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Great Neck: Old Village, New Main Street

Changes Coming for Old Village

The Village of Great Neck took one more step forward in its Old Village, New Main Street Project, with village counsel instructed to draft legislation to revise zoning both the north and south ends of Middle Neck Road in the village. The rezoning proposals were discussed at the Dec. 21 board of trustees meeting, with the mayor making the rezoning proposals, with the consensus of the board of trustees.

Mayor Ralph Kreitzman asked village attorney Stephen Limmer to draft legislation that would rezone the east side of Middle Neck Road, south of Baker Hill Road, to include multi-family residences. This legislation would permit this multi-family zoning to be either the same as or similar to the current apartment zoning. The mayor noted that the other side of Middle Neck Road (south of CVS) is now already all temples or apartments, as is the area below Piccadilly Road on the east side of Middle Neck Road.

For the area north of Arrandale Avenue/Hicks Lane, for the east side, once again the proposal is for multi-family apartment buildings. Plus, there would be a “permissible townhouse component,” according to the mayor. As for everything already existing in those areas, those buildings would be “grandfathered” (allowed to remain).

With respect to the commercial area in between, the concept is to permit apartments above stores. Mayor Kreitzman indicated that they should also consider three stories for certain buildings with some incentive zoning in this area “to foster store front rentals to sought-after businesses.” The mayor said that there would need to be more thoughts with respect to this area, such as the need for parking. Such further recommendations will be discussed before any law is drafted.

Following two recent meetings with the architects and a meeting with the Great Neck Park District (to plan coordinating efforts with work on the Village Green), the plans began to move forward. Meetings with the park district have focused on revitalization and how work on the village and on the Village Green can be mutually helpful; a “win-win” situation.

Although the rezoning had been discussed informally several times, including a number of focus group discussions, the subject was first raised at a board meeting on Dec. 21.

The architects working on the revitalization of Middle Neck Road will issue a report regarding the consensus and the issues raised by focus groups, as well as some additional recommendations. Mayor Kreitzman said that report will hopefully come before the village in January. Other issues to be addressed include recommendations for signs, awnings, and façade guidelines. Some of these components have already been reviewed, in draft, by the mayor and Deputy Mayor Mitchell Beckerman.

As well, the mayor has already met with engineers to discuss repaving and improvement to certain village parking lots, sidewalks, and the “apron” between the sidewalk and the road in specific areas. Mayor Kreitzman explained that there will probably be some “significant” work on some of the parking lots in connection with the 2011 village roadway program.

Smoking Ban for

Middle Neck Road

Also at the Dec. 21 board meeting, the mayor and trustees continued a public hearing on a proposed local law to prohibit smoking along Middle Neck Road (in the Old Village) and on portions of adjoining streets. This is Bill 6 of 2010.

Mayor Kreitzman said that the law was first proposed in response to merchants who have approached the village, saying that customers come into their stores and complain of the smoke outside the shops and the problem of smoke coming into the stores.

At the public hearing the mayor suggested changing the proposed law to limit smoking on sidewalks on Middle Neck Road and the adjoining areas, just in front of commercial buildings and the Village Green park. After further discussion, the area in front of the Senior Housing Authority at 700 Middle Neck Road, and areas around village benches in village parking lots was added.

Due to these material changes, the law could not be adopted at this meeting. The public hearing was closed and the village attorney will draft revised legislation. This revised legislation will come before the board at the Jan 4 meeting.