Mineola Village hosts lively hearing on gym expansion

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Mayor Strauss led the hearing. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

A public hearing at Mineola Village Hall on extending the size of a gym was met with opposition and one resident even calling for an investigation last week.

Noah Siegel, the owner of Siege Athletics, said he has done a lot of work on his own to get his athletic center up and running. Now he is requesting permission from the village to enlarge the existing facility at 228 E. Jericho Turnpike.

On receiving pushback from residents, Siegel said, “I fully expected exactly what happened.”

The facility, part of a larger business complex on Jericho Turnpike, is looking to lease an empty storefront next door to the gym to expand its size. It is replacing a business that sold kitchen cabinets, said Siegel, who submitted his application in late May or early June.

Trustee Paul Cusato voiced his concern at the hearing last Wednesday over Siegel’s putting a flier on the front door about meter workers in the village and asking that customers pay the parking meter. “It was an emotional response from me,” Siegel said.

The message on the flier said, “New meter maid. Very boring. Likes to hurt small business. Pay meters.”

In an interview, Siegel said parking is an issue in Mineola, and a part of almost every village board meeting and hearing.

The board, which did not make a decision during the meeting, opened up the floor for attendees to speak. A majority of the speakers were concerned about noise from weights dropping in the gym. Trustee Dennis Walsh said when he visited the facility, he felt and heard no substantial vibrations from dropping weights.

During the hearing, Siegel showed off platforms to be installed on the floor. “These are 2 foot-by-2- foot, 1-point-5-inch ballistic rubber mats and these will be the new installation on those platforms,” Siegel said.

At the meeting, six residents who live nearby the gym came up to the podium to speak.

One resident, Rich Curso, started off his testimony asking if people drop tires in the gym. Curso, who lives near the gym, described the sounds in his basement from dropping weights.  “It sounds like blasting dynamite in my basement,” he said.

When Curso said he is “dead against” Siege Athletics moving any further down toward his house, Mayor Scott Strauss and the board said the plans would involve the athletic facility moving further east away from Curso’s house.

Another resident, Frank Bancone, not only criticized the facility but called for an investigation into how things are conducted at the gym. Bancone asked for the vote to be postponed, saying many neighbors were on vacation.

Bancone said the back of the facility is “unkempt,” with propane gas containers being left near an air conditioner unit, roof water leaking onto another neighbor’s garage and weeds that are three to four feet high. He told the board that these conditions could lead to insects like mosquitoes swarming the area. Bancone shared photos of the back with the board.

Given the chance to speak at the end of the hearing, Siegel said sanitary concerns with the back of the building have more to do with the owners of the complex where the fitness facility is located. Siegel said that Bancone lives behind the gym and he expected his appearance at the hearing. Bancone has been an opponent of the gym since it opened in October 2014, Siegel said.

Trustee Dennis Walsh asked more about weight-Induced vibrations after the residents spoke. Siegel said there is a weight board in the “back left-hand corner” of the facility that could be to blame for vibration complaints. “My guess is that’s what’s causing some vibrations,” he said.

Siegel said he would be moving equipment around in the gym with the extension.

The board informed Siegel that he will receive a decision from the board soon. As of Tuesday, he had not heard back from the board.

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