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The Winston, the proposed 285-unit condominium complex slated for Old Country Road between Willis Avenue and Main Street, took the next step when it was approved last week by the Village of Mineola Planning Board. All that remains for the project is to get approval for a subdivision of property from the Village of Garden City Planning Commission and the Nassau County Planning Commission.

The Winston, proposed by developer Vincent Polimeni of Polimeni International, calls for the construction of a nine-story, 285-unit condominium complex with a concierge, health club and below-grade parking with 434 spaces.

The Village of Mineola Board of Trustees approved the application for the Winston after holding hearings. During the hearings, residents who attended spoke in support of the project. The village board approved the project unanimously.

Supporters of the project felt that it fits in with the Mineola downtown area and provides pedestrian traffic that could be a boost to the downtown businesses as well as additional tax revenue to the village and school district. In addition, Polimeni International agreed to provide the village with amenities that includes $3 million for capital projects, a 36-unit senior citizen housing complex, known as the Churchill, on Front Street and approximately 40 spaces for the village in a four-story, 272 space parking garage to be built by Polimeni on the north side of Third Street.

The Winston will be a condominium complex with units sold to buyers. Because the property is being divided into separate units and because of its proximity to the Garden City border, the project needs approval from Mineola, Garden City and Nassau County.

Last week, the Winston was granted subdivision approval from the Mineola Planning Board. The Winston still needs subdivision approval from the Garden City Planning Commission and the Nassau County Planning Commission.

Subdivision approval from the Nassau County Planning Commission isn't expected to be a problem. However, the project could be held up by the Village of Garden City Planning Commission. Representatives from Garden City have already expressed their opposition to the project. Garden City Village Trustee Nick Episcopia and former mayor Hal Hecken expressed the belief that the Winston project is too dense and represented an urbanization of the area.

At the Mineola Planning Board hearing last week, Village of Garden City attorney Gary Fishberg expressed concerns about the project.

Mineola Mayor Jack M. Martins contended that the project fits in with the character of the area since it will be located on Old Country Road and near the Mineola train station. Mayor Martins also pointed out that there are other buildings in the area with similar height. Ironically, the Wyndham in Garden City, a luxury condominium complex, is roughly the same height as the proposed Winston.

In another twist that could be considered ironic, Peter Bee, Garden City's Mayor, serves as the attorney for the Village of Mineola's Planning and Review Board.

In addition, according to the attorney John Gibbons of the law firm Spellman Rice Schure Gibbons McDonough and Polizzi, which represents the Village of Mineola, the Village of Garden City participated in the coordinated environmental review with the Mineola Board of Trustees, which culminated in a decision of the board of trustees in July 2008 to approve the site plan for the Winston. "Anyone then had four months to bring an action in the Nassau County Supreme Court to challenge that decision. Nobody did," Gibbons said.

Polimeni said he was pleased that the Village of Mineola Planning Board approved the subdivision of property. A recession has slowed the housing market. However, Polimeni feels the timing could be right for people to purchase condominiums by the time the Winston is built. He feels that it may be another year before construction starts. "Two and half years from now when we're open, it's perfect unless we're in a depression. That could happen, but I don't think so," he said.

About the Winston project going before the Garden City Planning Commission, Polimeni said, "I hope we can show them the light. This [project] truly works."


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