Written by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman Friday, 12 February 2010 00:00
In the Village of Great Neck, an old eyesore will be cleaned up as a small synagogue moves from a rented storefront across Piccadilly Road, south, to 429 Middle Neck Road.
Rabbi Joseph Alon, on behalf of Kol Israel Achim Inc., petitioned the village’s Board of Appeals for a conditional use permit to allow the small congregation to clean up the old Piccadilly Gas Station site and renovate the property to allow a synagogue.
The synagogue is permitted at that site, provided the board of appeals grants a special use permit. It is the job of the board of appeals to address certain issues such as parking safety and site planning (lay-out, shrubs, etc.). The synagogue’s proposal would need a variance from the on-site parking required under village code. The first hearing was held last Thursday evening, Feb. 4. A second hearing is slated for Thursday evening, March 4.
Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman told the Great Neck Record that he is “delighted that Rabbi Alon is going to take this over-five-year-old eyesore and blight and make it attractive for the village.” Mayor Kreitzman added that “This appears to be the perfect place for a temple, given that in the last five years no business appears to have expressed any serious interest in the property.” The mayor says that he will “look forward to continuing to work with Rabbi Alon in his efforts.”
As for any necessary environmental cleanup required, particularly on the site of a former gas station, Mayor Kreitzman offered the following statement: “I understand that the former owner (of the gas station) removed the tanks and only a small amount of environmental remediation is yet to be completed.”
Deputy Mayor Mitchell Beckerman also supports the move, stating: “Absolutely, it would have been better to have a taxpaying business in this location, but nobody has stepped up to the plate in that regard.” The deputy mayor added that “Rabbi Alon is willing to put money into the property to make the gateway to our business district beautiful and for that I applaud him.”
According to Deputy Mayor Beckerman, the new synagogue building would maintain the same footprint as the old gas station, with just a change in façade. Additionally, the blacktop will be replaced by permeable pavers, and the deputy mayor emphasized, “The site will be cleaned up.”