Developers seek to answer residential concern over Clover Drive proposal

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Developers and representatives promised to remain committed to finishing a safe access road and maintaining a set of properties in Great Neck and Great Neck Estates on Monday, the last public hearing about the proposed Clover Drive development.

Residents asked questions and raised myriad safety concerns, such as the placement of a stop sign, the width of a proposed access road, driving visibility complicated by the natural incline of the area and increased traffic.

They also touched on the responsibility of Lalezarian Properties, which seeks to build 11 homes on roughly three acres of land bordering the villages of Great Neck and Great Neck Estates, to fully develop the properties, maintain them and minimize what disruption they can.

Ten homes would be in Great Neck, with the other being in Great Neck Estates.

Dodi Shana Spielman, a Clover Drive resident, said she had many concerns about the project. One of them was a stop sign being positioned in front of her house with a development being right across from her, making it more difficult to back out of her home.

Jason Applebaum also raised concerns about the stop sign, suggesting it does not solve the fundamental issue of safety along the access road.

Norman Rutta, a Hickory Lane resident, echoed the road safety concerns. He said the sight lines are limited by a slope and the necessary retaining walls and that people will still have an “instinct to gun it.”

Traffic engineers at the meeting assured trustees that the set-up was safe, “not unusual” and done to try mitigating the issue of limited sight distance.

Representatives said expanding the road from 26 feet to 32 feet would have theoretically been possible, but it would have involved going too close to the properties, encroaching on a parking lot, and potentially make the development “substandard.”

Spielman also said she was “very worried” about the homeowners association, which has not yet been created, that would take over responsibility for the properties once they have been sufficiently developed and sold because there’s “not too much precedent.”

“I’m very nervous about this homeowners association once the developer lets go of them,” Spielman said.

Paul Bloom, a legal representative for Old Mill 2 LLC, which is managing the property for Lalezarian Properties, said the houses will remain the developers’ responsibility until a homeowners association can be formed.

The developer will also be taking care of insurance for the access road, handling snow removal, and have a stake in the eventual association, he said, representing any homes that have not been bought yet.

“It will be the developers’ responsibility until it has been dedicated and delivered to the homeowners association,” Bloom said.

Bloom also pointed to a previously conducted state environmental quality review act report and a traffic study.

Frank Lalezarian said it is “not financially feasible” to only do one home. If the project is approved, he said the company would develop a minimum of three to four homes to start in three different styles and try to get construction done as quickly as possible to keep potential buyers enticed.

Village officials said that while the public hearing is now closed, they will keep the public record open for about another month before coming to a decision on the proposal at a February meeting.

There will also be a Board of Zoning Appeals meeting concerning the proposed development on Jan. 18.

The Village of Great Neck approved the subdivision proposal in May 2014 after years of proceedings, although the approval process did not conclude there until 2016. An application was then filed in Great Neck Estates in October 2016.

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