Plaza officials approve nine-month building moratorium

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Great Neck Plaza village officials were weighing a moratorium on new developments in some parts of the village. (Photo from Google Maps)
Great Neck Plaza village officials were weighing a moratorium on new developments in some parts of the village. (Photo from Google Maps)

Great Neck Plaza trustees voted to implement a nine-month moratorium on developments with three or more residential units last Wednesday night in hopes of studying the impact of recent projects and potentially making zoning code tweaks.

In approving the moratorium by a 4-0 vote, trustees moved to overrule a recommendation from the Nassau County Planning Commission, which suggested a six-month moratorium paired with an option to extend the moratorium another six months.

Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender, who pushed for the nine-month time frame, said six months wasn’t long enough to conduct a comprehensive review and figure out zoning code fixes, but that they wanted to commit to getting it done quickly.

“We think the answer lies in looking at our zoning and tweaking it a bit,” Celender said. “We certainly don’t want it to take a long time to do, but we do want that opportunity to do it without other applications coming in.”

Stephen Fein, a Great Neck Plaza resident and president of the 58 Grace Ave. co-op, said he thinks parking is – and will continue to be – a major issue.

“Our parking situation is not going to get better and quite frankly, that’s why we’re here because we’re already strangled,” Fein said.

Leonard Katz, a Great Neck Plaza resident, also asked why a moratorium would be needed if, with each individual project that the board approved, there were traffic studies gauging their impacts and other requirements done already.

Trustee Lawrence Katz said those were “simple studies” and that this review would look at the actual impacts now that developments are up.

Celender also said that the village wants to look at these buildings in relation to each other, the people they have brought in, traffic and parking impacts, and how other villages have handled transit-oriented residential zoning in order to get the “intended developments that are sustainable and suitable.”

Richard Gabriele, the village attorney, said the original intent of the village’s TOD zoning, implemented in 2011, was to fill up buildings but instead they are getting bigger developments, which was not originally anticipated.

Officials said some of the developments include 5-9 Grace Ave., 15 Bond St., 16 Maple Drive, which is currently under consideration, and 55 South Middle Neck Rd., which is not built under TOD zoning but is near the train station.

According to a draft of the law, trustees, the Zoning Board of Appeals and Department of Public Services could not grant a conditional use permit, site plan approval, variance or permit of compliance involving a large residential project. It would also not consider any applications during those nine months.

This would not affect projects that were pending before the law’s approval or prevent modification of previously approved use, provided it does “not result in a more intensive use of the building or structure.”

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