Written by Carol Frank Friday, 09 December 2011 00:00
The five-member zoning board in the Village of Great Neck voted to approve the plans for a 41-space accessory parking lot at 2 Potters Lane with Tedi Kashi abstaining as he is a member of the applicant organization.
In November of 2008 this story began. It started with the destruction of 41 trees illegally clear-cut from a parcel of land on Potters Lane and resulted in the imposition of a fine of $40,000 and the requirement that three new trees would be planted for each tree decimated by the defendants, the United Mashadi Jewish Community.
Since that time the Village of Great Neck Board of Zoning Appeals has conducted a long, open public hearing. They have listened to outraged neighbors who are still appalled that the wooded area was illegally razed and that the privacy and sense of sanctuary it afforded is lost, to residents who have raised concerns about the Religious Land Use law and how it has allowed religious institutions to “be above the law,” and to members of the temple and neighbors who cited the traffic congestion and difficulties of parking in the area. There was also much controversy about members of the zoning board, including one who is no longer on the board, vowing to vote on the matter in spite of being members of the applicant congregation.
In the beginning, the meetings were heavily attended by the public and were an opportunity for neighbors to vent their frustrations. In time, as the years have gone by, residents began to realize that ultimately the parking lot would be approved, but that they could provide input to make the parking lot less intrusive and more attractive.
The plan that was approved has been significantly altered over time. There will be a full 15-foot buffer, thickly planted with trees and shrubs. The parking lot will have permeable pavers as walkways into the gravel lot. Lighting will be shielded; it will not “trespass” onto neighbors’ homes. There will be a security camera; the lot will be gated and entrance into the lot will be locked when it is not in use.
The story, however, is not over.
The Great Neck Park District owns property which abuts the rear portion of 2 Potters Lane. When the applicant filed for adverse possession of a “paper street” on the parcel, which the park district had used to service the tennis facility on their lot, the park district says they were not notified. That lawsuit is still pending.