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Letter: Getting The Villa Facts Straight

To the residents of Glen Cove: I felt it was very important to respond to the letter published in the Record Pilot on Feb. 26, “The Villa Is Wrong For Glen Cove” written by G. Valente, which contains numerous inaccuracies and has a reckless disregard for the truth.

 

The existing site is a blighted location and an embarrassment to Glen Cove. It is one of two major gateways in the city and unfortunately a first and last impression of Glen Cove. The Master Plan that involved hundreds of people, multiple agencies, studies, engineers, public hearings and community groups, etc., over nearly a four year process recommended the zoning law, which allows this project to proceed. The city’s zoning laws provide very specific development criteria with which The Villa fully complies. In fact, The Villa is significantly less in size and scope than what the law permits to be built.

 

The Villa streetscape buildings along Glen Cove Ave. now vary from two to four stories above the sidewalk, not five stories. Further, the main structure, located over 130 feet away from Glen Cove Ave., has been reduced to a five-story building and is not six to seven stories. 

 

The Villa parking is all hidden underground which reduces the size of the buildings and makes the development more beautiful. This is why there is an incentive density bonus for concealed, structured parking, which is very expensive to construct. So too is designing six smaller attractive buildings in lieu of one large monolithic structure. 

 

The Villa will add significant streetscape improvements to both sides of Glen Cove Ave., Craft Ave., and Ralph Young Ave. are significant with over 1,800 feet of streetscape improvements, including pavers, new sidewalks, trees, lanterns, and garden and fountain areas; thereby establishing and beautifying a new entryway into our city. This is why a density bonus exists for streetscape/offsite improvements. A 22 passenger shuttle service was also added to bring residents to the downtown, local train stations and ferry.

 

The Villa site’s topography is a unique advantage for the project. The 70-foot gradient differential works in favor of the surrounding community and the project. Although this change in grade occurs over a distance of approximately 600 feet, it allows the buildings to sit well below the adjacent properties. The project has been designed and reviewed by numerous architects and professional engineers. The building design and modern water retention and control systems mitigate any concern of water runoff or erosion. In fact, the well-designed system will drastically improve the current conditions in the area.

 

Any real estate professional would agree that The Villa will only increase property values in the surrounding area and encourage redevelopment to the rest of the corridor leading to the downtown. The blight and dilapidation in this area is destroying the character of the city and community. The existing gateway to the city is an embarrassment to the Gold Coast and unfortunately it is the first and last impression of people entering and exiting the city. It is time to clean it up and invigorate this long neglected area.

 

Over the last decade the Livingston Group has met with a multitude of individuals; they have held events and met with almost every agency, group, and/or department that exists in Glen Cove. These introductory meetings included work sessions to welcome the comments, needs and desires of the community. That input was incorporated into the project and its current program. In fact, the Livingston Group has maintained a public outreach office at 50 Glen St. for the past six years. Mr. Livingston has been completely truthful and cooperative, and never threatened to sell the property to any low income developers. However, he has been approached by multiple low income groups that have strong interest in buying him out of his current investment. To write a statement that was never made by an individual and engage in a reckless disregard of the truth is libel.

 

A great demand exists for condominiums of this type on the north shore of Long Island. The Master Plan recognized this demand and hence proposed certain zoning recommendations to provide housing to an open market, not another 55+ community, many of which already exist in Glen Cove. The young people are leaving our great city--something we cannot afford to lose. Who will volunteer for the fire department? Who will join our police force? Who will take on city jobs? Who will shop at our stores?

 

Our new administration seems to understand the need to keep our young adults in Glen Cove, improve and expand upon our economic base to help support and drive commerce, expand our resources and promote our city. They are already taking the positive steps necessary to get Glen Cove back on its feet and reclaim its title as “The Jewel of the Gold Coast.”

 

Philip Maisch

 

Concerned citizen, former member of the 

 

Glen Cove Planning Board