The Hallock proposal for an assisted living facility on South Street completed the second part of its permit process. Attorney Jeffrey Forchelli represented the case to the Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday, March 9.
Appearing before Chairman Jack Libert, Mr. Forchelli presented the bare bones of his case, that the pending SUP application needed the parking lot on Burtis Avenue to comply with town regulations for a 112 unit assisted living facility. The Holiday Organization and 286 South Street Realty need the 132 x 60 ft. lot in a G business zone to use for employee parking. It has 28 parking spaces available.
There are 67 spaces needed and 41 are on site. The remaining 26 spaces would be provided by the Burtis lot, he said.
Mr. Forchelli said he talked to neighboring Mr. Perkins on Wednesday, March 8, on the eastern border of the site. The result was a 9ft. planting buffer resulting in a reduction of spaces to seven on that side. They will be parked lengthwise and not parallel to each other, allowing for a center lane. Mr. Perkins would rather see parking than a building on the site, said Mr. Forchelli.
While that leaves the project short of space, Mr. Forchelli told the board the Hallock project had been reduced from 97,000 sq. ft. to 80,000 sq. ft. and the five spaces would be provided there.
Mr. Libert and Mr. Forchelli dialogued about the assisted living industry of which the former has knowledge because of his work in Lynbrook: that five percent have cars; there will be between 20 and 25 employees at peak meal times. The latter added that the Burtis Avenue lot would be used during the day and that night workers would use the ALF lot, reducing noise on the residential street; then Mr. Forchelli added letters of support from Nathalie Bernstein and Dot Rahilly.
When the ZBA hearing began at 7 p.m. Ted and Tom Swiencki of Oyster Bay Marine Supply; Scott Davis of Oyster Bay Dodge; Harry Buck and George Doering were there, interested in speaking about the case, but when hearing number 27 came up after 10 p.m., only the latter two were there.
Local resident Harry Buck, an international attorney, opposed the application pointing to discrepancies in the site. He said the application for the ALF didn't include the Burtis property and therefore Úquot;no one researched it.Úquot; It is not vacant as it was represented, but is being used as an automobile storage facility in direct violation of the adjacent gas station property.
The lack of a map missed informing the town that it is next to residential property which would mean the need for a 10 ft. buffer or setback. There were no trees indicated either. They are 30Úquot; in diameter, he said.
Mr. Buck presented the ZBA with an eight-page letter to include in the file. Úquot;I don't understand why we are here if there is no research,Úquot; said Mr. Buck. Úquot;It is garbage in and garbage out!Úquot;
Board member Scott Guardino pointed out to Mr. Libert a discrepancy in the lot numbers on Mr. Forchelli's application.
Mr. Buck said there was no permit for the 6-foot fence on the property or permit for its use as an automobile storage lot for prepping cars. Úquot;It has a lock, it is not a parking lot,Úquot; said Mr. Buck, Úquot;although the application is for the continuation of an existing use, which it isn't.Úquot;
He added that it was 57 ft. wide and not 60 ft. The trees take up three feet of the site.
He asked if the town had any record of violations against the property since it was violating town code. Mr. Libert said, Úquot;No.Úquot;
Mr. Buck said, that 20 plus employees would be crossing what he called the busiest street in town, South Street with no light and no crosswalk. He said parking is also needed for visitors, physicians and family members; there is poor visibility when leaving the site; there is lack of parking for the funeral home across the street; and questioned working with a company, (the Holiday organization,) of which the owner has a conviction for bribery that was not mentioned in the application.
Mr. Forchelli was ready to respond with research of his own and explained that he was not the original attorney on the case. He gave the history of the lot ending with the information that the gas station now uses only 90 ft. of its original 100-ft. and the remaining 10-ft. is part of the parking lot area. That will allow them to try to maintain some of the trees along that side.
Mr. Libert noted a clerical error in the public notice about the site. They will check with the town attorney to see if there is a problem. He said they reserved their decision.
Burtis Avenue resident Anthony Perkins said he hoped the appearance of the lot would be good, with sensible lighting and shrubbery including the side buffer and in front.
Mr. Libert said while the board was free to listen to the application they would not vote on it until the SUP is given. Then a site plan review will take place.
Sampson Street resident Ed Rahilly spoke in favor of the parking site. Resident Mitchell Furman said he was in favor of the entire ASL plan. He was not concerned with the parking problems of the funeral home saying they survived without it before. As to accidents, he said the man recently killed on Pine Hollow Road (the continuation of South Street) walked out between two parked cars.
Steven Ayala was concerned on how the lot would look and said he liked the peace and quiet of Burtis Avenue.
At 11:20 p.m. the case was finished.
The ZBA meeting had started at 7 p.m. with the Hallock hearing listed as number 27. Ted Swiencki spoke to the board saying they should have meetings on both the south and north shore to reduce the number of cases heard each night.
Two experts visiting town hall to testify had praise for the ZBA saying they held several hearings each month. One said, Úquot;I wouldn't sell the board short. They cut to the chase. They try to get to the important facts.Úquot;
They said the Town of North Hempstead and Hempstead hold their ZBA hearings during the day which is more inconvenient for residents.
The Huntington ZBA has a whole different character, they said: in the same time Oyster Bay hears 30 cases, Huntington hears eight to 10.
They said Oyster Bay was Úquot;not a carte blanche giveawayÚquot;: that's why they have lawyers and experts testifying at the meetings. The board members look at the law and the impact on the surroundings in their decisions, they said.