Complex proposal to move forward in Great Neck Plaza

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Complex proposal to move forward in Great Neck Plaza

Village of Great Neck Plaza trustees have upheld a determination that a proposed 61-unit apartment complex at 15 Bond St. would not have an environmental impact on the community.
Plaza trustees voted on Aug. 3 to finalize its “conditioned negative declaration” for the state environmental impact report required for the construction of a new building.
The board first made an initial declaration at a June 15 board meeting, but needed to allow for a 30-day comment period before finalizing its decision.
The determination was conditioned on the building not including a fourth floor for a recreational room and  not being more than 45 feet tall, which is the maximum allowed by village code.
The village attorney, Richard Gabriele, said the village only received two comments during the comment period, one from the Nassau County Department of Health and one from  Chris Prior, a lawyer who represents residents from the four buildings surrounding the proposed dwelling.
Gabriele said the county Health Department wanted to ensure that the project complied with aspects of the law that it was already required to comply with.
Prior’s comments, he said, related to concerns about stormwater drainage, which he has raised at previous board meetings.
Residents of four surrounding buildings — Westminster Hall Apartments, located at 4 Maple Place, and the Cartier Apartments, located at 21 Bond St., 22 Park Place and 25 Park Place — have voiced concerns at past meetings about the drainage and the applicant’s zoning variance requests.
Paul Bloom, attorney for Effie Namdar of 14 Park Place LLC, which is seeking to build the complex, had appeared at past village Board of Zoning Appeals meetings seeking a height variance that would permit a four-story, 45-foot high building. Village zoning laws permit only three-story buildings that are 45 feet high.
The developers also asked for a 13-foot-high room on top of the building that would be used as a recreation room. Bloom had said at a previous zoning board meeting that many buildings surrounding 15 Bond St. are more than three stories high.
Prior said at the Aug. 3 meeting that the village, which established itself as the lead agency last July to oversee the State Environmental Quality Review Assessment, did not properly compare the proposed development with an alternative project.
“Our position has been that if this project were constructed in accordance with applicable zoning code provisions, there would be a much less significant adverse impact on the environment,” he said.
Gabriele said that the board was not required to compare the project with  alternative projects, only with what exists at the site.
 Mayor Jean Celender said that the applicant did not need to submit drawings for a plan it had no intention of proposing.
“There will be further discussions still with the Board of Zoning Appeals. They have to make certain determinations,” Celender said. “And this board has to, assuming those variances are granted, will have to go through permit of compliance and establish additional conditions if this building is to be approved.”
The application is expected to be heard at the zoning board meeting on Aug. 31.
The application was adjourned from the Board of Trustees until the Oct. 5 meeting, after a zoning board decision is expected to be made.
Also at the meeting, the board adopted an action plan to improve the village for senior citizens.
Celender said the plan, which was developed by the village’s Citizens Advisory Committee and AARP, aims to make the village more walkable for senior citizens as well as improve their quality of life.
“We should be planning on the activities and focusing on aging factors, how to have people live as long as they can independently and be able to walk in the downtown, enjoy mobility, having social interaction, more opportunities and all of those things that make a community more vibrant and healthy,” she said.
Jack Kott, an AARP coordinator volunteer in the Town of North Hempstead, said he has worked with other Long Island municipalities and the Plaza was  far ahead of other communities in age-friendly planning.
“The work that the people in this community did was unbelievable,” Kott said.
He also said that the action plan would help bring economic prosperity to the village.

By Joe Nikic

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