WP trustees to review big plans

WP trustees to review big plans

The Williston Park Village Board unanimously approved a local law at Monday night’s village board meeting requiring site plan review by the village board for development plans on any lots 9,500 square feet in size or larger.

“The concern is if a business decides to close up, this gives us more of an overview of the process,” said Village of Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar during a public hearing on proposed law. “It gives us that power or the control to make sure any future development will be in the best interests of the village.”

Ehrbar said the new law would not supplant the authority of the village Board of Zoning Appeals. He said applications for variances on a given site plan application would first be reviewed by the village zoning board before the village board would review the site plan. But he said if the zoning board granted a variance on a particular site application, the village board could still deny the application over other issues.

“A variance may be only one aspect of a site plan,” Ehrbar said.

Ehrbar said site plans reviewed by the village board would subsequently be referred to the county planning commission for review.

“The BZA doesn’t have site plan review now,” said Village attorney James Bradley.

Bradley said if there is a conflict about a particular site plan between the village board and the zoning board “that is something that would have to worked out between the two boards.” 

Bradley sited traffic flow on a given site is an example of an issue that could be of concern to the village board.

“This ensures that there is some review by a board regardless of the need for a variance,” said village Trustee Teresa Thomann.

Thomann said she supported a law that would have required village board review of proposed development on sites of 7,500 square feet or larger, but she voted for the local law as proposed. 

Williston Park Deputy Mayor Kevin Rynne cited the site of the new TD Bank being constructed on the location of the former Riverbay restaurant as an example of a land parcel that would qualify for review under the new law. 

Ehrbar said there were no issues of concern with that particular site.

“We haven’t had any abuses yet,” Ehrbar said, adding that problematic developments in other villages had evidenced the need for the local law in Williston Park.

He said the board is “business friendly” and is not seeking to discourage development on large land parcels.

Village Building Inspector Kerry Collins said he is the only village administrator who reviews site plans with an eye toward the style of a particular development application.

“The board can have more review on it. I don’t think it will slow the process of development down at all,” Collins said.

Thomann said the law would encourage interaction between new businesses and village officials, particularly in instances where the new business is part of a national franchise.

“The business is not always the owner. It does increase awareness to establish a relationship which is always a good thing,” Thomann said.

In other developments:

• The village board approved a special exception request for a tae kwon do school seeking to open for business at 201 Hillside Ave. some time next month. 

Thomas Kim, a lawyer representing the prospective business, said classes would be held at the location daily between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. He said students would typically be dropped off after school by their parents, so he didn’t anticipate a parking issue with the martial arts school.

Kim said the school would maintain a staff of two instructors with a maximum of 15 students in the studio. 

Ryan Choi, the business owner, said one-hour classes would be offered for adult in the evenings, between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. The village board granted approval for the school to open, stipulating it properly control its garbage disposal and keep the grass median in front of the location free of refuse.

• Village clerk Julie Kain said village tax bills had been mailed to residents last week. She said the tax bills are due to be paid by July 1. 

• Thomann reported a volunteer resident parking committee has presented a plan to add 12 parking spaces along Willis Avenue north of the intersection at Hillside Avenue. She said the plan includes a proposal to make the municipal parking lot at Willis and Fordham Street available for overnight parking for residents who obtain permits.

“We expect to make some improvements in the near future,” she said.

• Rynne announced registration for village municipal pool memberships was open at $275 per family for the season. He said an “early bird special” is available for village residents who register by June 9. Residents can register on the village Web site (www.villageofwillistonpark.org) or at Williston Park Village Hall. 

• Keith Bunnell, superintendent of the Village Department of Public Works, said residents can still request trees to be planted in front of their houses to replace those lost during Hurricane Sandy. He said the village has a limited tree replacement budget, so he urged residents to make their requests as soon as possible. He said the DPW has scheduled tree planting for the fall.

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