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Village board approves mixed-use plans for 733-741 Middle Neck Road, grants 12 incentives

The Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees approved the plans and granted 12 incentives for a four-story mixed-use building on 733-741 Middle Neck Road. (Photo courtesy of Bahary Architecture)

Plans that include 12 incentives for a four-story mixed-use building at 733-741 Middle Neck Road were approved Tuesday night by the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees.

John Farrell of Sahn, Ward, Coschignano PLLC, who represents the applicant Gesher Community LLC, presented updated plans to the board.  

The plans include 25 residential apartments, eight of which will be one bedroom, 14 that will be two bedroom, and three that will be three bedroom. There will be 28 parking spaces, which differ from the original 56, leaving one parking space per tenant. 

The plans also show a meeting room area, two recreation rooms, a storage unit on the sub-level floors, and a public art gallery occupying more than half of the building’s first floor.

Five buildings riddled with chipped and faded paint currently occupy the space that the plans encompass, something that Farrell said is an “eyesore.” 

“These buildings have been in a state of disrepair and have been underutilized for more than 30 years,” Farrell said. “Three of the buildings are no longer in use. At this point, they need to come down and this site needs to be brought up to a more modern standard and design. We believe this building does that.”

Village Mayor Pedram Bral and Deputy Mayor Bart Sobel agreed with Farrell’s observations.

“Every time [people] pass through this area and others like it, they can’t help but cringe at the sight of it,” Bral said.

“There are unfortunately many buildings like these that are dilapidated and nobody wants to even touch them,” Sobel said.

According to Bral, traffic and environmental impact studies were submitted by the applicant before the initial layout of the plans on Dec. 17. The only other step before a motion for approval of the plans was for the applicants to meet with Nassau County’s Department of Public Works, which Farrell said they did.

Among the changes to the building is an updated facade with a color scheme closer to “oriental gold” than the white color previously presented, according to the project’s architect, Robert Bahary.

“I think this color makes for a more modern and aesthetically appealing addition to some of the other buildings seen on Middle Neck,” he said.

The board first passed a motion for a determination of an unlisted action with a negative declaration.  According to village Attorney Peter Bee, it was essentially agreed that “the board finds this to be an unlisted action, meaning the board concludes there is no significant adverse effect on the environment.”

The board then voted 4-1 to approve the granting of 12 incentives to the applicants, which are:

Additionally, since the board determined that a suitable community benefit is not currently feasible, the applicant is required to pay the village $150,000 in cash in lieu of a specific community amenity under the village code.

Trustee Anne Mendelson was the only representative of the board who did not approve the motion.

Two residents raised concerns about the lack of additional parking spaces for residents, fearing that street parking for visitors or tenants with multiple cars would continue to “congest” Middle Neck Road and other residential roads.

“The applicant wants to make it very clear that whoever they choose to rent to, if they have more than one car, then this is not the building for you,” Farrell said.

Bral mentioned he has seen tactics such as this in other areas to attempt to reduce congestion on roadways that typically see a high frequency of traffic during the day.

One resident who lives directly across from the proposed building lot and a young dentist looking to open a new practice spoke highly of the plans and the board’s willingness to answer questions.

“We deal with people who have been missing a tooth for 20 or 30 years, and people think that it’s one tooth, what is the issue,” he said. “The truth is, when you have one area that’s messed up, all the other areas follow.  That is exactly what will happen with Middle Neck Road.”

The resident also noted that residents who complained about a “gag order” in previous meetings were not present for this discussion, and praised the board for answering residents’ questions and addressing their concerns.