Plandome Heights planning board meets for 1st time in four years for subdivision

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Plandome Heights residents examine plans for a potential two-lot subdivision at 109 Summit Drive. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

The Plandome Heights Planning Board met for the first time since 2014 to discuss a potential subdivision of one lot into two.

During the first 15 minutes of the meeting, board members heard from village Attorney Christopher Prior about their functions and duties, including how the SEQRA process works and what potential impacts trustees should consider for the application from Evan Psyllos and JMP Investments LLC of Flower Hill to divide 109 Summit Drive into two lots.

Plans for a proposed subdivision in Plandome Heights were on display at the village’s planning board meeting on Wednesday. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

“The Planning Board of Plandome Heights does not typically have a lot of business,” Prior said. “I’ve been village attorney since 2006, and I believe in that time we’ve seen three different applications, and one was a village application. This may be the first subdivision inside the village in that period of time.”

Board Chairman James Madison reminded trustees the application was for the division of the property and not for any potential homes that could be built on the lots in the future if the subdivision is approved.

Currently, the existing home, built in 1923 and formerly owned by Joseph and Cindy Licata, is proposed for demolition, Prior said.

Chuck Panetta, president of Bladykas and Panetta Engineers and Land Surveyors, spoke during the meeting on behalf of his client, Psyllos, and said the proposed subdivision would divide the 35,217-square-foot lot into two lots of 18,870 square feet and 16,347 square feet, and each would potentially hold a two-story, 5,000-square-foot home near the front of the property to avoid the backyard down slope.

According to a topographic map of the property from Panetta, the backyard of the lot slopes down about 20 feet from where the current home sits and the back property line abutting homes along Bay Driveway.

Residents, including neighboring property owner Kathryn Clejan, were concerned about a potential increase in runoff down the slope both during construction and after both homes are built.

Clejan said in her 18 years in the village, she has already dealt with flooding in her home twice from storm runoff and has seen large amounts of dirt and mud flow past her property along Bay Driveway toward Manhasset Bay.

Plandome Heights building inspector Edward Butt has reviewed the plans with Panetta and said the village code’s drainage containment requirement of two and three-fourths inches of rain water per hour has been met as well as the county’s more stringent requirement of eight inches per hour.

Summit Driveway resident Alicia McCarthy said her street was never designed for this type of density and expressed concern about the lack of outdoor space for either potential lot once homes are added.

“The Licatas, because they had such a large property, had a tremendous side yard they used for their kids to play in and their two absolutely beautiful, huge dogs,” McCarthy said. “They actually had an area that was dedicated to outdoor use, and I don’t know if the houses your client is proposing has any real outdoor space because there will be no backyard and only a steep drop.”

McCarthy’s husband, George, also wrote a letter to the board before the meeting, but the letter was not read aloud at the meeting.

The hearing was continued to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 at Plandome Heights Village Hall to give Trustee Mary Oleske, who was absent, time to review the record before a vote.

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