Traffic worries delay OK for Old Westbury Gardens calendar

The mansion at Old Westbury Gardens. (Photo by Gryffindor via Wikimedia Commons)

By Kristy O’Connell

The Old Westbury Village Board of Trustees postponed approval of the Old Westbury Gardens 2017 events calendar on Tuesday, saying officials need to visit the site and get more details about traffic plans and attendance estimates for each event.

Mayor Fred Carillo said the many high-traffic events at Old Westbury Gardens warrant police assistance with traffic and cars should be directed to exit onto Post Road instead of Old Westbury Road.

Residents of Old Westbury Road, which has more residents than Post Road, have complained about noise and congestion in the area, Carillo said. Currently, cars only exit onto Post Road for the “Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns” event.

“We are concerned about safety but also not to disrupt the residents nearby,” Carillo said.

Carillo expressed particular concern about the annual Antique and Collectible Auto Show, saying, “The Ferraris, the Lamborghinis, they can’t help but be loud.”

Cars exiting onto Post Road could create some danger to pedestrians walking to and from the restrooms and cafe that are located on the street, Nancy Costopulous, the Old Westbury Gardens president and CEO, said.

Old Westbury Gardens has hired an outside parking firm that has proven effective at getting cars into parking lots more quickly, preventing traffic backups on Old Westbury Road, Paul Hunchak, the director of visitor services at Old Westbury Gardens, told trustees.

Costopulous also suggested a plan to escort vehicles onto Old Westbury Road with a golf cart to keep them from going to fast or being too loud.

“They can’t rev up if they‘re only going 10 miles per hour,” Costopulous said.

Also on Tuesday, the Board of Trustees postponed a vote on a request to remove about 20,000 cubic yards of soil from the Petzold residence at 80 Store Hill Road, pending the board’s visit to the site.

The plans by architect Emilio Suso and land surveyor Roger Hess for a new house, garage, pool and driveway would require the removal of about 19,300 cubic yards of soil from the seven-acre property.

That would violate the village code, which allows the removal of up to 7,500 cubic yards.

It will likely take 800 to 900 truckloads to clear that much soil, village Engineer Paul Stevens said.

The plan requires several approvals from Nassau County and New York State agencies, Stevens said.

Trustee Edward Novick asked about the potential for neighbors to hear and see the construction.

Hess said the residence to the east is more than 300 feet away, with a swimming pool in between. New York State owns the adjoining properties to the south and west, he said.

Because the property owner would like to begin construction as soon as possible, the excavation of the soil is a priority and will be completed first once approval is given, Susa said.

Removal of the soil is expected to take approximately one month, Susa said. It is uncertain where workers will take the soil when it is removed.

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