Plandome Heights residents voice concerns about drainage

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Plandome Heights residents voice concerns about drainage
Plandome Heights Planning Board Trustee Mary Oleske said he was concerned about potential drainage issues if 18 trees are removed during construction. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

By Jake Pellegrino

Plandome Heights residents had their second opportunity on Tuesday to voice their opinions and concerns about a construction project in their village.

The village’s planning board met for the first time in four years in January to hear a proposition from real estate developer Evan Psyllos and JMP Investments LLC of Flower Hill to split 109 Summit Drive into two lots, turning the existing antiquated house into two modern ones.

Board Chairman James Madison said the meeting was continued because a board member, Mary Oleske, was absent and he wanted all members to vote on the application.

Chuck Panetta, president of Bladykas and Panetta Engineers and Land Surveyors, represented Psyllos at the meeting. He presented blueprints for the subdivision and assured the board and residents that the project is within village regulations.

“We’re going to disturb the ground well under the village regulation,” Panetta said. “We would be providing erosion control measures. Choosing where we disturb is the biggest question. Each lot would have 12,000 square feet of disturbance to create improvements.”

However, many residents still had concerns.

Since the street is narrow, a major concern dealt with the congestion an additional house would cause, possibly making it more difficult for emergency service vehicles to use the street.

“We need to provide access for firefighting and ambulances,” Summit Drive resident George McCarthy said. “There’s nowhere to turn around without doing a three-point turn without going onto private driveways. With this additional house and more cars, it’s going to be a problem.”

Oleske also expressed concern about emergency vehicles to get through the neighborhood.

“I would like an assessment by the firefighters to know what would happen,” Oleske said. “Can firefighters get down the block and have access to all the homes? The street is not an average street. We don’t really know if a firetruck can get down there quickly and access those houses safely.

“The more buildings that are added, the more at risk we are at. If there’s a car parked can a firetruck still get down the street?”

“The Fire Department looked at the road and said they could get down the road,” Ed Butt, the village building inspector, said. “I was assured that the road can be serviced by an emergency vehicle. However, if a vehicle is blocking the road, it may be a problem.”

Another cause for concern is the 18 trees that are to be demolished to build the new homes if the subdivision and subsequent construction applications are approved.

“It’s a real slope,” Oleske said. “I want to know what’s going to be done so there’s no mudslides and no erosion, so no people get their basements flooded. I want to be comfortable.”

Panetta said the developer would consider adding trees to replace the ones removed.

“We’ve far exceeded the drainage requirement and it’s a big improvement over the current drainage situation,” Panetta said.

The meeting was continued to 7:30 p.m. March 28 without a decision because of the absence of board member Patrick Pilch.

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