Town Council removes Plandome parking

Town Council removes Plandome parking

After a heated public hearing Wednesday night, the North Hempstead Town Council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance that will remove five parking spaces near the site of a TD Bank branch being built at the corner of Northern Boulevard and Plandome Road. 

Local business owners like Paul Marchese, partner at the law firm Marchese and Maynard LLP, located a few doors from the TD Bank site, lamented the potential loss of parking.

“The lack of parking is bad for me,” he said. “I need parking close to my building.”

Like many of the remarks in opposition to the proposal, Marchese’s comments were greeted by applause from members of the 60-person audience.

Three of the five parking spots slated for removal are located on the east side of Plandome Road, while two are located on the west side. The removal of the spots on the west side will allow for the development of a driveway for the bank’s parking lot designed to accommodate cars turning left as they travel north on Plandome Road, town officials said. 

The removal of the three spots on the east side of Plandome Road will allow northbound traffic to bypass a car waiting to make the left hand turn across two lanes of oncoming traffic into the driveway. A curb cut running north on Plandome Road from the intersection with Northern Boulevard will prevent northbound traffic from turning left into the TD Bank parking lot prior to the driveway. 

Town Council members, most notably Anna Kaplan, described the ordinance as a safety measure  to protect residents living on Norgate Road, which is often used as a cut-through for drivers on Northern Boulevard seeking to avoid the traffic at the street’s intersection with Plandome Road.  

“This is a safety issue,” Kaplan said. “The big issue is people cutting through Norgate. We’re trying to encourage people [who patronize the bank] to take Plandome Road.” 

Kaplan noted that Manhasset Secondary School is located near Norgate, heightening safety concerns.

She also cited  a traffic study that found that the bank could increase the volume of traffic on Norgate and thereby endanger residents.

Chris Pappas, a real estate broker at nearby Douglas Elliman, responded by arguing that the left turn from Plandome Road into the proposed TD Bank driveway would prove a safety hazard for the cars making the turn and for those traveling southbound who will have to yield to them. 

The Norgate Civic Association treasurer, Jim Pelzer, said, “Norgate has been particularly burdened” with safety concerns. He said that drivers cutting through “run stop signs all the time, including when kids are going to school.” 

He concluded that “Norgate is too small and the streets are too narrow” for such traffic, and urged the board to approve the ordinance.

Cynthia Hill, an optician at the Manhasset Optical Group, captured the frustration of several small business owners who felt TD Bank was receiving unduly favorable treatment from the Town Council. 

“Don’t small businesses matter?” she asked, on the verge of tears. “You’re making changes at the behest of one business. What about us 15 small businesses?”

She also said that she hadn’t heard about the ordinance until a day before the public hearing, a complaint echoed by several other residents and business owners.

Kathleen Deegan Dickson, an attorney representing TD Bank, said the bank had followed all legal protocol for informing residents and had presented the initial site plan at a town public hearing on July 12. 

As the discussion continued, several residents proposed a compromise in which TD Bank designated five of its parking spots for use by local business owners, their customers and their employees. 

Kaplan said she had discussed such a compromise with the bank and invited  Dickson to address  the proposal. 

“We need to ensure there’s enough parking for the bank’s employees and customers. But there will probably be more than enough,” Dickson said. She added that it wouldn’t be a problem for people to park at the bank to go to a nearby law office or optometrist. 

She said there were “insurance concerns and corporate concerns” about giving formal sanction of such nonbank use of the parking lot, but added that an informal arrangement could be made. 

Before the vote on adoption, a resident said he “could not rely on the good graces of TD Bank” to provide parking since it “could change its mind in a month.” 

While announcing their vote, many of the council members expressed frustration about the difficulty of the decision but all voted in support of the ordinance, citing safety concerns. 

“I urge TD Bank to have designated spots for nonbank use,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said  after announcing her vote for adoption. “It would be a great gesture to take the place of spots lost on Plandome Road.”

“We want to make sure Norgate is protected because it needs to be,” she added. “But we don’t want to put an undue burden on our businesses.” 


No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here