The citizens advisory committee for the revitalization of Middle Neck Road and East Shore Road presented its recommendations to the Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees on Tuesday night, envisioning an easier approval process, a more walkable village and a number of related projects.
Rebecca Davoudian, secretary for the committee, said that Great Neck is at a “crucial point” and wants to help “rebuild and re-establish” a corridor of Middle Neck Road as a “key destination for local residents and for visitors” alike.
“We have come to an understanding that investments to energize our downtown core will attract a diverse population of new residents and visitors from varying ages, incomes and interests,” Davoudian said.
The committee’s report outlined a series of recommendations, including simplifying the site plan approval process, updating the zoning code, quickly providing developers a yes or no answer, and creating a more vibrant and walkable space.
To reduce reliance on cars, Davoudian said the group recommends incentivizing developers to invest in other modes of transportation like electric shuttle buses, improving the streetscape, and reducing parking requirements to one car per apartment.
In terms of projects, the group recommended selling the current Department of Public Works building with the condition that the buyer create a mixed-use building with “moderately priced units” and an outdoor 40-by-200-foot area reserved for “pedestrian use.”
The public works building would then be relocated to a site on Middle Neck Road.
The report also calls for selling the current Village Hall, located on Baker Hill Road, and opening a new Village Hall on Middle Neck Road – or the “epicenter” of the revitalization project. This, Davoudian said, would carry significant “symbolic weight.”
Members also seemed to largely endorse the creation of an assisted living facility on Middle Neck Road, which was pitched in August of last year, with the condition that it expand sidewalks and restrict deliveries to the rear of the building.
After the meeting committee member Jean Pierce said the beautification aspects were important and that she wasn’t against an assisted living facility, but took issue with the location, which would be on a busy corner of Middle Neck Road and Hicks Lane.
Mayor Pedram Bral said VHB, the village’s consultant on the revitalization project, would likely present its findings jointly with the citizens advisory committee to the public “within a month or so.”
The intention to form a citizens advisory committee was announced in March and its membership was announced in April. The group aims to serve as a liaison to the board, solicit community input, and brainstorm ideas on how to reinvigorate Middle Neck Road and East Shore Road based on a report VHB had presented.
VHB had analyzed possible changes to the village’s zoning law and areas for possible development along part of Middle Neck Road and East Shore Road.
Among its ideas were raising the maximum allowable building height, embracing mixed used development, adding traffic calming measures and easing parking restrictions.
The full draft report can be found on the village’s website.