The North Hempstead Town Board voted unanimously last Thursday to approve plans to expand and renovate the Laurel Homes apartment complex in Roslyn Heights, much to the disapproval of some residents.
The plans include the demolishing and rebuilding of all on-site buildings, upgrading or replacing sewer, electric and plumbing lines, increasing the number of units in the affordable housing complex from 66 to 74, and adding 22 parking spots.
Sean Rainey, North Hempstead Housing Authority executive director, said at the meeting that he had spoken either on the phone or in person to nearly all the residents in Laurel Homes who were concerned about being relocated during the renovations.
“It’s a very difficult time when people have to be relocated,” Rainey said. “Some people have been living in that housing for 30 years, so I understand their concern and their stress, but I see it as exciting. These developments have been redone in the past, and maybe they haven’t been done the way we’d all like them to be, but we’re going to do them the right way.”
The meeting included a public hearing on the proposed renovation, and various current residents of Laurel Homes stood to speak about the plans. Resident Deirdre Price claimed that some residents hadn’t been told that they would return after relocation.
“Don’t sugarcoat anything, tell them the truth,” Price said. “If they’re going to be moved to another location, let them know you’re not coming back. Don’t give them false hope and say OK, when everything’s done you’re going to come back.”
In response, Rainey said, “Every single person who lives at Laurel Homes right now that has to relocate, that qualifies, will be able to move back.”
Shortly after the meeting, a statement from Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth confirmed the renovations.
“Affordable housing is vital to our community and providing safe, modern and pleasant homes is so important to me and my administration,” Bosworth said. “The North Hempstead Housing Authority did a wonderful job on renovating the Pond View Homes in Manhasset two years ago, and I am sure that the renovation of Laurel Homes will result in a contemporary and fresh look for this community.”
Jericho-based affordable housing developer Georgica Green Ventures LLC, will carry out the plans.
Renovations to Laurel Homes will begin in the winter, according to a Town of North Hempstead news release, and will consist of three separate six-to-eight month phases, or 18 to 24 months in total.