Residents concerned with proposed Uncle Giuseppe’s renovations

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An artist's rendering of the proposed changes to Uncle Giuseppe's Marketplace in Port Washington, shown during a public meeting. (Screencap by Rose Weldon)

Proposed renovations to a Port Washington Boulevard market have raised questions from nearby residents about traffic and noise.

Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace filed a petition with the Town of North Hempstead to rezone part of its property in Port Washington from “Parking” to “Business-A” and to remove the covenant that was placed on that property, according to Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte.

“The covenant that is currently in place states that west of the current building must be a parking lot,” Dalimonte said in a newsletter to her constituents last week. “Uncle Giuseppe’s would like to expand into that parking lot and demolish the existing tenant space on the northeast of the property and repurpose that area into a parking lot.”

Owned by the company of the same name and one of nine such markets on Long Island, Uncle Giuseppe’s presented its plan in a meeting on Tuesday night with the community and Dalimonte in attendance, answering questions received beforehand from residents.

Nick Stripp, director of facilities and construction management for Uncle Giuseppe’s, began the meeting, conducted over Zoom.

“We’re really excited about our plans and we’ve done a lot of work to ensure that we’re providing what we believe to be the best design for the local community,” Stripp told the meeting’s 60 attendees.

Among the proposed changes are the addition of a closed trash compactor, full finishes on all four sides of the building, and some changes to the inside, modeled after the company’s North Babylon location, albeit smaller to fit the Port store’s 20,000 square feet. New construction would also extend from the current building.

“In the current parking lot, behind Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, would be a new construction extending off of the existing space,” Stripp said. “So in reality, the proposed plan is actually not increasing the overall square footage, by it’s just a matter of actually relocating existing square footage from the north other side to the southwest of the area of the parking lot here.”

The compactor and a proposed loading dock would be enclosed in the structure, Stripp added, which would speed up unloading of trucks and cut down on noise.

“We’ve added in a proposed eight-foot-high block wall here, which would enclose the compactor and loading dock areas, the new building here, again, the loading dock would be in this general area, so the big trucks would back into here,” Stripp said. “And they’d be unloading internal to the space, directly from the trucks into the loading dock, which is again all connected.”

A study by the company also said that noise would not noticeably spill into any adjacent lots, Stripp said.

“We had a sound impact analysis done,” Stripp said. “And it was shown that the proposed changes do not increase the sound that would be spilling into any of the adjacent lots, it would not be increased or decreased. But the time that the sound would be happening would be substantially decrease just due to the speed of the unloading. Basically the efficiency increases by having the trailer unloaded through a loading dock.”

He added that should the plans be constructed, work would run five days a week and codes would be adhered to.

“We would certainly maintain, we wouldn’t be going beyond any of the predetermined local codes or limitations regarding [construction],” Stripp said.

Philip DelPrete, president of Uncle Giuseppe’s and a co-owner of the company, was also on the call, and said that since the Port store had been under the company’s control for 10 years, the company felt it was time for upgrades.

“We’re trying to upgrade the store for the neighborhood and be able to increase the beauty of the neighborhood,” DelPrete said. “When we took over the store, we renovated it. And I think that’s somewhere around 12 years ago. And we’d like to renovate the stores every 10 years. It just makes sense for the store and for the neighborhood.”

While answering questions submitted by the public in the meeting’s “chat” feature, Stripp said construction could begin late this year or early next year.

“Well, we’re probably looking at this project taking off sometime in either early 2022 or, if everything goes swimmingly and perfectly, late 2021, but right now, we’re probably about a year away,” Stripp said.

As for the length of construction, DelPrete estimated that it could take six months.

Questions from residents showed that concerns of noise and traffic continued to prevail in the community, including preventing tractor trailers from using Neulist Avenue as a primary entrance and exit path, which Stripp said the company would look into.

Dalimonte complimented the company and the community for their eagerness to participate.

“I really hear that you guys want to be a great neighbor, a good neighbor,” Dalimonte said.
“And I see that.”

DelPrete added that the input of the community was crucial to the company.

“It’s a big investment on our part, so we want to be neighbor-friendly,” DelPrete said. “Without you, the neighbors, we don’t have customers. So we’re going to do everything possible to make you, the neighbors happy.”

Discussions will continue at another public meeting, the date of which has yet to be announced.

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