Mineola board rejects permit over summer camp

Mayor Scott Strauss sits between trustees George Durham and Paul Cusato. (Photo by Brandon Duffy)

The Mineola Board of Trustees has rejected an application for a special use permit to establish a learning center on the grounds of inconsistency, deception and vagueness.

The village attorney, John P. Gibbons, said the board had found that the applicant intended to run a summer camp that was not mentioned in the application.  The board unanimously approved a resolution denying the permit for the facility at 80 E. Old Country Road last Tuesday.

On April 22, the village put out a legal notice indicating that it would hold a public hearing May 19 for the application of 80 East Old Country Rd LLC. The company intended to renovate the building formerly occupied by Curve Breakers and use it for a tutoring and learning facility. 

However, Gibbons read a statement last Tuesday saying the applicant intended to run an unmentioned summer camp in addition to providing tutoring and learning services. The statement was based upon evidence at the public hearing and documentation submitted to the board. 

“It became evident that the use originally applied for in the application was not the intended use,” the board’s resolution said, as read by Gibbons. ”Through questioning by the mayor and trustees it was disclosed that the applicant intended to operate a summer camp at this location.”

Any mention of a summer camp, or its play area, was left out of the application, according to the board.

Reading the decision, Gibbons said: “Applicant did not present any type of safety plan for the play area. In fact, had it not been for the questioning by the trustees, the plan for the play area would not have even been disclosed since the play area does not appear in the applicant’s submission.”

Representing 80 East Old Country Rd, LLC in the May hearing were Robert Yeganeh and Ankush Kumar, the director of marketing and public relations and the director of operations, respectively. Yeganeh said that they have experience in this type of business, with two facilities located in Deer Park and Hicksville. 

During questioning, they acknowledged that they intended to offer summer services.

“We do have programs for working parents such as a summer camp, and that summer camp is attended by students from kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade,”  Kumar said, according to the transcript. “We want them to learn and also get some outdoor time as well in an area that’s close to our building.”

Other issues also became evident to the board, involving disallowed use of a jackhammer, building code violations and increased traffic on Juniper Avenue. 

The board’s resolution said: “Based upon the entire record, the Board finds the approval of this application would not be in the best interest of the health, safety and welfare of the community.  The Board finds that the Application will be hazardous, conflicting and incongruous to the immediate neighborhood.” 

The decision was made with the interests of the village in mind, according to Gibbons. 

“The application was misleading, vague and incomplete,” he said. 

About the author

Brandon Duffy

Brandon Duffy is a New Jersey-based reporter for The Island Now, a position he assumed in July of 2021. He covers news out of Floral Park, New Hyde Park, the Willistons and Mineola, previously reporting on business and elections.
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