By Amanda Copkov
An Italian restaurant proposed for the future home of a Floral Park apartment complex faced contention at a hearing Tuesday night due to its location at a busy intersection in the village’s downtown area.
Rosalia’s, the restaurant and bar proposed for the former home of Koenig’s Restaurant at 86 S. Tyson Ave., wants to open on the ground floor of a building that will eventually also house five apartments and is across the street from a new building that will have 16 apartments.
Vincent DiRico, the owner of Rosalia’s, is also the owner of Luigi’s, another Italian restaurant in New Hyde Park. As a 22-year resident of Floral Park, DiRico said he has “a good feel for what the community is looking for.”
Rosalia’s plans to serve a similar menu to Luigi’s, offering authentic Italian food with fresh pastas, bread, mozzarellas and pizzas as well as braised meats, grilled items and other entrees.
At the hearing, Mayor Dominick Longobardi said the village’s main concern with a new restaurant placed along South Tyson Avenue is that delivery trucks will be coming and stopping along the road.
“That corner is busy all the time,” Longobardi said. “If an 18-wheeler truck is parked outside, that’s a big concern that we may have.”
Some village residents also voiced concern about the time delivery trucks may arrive at the proposed restaurant, as the John Lewis Childs School is also close to the South Tyson Avenue location.
Denise Dellacorte, a resident and a Floral Park-Bellerose school board trustee, said that because of the school, it might be better for trucks to deliver between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. rather than 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Another resident said traffic is also something to consider, especially regarding the nearby Floral Park LIRR Station.
The person expressed concerns about people stopping at the restaurant for pick-ups, which might cause traffic around dinnertime when many people might be getting off the train after work.
DiRico said he is open to any advice the village would want to give him and that he would be willing to work around the school schedule to avoid causing traffic.
“I don’t want to upset anybody,” he said. “I don’t want anyone to feel that way about the business.”
The trustees were also concerned about the number of parking spaces allotted for the restaurant, as it will share a parking lot with the apartments being built on the floor above.
Neither DiRico nor Martin Passante, the restaurant’s architect, knew for certain how many spots the restaurant will be allotted in that parking lot.
Deputy Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald said the board needs to know that number as it considers the amount of presumed restaurant patrons and employees.
During another public hearing, Floral Park resident Charles Alberici discussed his proposed cafe to be located at 43 Covert Ave.
Alberici said his menu would be coffee based, consisting of drinks such as lattes and Americanos as well as teas. He also plans to serve a simple food menu with desserts and other items made to order.
The trustees agreed to review both proposed establishments and make a final decision later.
Trustees also reassured residents Tuesday night that the village would be protected during the construction of a third track on the Long Island Rail Road between the Floral Park and Hicksville stations.
In a statement, Mayor Dominick Longobardi said that “at no time did the Villages of Floral Park, New Hyde Park or Stewart Manor approve or condone this project,” though it has already been approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Legislature, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the LIRR.
Trustee Archie Cheng said the $1.95 billion third track is being built in an effort to increase capacity, though there are bigger problems between the Hicksville and Jamaica stations as well as between Jamaica and Penn Station.
As written on the village’s website, Longobardi said that after negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the LIRR, “Floral Park would be afforded measures of protection to help preserve the community.”
“Whether you’re doing your kitchen or you’re doing the third track, things could happen, so we want to make sure we have something in place, such as communications plans, traffic plans, environmental plans,” he said.
Supporters of the third track say it will help improve railroad service and greatly increase train capacity, especially in the context of other railroad infrastructure projects in the region.
Planners met regularly with village officials and community leaders to develop the final proposal.