Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 24 June 2011 00:00
The City of Glen Cove Planning Board held a public hearing Tuesday night at City Hall to consider an application for a special use and site plan to redevelop the property at Village Square. Glen Cove residents and business owners voiced their opinions on the Glen Cove Piazza project.
The plan is to redevelop the property into four buildings that are four- and five-stories high, consisting of 142 multi-family residential apartments and approximately 27,000 square feet of retail space. An additional 107 parking spaces will be added in underground garages, with intent to use the existing garages that are currently underutilized.
Citizens packed the main chamber of City Hall to view photos and a DVD of the proposed project and to ask questions of the site developer, Michael Puntillo of Jobco Realty and Construction, who currently owns the property. Many residents had concerns over the increase of traffic congestion, the effect on property taxes, whether there would be adequate parking spaces, how the city’s emergency services departments would be impacted and how to guarantee that businesses and young people would come to Glen Cove, when there are currently many vacant businesses downtown, as well as boarded up homes and empty rental spaces.
“I lived in Queens my whole life before moving to Glen Cove three years ago,” said one woman. “I did notice a lack of vibrancy downtown, but those empty buildings should be fixed first…you need to look at what we need. This plan is overcrowded – take a look at Flushing. That could happen to Glen Cove.”
“Apartments are more of a drain than a help on taxes,” said another resident. “And I have a feeling they would be empty.”
Business owners and younger Glen Cove residents expressed their support for the project, including representatives from the BID, LIA and the executive director of Vision Long Island, who said he was “very positive about this project” and that it is “one of the most fabulous applications that we’ve seen” in terms of mixed use for a downtown area. Many people said they would love to have a more vibrant downtown, but expressed doubts about the reality of securing acceptable tenants and flourishing businesses.
After more than two hours of hearing questions from the public, Chairman Tom Scott directed the questions to Mr. Puntillo, who spent another hour addressing all concerns.
He explained that the project is expected to generate double the amount of property taxes currently being paid on the properties, and that he plans on marketing to businesses that will complement existing businesses. He said the only way to get the project done is with a PILOT program – the terms of which are still in negotiations - and that he already has secured the interest of some local businesses that want to open second locations, and current tenants who want to come back upon completion of the piazza.
Puntillo said he is working hard to attract businesses, however, many that are interested want to know where their employees would live, which is why he has included apartments in the plan. Additionally, he said that he has an agreement in the works with New York Institute of Technology for renting out approximately half of the apartments to medical students working on their graduate degrees. The other affordable housing units would be “income restricted” and he said he does not anticipate any Section 8 housing. Additionally, there is talk of having a shuttle bus to and from the campus.
“These are serious students,” he assured the audience. “There will be no keg parties on the piazza.”
The board reserved decision on the application, opting to keep the hearing open to the public for 10 days and urging people to submit their concerns in writing. They do expect to vote on it in the next two-four weeks.