Great Neck approves six-month moratorium on subdivisions

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Village attorney Peter Bee explained two proposed laws at a public hearing on Thursday, including a subdivision moratorium and incentive overlay zoning changes. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Village attorney Peter Bee explained two proposed laws at a public hearing on Thursday, including a subdivision moratorium and incentive overlay zoning changes. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Village of Great Neck trustees approved a six-month moratorium on residential property subdivisions on Tuesday night, as the village plans to study the issue.

Peter Bee, the village attorney, said the law essentially prohibits the granting of permits for residential properties being subdivided into separate parcels for six months so the board has time to review the issue and potentially propose future legislation.

Bee said board members have expressed concerns about lots being divided, in turn leading to smaller lots being developed and increasing density in the village.

“The moratorium is for a period of six months while this board reflects on how it wishes to deal with subdivisions prospectively,” Bee said, adding that the village can extend it up to two times for six months each by resolution.

There would be a “number of exclusions” however, Bee said. Among those exceptions were applications pending before the planning board as of Jan. 1, lots currently being created that were previously approved, legalizations of the transfers of tax lots, and for property owners who can demonstrate “hardship.”

Yaffa Rabe, a Radnor Road resident, asked if the village had a number of how many properties that would fall under the exemption and how “hardship” would be defined.

Bee said he does not know how many properties are pending or already approved. As for the definition of hardship, he said there is a common legal standard that there has to be a “very strong showing” before the zoning board of appeals.

“It’s a very strong showing that essentially there’s no other use for this property [that would] still have it be financially viable,” Bee said.

Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar, a civic activist, pressed for a statistical basis of the law saying that having a specific number of applications granted in the past year would be “extremely valuable.”

Mayor Pedram Bral said a few specific lots were brought to the village board’s attention and that the village will say “what we came up with” in six months as to final numbers.

“What we’re trying to do now is actually protect [the village against] more subdivisions,” Mayor Pedram Bral said.

Len Baron, the superintendent of the building department, said on Friday that a preliminary list – the village is “trying to put as much information as possible into” it– shows that in 2017 and 2018 there were a total of “11 subdivisions in various stages” across the village.

Baron said the number of subdivisions is “not a large amount” but also noted, “Some of them, they had issues.”

Among the properties are Greenway Terrace, a long stretch of property off Forest Row which will be split into eight separate parcels, and a three acre property off Old Mill Road being split into 11 parcels for 11 different homes – this is better known as the Old Mill II project.

The other properties are 33 Duxbury Road, 35 Croyden Ave., 12 Ravine Road, 56 Piccadilly Road, 199 West Shore Road, 22 Beach Road, 38 Brokaw Lane and 85-93 Steamboat Road, which was subdivided and led to the erection of townhouses, Baron said.

David Zielenziger, a resident of Beach Road, said he supports the move and restrictions on subdivisions within the village.

“I think subdivisions are leading to environmental disaster in the village, they are aesthetically revolting, and I’m pleased that just in the last month, some of us protested at the Board of Zoning and Appeals. We protested a subdivision on Beach Road and that subdivision, which was a disaster, was denied,” Zielenziger said. “So I welcome this and hope it can remain permanent.”

Joe Gill, the village clerk-treasurer, said the law will officially go into effect upon the New York Secretary of State getting notice within a few days.

The approval of the moratorium came at a meeting where most residents focused on proposed changes to the village’s incentive overlay district on the northern and southern ends of Middle Neck Road and part of East Shore Road, which officials say aim to help with “revitalization” in the village. Some people in opposition expressed fear about increasing Great Neck’s density and traffic.

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