The Levittown Property Owners Association (LPOA) met on Feb. 10 with President Jim Morrow presiding. The situation at the North Village Green continues to claim our attention. The adjacent neighbors are compelled to view indefinitely the half-demolished structure where the St. Thomas Malankara Orthodox Church seeks to erect a church.
President Morrow read a letter on the latest developments from Town Councilman Gary Hudes addressed to the residents in the area and to LPOA members. Councilman Hudes also had recently met with the LPOA executive board to discuss the matter. In his letter he stated that "the counsel to the Board of Zoning Appeals will be appealing the decision" of the state Supreme Court which overturned the denial of application for variance in January, 2004. The town lawyer "will seek a stay of the court's ruling" and will have six months to submit a brief to the Appellate Court asking that it overturn the lower court's decision. In the meantime, the property cannot be developed. The owners can respond to the appeal. These proceedings could take as long as one or two years, due to the crowded court calendars.
The St. Thomas Malankara Church now wishes to demolish the remaining walls and amend its original plan. This requires a new permit for which they have applied. There is concern about asbestos, hence LPOA members stressed that the demolition be done by a company licensed for asbestos removal.
The excessive parking requirement of the church calling for variances for 73 parking spaces in the town-maintained parking field is not the only concern of nearby residents. They also worry about traffic congestion, noise and air pollution, and the use of the swimming pools, play areas and bowling alley. Councilman Hudes stated that the use of the park play areas and pools would not be permitted to church members unless 50 percent of them are Levittown residents. Only Levittown residents and their guests may use these facilities. In his letter, Councilman Hudes concluded that "the protection of our suburban quality of life is one of our top priorities as your representatives in town government." He promised to keep us "updated on this important local matter."
The issue of the approaching school budget vote was briefly discussed, and we agreed to invite a representative with financial information to the April 13 meeting. There was a reminder from Andy Booth on the importance of voting. Also, there were remarks on the "ludicrous salary contract" given to the superintendent in light of the unsatisfactory performance of our students, who rank below other districts and below the Nassau County median in test scores.
The next meeting of the LPOA will be on March 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Levittown Library Community Room.