January, February and April are at least 100 pages each.

“I’ve heard enough. I’ve seen enough. Can we move to vote?” new member Marijan Bernic said near the end of the meeting last Tuesday. “I’ve read every transcript, I’ve gone over these plans, I’ve listened to the engineers. I’m ready to vote. I would like to move to vote.”

The proposal to divide the 109 Summit Drive lot into two lots for two potential two-story homes has been debated for months by residents concerned about the potential runoff both during construction and after from what member Elaine Canton called “a cliff” in the back of the lot.

“I was stunned to see how severe — there is a slope, but it’s not gradual,” Canton said. “Since the last meeting, I went onto the property to the back, and I was shocked at the pitch of what we’ve been calling a slope because it’s more like a cliff and then a slope.”

The proposed subdivision would divide the 35,217-square-foot lot into two lots of 18,870 square feet and 16,347 square feet, and each would potentially hold a two-story, 5,000-square-foot home near the front of the property to avoid the backyard down slope.

The lot is currently owned by Evan Psyllos and JMP Investments LLC of Flower Hill.

Chuck Panetta of Bladykas and Panetta Land Planning, Land Surveying and Civil Engineering said since the April meeting, two soil borings on the property have been done by Slacke Test Boring Inc. in Kings Park and show the property can support two homes, despite the backyard slope.

According to Panetta, the borings showed asphalt, medium sand, fine sand and gravel up to 27 feet below ground, which is ideal for packing down underneath a structure. One boring was done in the front yard of the existing home and the other was done where the second proposed home would be built.

The Planning Board’s responsibility is to decide if the subdivision is a viable and positive option for the village, but the board does not currently have control over the potential homes that could be built.

Residents spoke on both sides of the issue, with some in favor of the development and the potential increase in property values it could bring to the neighborhood while some residents, including George McCarthy, are still concerned that runoff will only get worse with two homes on the property.

“I knew [Psyllos] was going to build a nice house, it’s going to help everyone in the [village],” Summit Drive homeowner Fausto Pugliese said. “It’s going to make everyone’s property worth more money, and he’s going to do a really nice job. I don’t have an issue with the subdivision. It needs a lot of work, that area.”

At the end of the meeting, Madison asked village Clerk Arlene Drucker to coordinate the date of the next meeting. Drucker said the goal is to meet during the second week of June, but no date has been set for a vote.

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