After just three months of opening, Polish Deli owner Grzegorz Bak, 916 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, came before the New Hyde Park Village Board to ask for a special use permit to allow for the ability to cook foods in his store.
The original permit was for the store to only be a Polish grocery store with no prepared foods and now Bak said he has had inquiries from quite a large number of customers who want him to provide hot Kielbasas, hot pirogies and sandwiches.
He explained he has a huge counter and it would be easy to prepare hot foods with a countertop grill. His hours are currently from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. but with the new permit he would also be asking for an extension of hours from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. so that he could provide breakfast foods such as kielbasa with egg sandwiches.
Mayor Daniel Petruccio said that he is always happy to see businesses succeed, but he said he was mindful of the fact that this store is located in very close proximity to Park Deli, which has been in business in New Hyde Park for 49 years.
Deputy Mayor Robert Lofaro said that coming before the board shortly after receiving an initial permit puts the board in a very "awkward" position.
Bak said that most of his customers are of Polish descent and, for the most part, do not live in the New Hyde Park area, but rather come from other areas such as Glen Cove and Hempstead; and when they do they are looking for kielbasas, pirogies and stuffed cabbage.
When the meeting was open to the public, Artie Ruesch, representing his father who owns Park Deli, came to the microphone. He said he felt it was a very bad precedent of the village to allow a permit to be changed in such a short space of time. He pointed out that anyone could receive a permit for a facility and then within months come back to the board and change the conditions of the permit. When asked by trustee Donald Barbieri if he served kielbasa and pirogies he said he did so, but usually just for holidays. He also added that he felt sure that Bak had in the back of his mind when he first applied for the application that he would be coming back to change the conditions of the application.
He further pointed out that there are many food places in the vicinity such as an Italian deli, a diner and Blimpie's, which closed because of the amount of competition in the area. He ended his short comments by saying, "I hope that you will consider my objections to this application."
The next person to speak was David Peykar, who identified himself as the manager of the building at 916 Jericho Turnpike. He said he disagreed with Ruesch and that competition is good. He pointed out that many stores in the area sell foods, including the bagel shop, Umberto's, Italian Deli, Pizza Shop and Chinese food store and he said that is good for the village. He said he did advise Bak to go the "extra mile" when he applied for the initial application so that would have been done in "one shot."
The board reserved decision on the application because it now has to return to the Nassau County Planning Commission; and when their reply is received, in about 30 days, the board will vote on the application.
Regular Meeting of New Hyde Park Village Board
After the hearing, Mayor Petruccio started the regular meeting of the New Hyde Park Village Board by asking for trustee reports.
Trustee Richard Coppola
Trustee Coppola reported that the fire department has asked that residents please see to it that fire hydrants in front of their homes are kept clear in case of snow.
He also reminded everyone that the New Hyde Park Lions Club is conducting its annual Christmas tree sale, with all the proceeds going to charity, in the village lot next to Starbucks on Jericho Turnpike, across the street from village hall. He urged everyone who is buying a live tree to please purchase one from the Lions.
In the police report, Coppola said that last Sunday 12 cars were broken into on North 12th Street and that the crimes are under investigation by the 3rd Precinct.
Deputy Mayor Robert Lofaro
Lofaro made a disturbing report regarding a recent meeting he, the mayor and the village clerk Patrick Farrell had with the LIRR President Ray Kenny and a representative of New York State Senator Michael Balboni. At that meeting, LIRR specifically indicated that they did not want a public meeting. The meeting was to discuss the main line corridor and the elimination of the at-grade crossing and the impact it would have on the Village of New Hyde Park.
Lofaro said that the LIRR discussed the public hearing held last June where the New Hyde Park residents had a chance to speak on the issues. Now, the federal government will come back in September or December of '07 and will announce how they plan to eliminate the at-grade crossing.
Lofaro said that all the suggestions of elimination involved condemning at least 30 residential and commercial properties which would have a huge impact on the quality of life of the residents of the Village of New Hyde Park.
The entire project is projected to cost about $100 million. He said that both he and the mayor were shocked to find out that the plans call for the elimination of so many properties in New Hyde Park. Years ago, Lofaro noted, the village was strongly against erecting a trestle to get rid of the at-grade crossing; and at the time it seemed the least expensive way, but the residents were against it. Now the project is estimated to cost at least $100 million. He said that the village and the railroad intend to have an ongoing dialogue on the subject.
Trustee Donald Barbieri
Trustee Barbieri thanked all those involved in the Cultural Commission for the tree-lighting event and for the program for the children, sponsored by State Bank of Long Island that preceded the tree lighting. He said both events were very well-attended and a great atmosphere was created for the start of the holiday season.
Barbieri also announced that a New Hyde Park Memorial student, Daniel Luo, was to give a piano recital at the William Gill Theater on the second floor of New Hyde Park Village Hall. He said he was delighted that the theater could now be used since the lift to the second floor has been installed.
Trustee Lawrence Montreuil
Trustee Montreuil announced that 55 new permits were issued in the village and that the next Board of Zoning hearing would involve six cases.
Mayor Daniel Petruccio
Mayor Petruccio added his thanks to all those who worked on the tree-lighting ceremonies. He said he thought it was the biggest crowd so far at the event.
He also commented that the LIRR plan will certainly have an impact on the village.
Regarding the moving of the library, he said that since the Hillside Library is getting ready to move, the New Hyde Park Library is moving forward to transport their books to that location.
He added that since that space will be available in the basement of village hall, folks need to suggest what can be done to utilize that space. He said he would welcome suggestions from residents.
The mayor then read the bills and the amount of certioraris that had to be paid through negotiated settlements.
The meeting was then adjourned. The next meeting will be held on December 19 at 8 p.m. at village hall.