The Village of Manorhaven held a public hearing at which the development firm of Hamlet Homes, Inc., presented a conceptual plan to redevelop 78 Shore Road (a.k.a. Cow Bay Marina, the Chandelry and Ted Steadman's) into a 14 unit condominium complex, with each condo having a deeded boat slip that goes with the property. The condos, which would be called "The Moorings at Manorhaven," would each have three bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and no basements or garages. The maximum building height would be 26 feet and the lot coverage would be 22.9 percent. The cost per condo will be about $250,000. The plan calls for 28 parking spots on the one acre plus piece of property. In order to move forward with this plan, the village has to approve the developer's application for a re-zoning of the property from Industrial Marine l-1 District to Residential R-1 District.
The board and residents, most of whom were opposed to the project, asked several questions about and expressed concerns over the proposal.
Several comments centered around the LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program) which the village board is close to adopting. The LWRP was designed to preserve the waterfront character of the village and encourages waterfront property owners/developers to include as much public access to the water as possible. If public access is not possible, the village wants a water view corridor . The LWRP calls for direct maritime use of the waterfront property, however a residential development would be considered providing it includes a waterside use (i.e. boat slips).
Based on the LWRP, resident Dolores Kazanian O'Brien took issue with the proposal saying, "To develop this site with multiple residences, be they single or multiple dwellings, would erode, not enhance the quality of our waterfront."
Resident Elizabeth Clark opposes the plan because it doesn't comply with the C-1 zone, "commercial marine related use."
Resident Jennifer Wilson Pines stated that if the board approves the rezoning, "It sets a dangerous precedent," especially for "attached clustered homes." Reading from a letter from another Manorhaven resident, Jane Pines, Ms. Pines, said that rezoning to a Residential R-1 would "change the character," of the site.
Resident Richard Lee agreed, also noting that the village has been working on its overcrowding problem. He also asked "How will it (the development) improve our quality of life?"
Resident Bob O'Brien believes the property should remain zoned for a commercial maritime use. "We're a waterfront community," and this site is at "the gateway to it."
Another item of specific concern was the proposal's lack of public access to the waterfront at that site. Thomas Pantelis, the developer's attorney, advised that under the LWRP, "public access is not guaranteed," and also noted that there's no public access now.
Mayor Gary Pagano pointed out that the developers were asking for an exception to the plan. He also noted that the plan was subject to the LWRP consistency review.
Problems with the details of the proposed plan were also expressed.
Some people questioned the parking plan, which shows 28 spots for 14 units. The question of parking when residents entertain, or what to do about families that have more than two cars, were raised. With no on-street parking allowed on Shore Road, visitors would have to park in the shopping center lots across Shore Road, which is a dangerous street to cross.
Elizabeth Clark asked if the impact of traffic created when Chabad officially opens at the Romaine Pierson site was taken into consideration. A representative from Eschbacher Associates, the developer's traffic expert who attended the meeting, said that he included this fact in his traffic study.
Ms. Clark also questioned why, if as the developers said, the development is designed with empty-nesters or young marrieds in mind, do the units have three bedrooms? Mr. Pantelis said that this is a selling point. If a buyer prefers, one large master bedroom and one large second bedroom can be created instead.
Resident Jim Tomlison asked where the owners' boats would be stored for the winter. Mr. Pantelis replied that no boats would be stored on the property.
Several residents spoke in general about the impact of the development in terms of quality of life issues. Mrs. O'Brien noted, "The residents of Manorhaven have repeatedly pointed out that we cannot afford to exacerbate the overdevelopment of the most densely populated village in Nassau County. The strain on our resources---water, sewer, traffic, schools and so forth---cannot be sustained." She also noted, "Manorhaven needs to encourage, not discourage, its commercial sector. Our businesses are important to us for the taxes they pay, the services they provide, and the jobs they create."
Saying that a commercial endeavor may not be practical for the site,Tony Providente reminded the audience that in recent history five marinas on the bay have failed. He believes that the principle concerns with the property involve the land that has to be leased or conveyed from the Town of North Hempstead, and the project's impact on Sheets Creek. Otherwise, he said, "We have to do something about the abomination that's there now. A slum is developing before our eyes and here we are pontificating." (While Mr. Providenti was the only resident who spoke in favor of the plan, he did receive some applause from the audience.)
As Mr. Providenti noted, problems concerning the creation of the 14 boat slips in the proposal do exist. The board told the developers that the site indicated on the proposal for the boat slips is actually a mud flat at low tide. The water area adjacent to some of the property needs to be dredged.
In a phone interview, Mayor Pagano said, "I have serious doubts that there's enough water at low tide to really sustain the proposed marine use. The area needs to be dredged out to provide deep water access."
Clarifying the LWRP, Mayor Pagano said that it clearly calls for a water dependent usage (i.e. marina, sailing school). The nature of the business has to be such that "it couldn't function without being on the water; restaurants are questionable because you could have one upland. Any plan has to be consistent with the LWRP. The plan as proposed is not water dependent but water related, but the board will give it full consideration," the mayor said.
The board asked the developers to look into the feasibility of providing the 14 boat slips and report their findings back to the board at its next meeting on April 22. On this date, the board told the developers the public hearing will be reconvened on this matter.