Assisted living facility pitched for village of Great Neck

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Kevin Paul, a representative for H2M Architects, Engineers, Land Surveying and Landscape Architecture, speaks before the board and the public. Also pictured are Paul Bloom, in the front row, and Glen Kaplan, behind him. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

An assisted living facility for 705 Middle Neck Road was pitched to Great Neck village trustees and residents on Tuesday, drawing out traffic safety concerns but acknowledgement of a need for such a place.

Building representatives framed the idea as one aligned with revitalizing the village. Attorney Paul Bloom, who represented the potential developers, said that the underused office building could be torn down and replaced with a five-story assisted living complex with 96 units and 110 beds.

“That property has been very underutilized for many many years,” Bloom said at a village board meeting on Tuesday.

Glenn Kaplan, the head of Kaplan Development Group, said that similar facilities in the area were operating at over 90 percent capacity. In the years since he started working in 1972, Kaplan said he has seen a sharply increased demand.

“All the Alzheimer’s facilities I know of are full,” Kaplan said.

Drawing on his experience with similarly sized facilities, Kaplan said workers would work in three shifts. Between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., there would be around 30 staff members, from registered nurses to cooks, around 20 on the second shift and six on the midnight shift.

Kaplan also described the proposed facility as being built on “a social model.” The primary responsibility is to ensure patrons take their medications and are well taken care of. But, he said, the care is not meant to be too intensive.

“We’re not a nursing home,” Kaplan said.

Great Neck Village Mayor Pedram Bral asked questions about the price of the apartments as well as how the facility would decide who gets in.

The cost is expected to be between $60,000 and $80,000 per year, Kaplan said, and it will operate on a “first come, first served” basis.

Jean Pierce was one of four residents who raised concerns about the location and potential traffic hazards. She described the intersection of Hicks Lane and Middle Neck Road, where the facility is located, as “one of the most dangerous corners” in Great Neck.

Pierce also referred to Great Neck Plaza and said that the Great Neck Atria senior living facilities get lots of emergency calls.

“It’s a nice building,” Pierce said, also noting the importance of having an assisted living facility. “But you picked the wrong place.”

Some also raised a question of whether allowing a five-story building would set a precedent, essentially allowing more developments to pierce the three-story cap in the village code.

The current building design has a 15-foot setback from the main road and further setbacks for the top floors so they would essentially “disappear,” Kevin Paul, a representative from H2M architects, said.

Paul also said that this facility would include an underground parking lot, although most of the workers tend to take public transportation.

Trustees and representatives said that the development is still in the early phases, noting that this presentation was done to get feedback from residents.

“It’s not an approval of any kind,” Phillip Butler, the village attorney, said.

Village trustees were also presented with a proposed 60-unit solar panel installation for 9 Arrandale Ave. After assurance that the bifacial panels would not reflect into other people’s yards, they referred the project to the Architectural Review Committee.

Joe Gill, village clerk-treasurer, also announced that he and village officials intend to meet with Legislator Ellen Birnbaum, the Nassau County Department of Public Works and others regarding narrowing the Middle Neck Road median.

Meanwhile, Erin Lipinsky, a Special Olympics athlete, secured the village’s sponsorship of his 2018 Polar Plunge team.

This came after he and Vigilant Fire Company broke last year’s record for fundraising at their annual car wash. His team washed 244 cars in an hour, he said, raising around $1,300.

“We get better every year,” Lipinsky said.

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