Harley-Davidson developers present amended project at NHP hearing

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Project engineer Scott Grupp presenting the new plans for a proposed Harley Davidson dealership in New Hyde Park. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

The developers behind a proposed Harley-Davidson dealership and repair shop in New Hyde Park said at a public hearing last Thursday that it would have no adverse impacts. 

New Hyde Park Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said that since September the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on the facility that is planned to replace Miller Brothers Plumbing & Heating at the southwest corner of Jericho Turnpike and Herkimer Street has been on the village website, and at Village Hall and the library, and public comments on the project are welcome until Dec. 23.

The dealership was proposed in 2015 and has raised residents’ opposition at public hearings. 

Uniondale lawyer Andrea Tsoukalas Curto was at the hearing to represent brothers John and James Miller, who are trying to sell the property to Amir Jarrah, the owner of Miracle Mile Harley-Davidson in Great Neck. Jarrah’s plan is to move the dealership into New Hyde Park. The project’s developers are applying for a special use permit from the village. 

“We want to invest in this community so that’s why we want to bring in this business to revitalize and do something good for everybody,” Curto said. 

The proposed facility consists of a two-story, 17,090-square-foot building, with an 8,380-square-foot sales area, a 6,910-square-foot repair facility in the cellar and associated parking, access driveways and landscaping.

For the public hearing, Curto presented an amended plan based on village recommendations. 

The building has been pushed back from Jericho Turnpike to create a buffer between commercial activity in the front and residents in the back, Curto said. She said that the dealership will only host “ordinary sales events,” not washing or painting bikes on site, and it will not allow parking on Herkimer Street, prohibit righthand turns onto Herkimer Street, not allow test drives on residential streets and do no bike repairs outside. 

“That addresses all the concerns that have been mentioned. If you have more conditions then obviously we will listen to what the board has to say,” Curto said. “We have extensively studied noise, traffic, character, air quality issues and all of these studies have concluded that the proposed activity will not have a negative impact.”

Project engineer Scott Grupp said that the cellar of the proposed site, where motorcycle work would occur, would be soundproofed. Studies show no rise in decibel levels in the neighborhood and a 1 percent increase in traffic during peak times, Curto said.

Jordan Hyman, an attorney representing village residents against the project, was given  more time than the allotted three minutes for residents to rebut the findings in the DEIS.

Hyman said he has five areas of concern: the safety of children at the New Hyde Park Road School, parking, extreme noise levels, effects on property values and the enjoyment of the homes. 

“There’s really been no mention that this proposed project is very close to the elementary school at a major intersection where the kids cross the street at Jericho Turnpike and New Hyde Park Road,” Hyman said.

Employees and customers will need parking spots and it will not all be motorcycles, Hyman said. He said that the new parking spaces are narrower, meaning that the project offers  the right number of parking spaces, but not the right size. 

Hyman said that while only “ordinary sales events” have been promised, special events will be called “regular activities.”

Some of the events hosted at the Great Neck dealership include pancake breakfasts, bike rider rest stops, barbecues, poker runs, tattoo and beard/mustache contests, Hyman said. Hyman raised concerns over alcohol being served on the premises.

“The questions that we have, is alcohol being served at these locations? What prevents these attendees from bringing their own alcohol?” Hyman said. 

Hyman said he did not condemn these events and the culture of Harley-Davidson riders but said they should not be in residential neighborhoods.

Curto said in her closing remarks that these claims are unfounded, saying that the new facility would only host sales events. She reiterated that the developers have answered all village requests and that the project will have no adverse impacts on the community.

“Slandering my client or the brand is not what we’re here for,” Curto said.

Once the public comment period is closed, the developers are expected to complete and submit a final environmental impact statement, and the board will make a final decision, Montreuil said. 

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