Town approves plan for Willis Avenue development

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Architect Charles Olivo presents plans for 361 Willis Avenue at the Sept. 25th meeting of the Town of North Hempstead's town council. (Photo by Rose Weldon)

The North Hempstead Town Board approved plans for renovations at a Willis Avenue shopping center in Roslyn Heights at a meeting last Wednesday.

The 30,859-square-foot, 2.3-acre shopping center at 361 Willis Ave., which currently houses a CVS Pharmacy and a Starbucks Coffee, will receive two new businesses, restaurant Chopt Creative Salad Company and fitness studio Barry’s Boot Camp.

Kathleen Deegan Dickson of the Uniondale-based law firm Forchelli Deegan Terrana Law, which represents the applicant, RH 361 LLC, and its developer Adam Mann, said that the new businesses were meant to complement the existing ones.

“The concept here is to create a lifestyle center where local residents could walk, spend a lot of time shopping, eating, meeting friends, working out,” Deegan Dickson said. “It’s a place where people will find a sense of community.”

The existing CVS will also receive a drive-through window for its pharmacy, the parking lot will be “reconfigured,” and a site will be added for future businesses.

The project received variances for its “parking lot layout” and for signs “to be consistent with other similar shopping centers in the town” at earlier meetings with the town’s zoning board, Deegan Dickson said.

“To make sure that the impacts truly are minimized, Adam Mann has had several meetings and discussions over the past several months with the neighboring civic associations,” Deegan Dickson said. “He’s really taken it very seriously to the community and to incorporate their feedback into the improvement of the shopping center.”

The development’s site plan and permits were approved in a resolution proposed by Councilman Peter J. Zuckerman, who said his office worked with Mann throughout the process and applauded Mann’s community outreach.

“The existing site was in major disrepair, the parking lot was outdated, was a safety hazard,” Zuckerman said. “Mr. Mann worked with multiple civic groups and members of the community to get their input on this, in order to try to design this in a way that would be most receptive to the community, and they’ve done that.”

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth also paid notice to Mann’s outreach, quoting letters from the South Park Civic Association and Strathmore Civic Association.

“We often have people come here saying they want to develop something, and every council person always says, it’s important to go out to the communities, to reach out to them. and it’s so clear that this is being done here,” Bosworth said. “I wish that every project presented to us would be presented in this kind of detail, with this kind of sensitivity, not only wanting it to be a successful center but to take into account how it could possibly impact the neighbors.”

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