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After many debates, the trustees of the Village of Port Washington North rezoned Dallas Realty's 41 acres from Economic Development A to a senior housing district. The trustees voted 4-0 for the rezoning. (Trustee Gary Levi was on a business trip and therefore unable to vote on this proposed change in zoning.)

The site is located on the northerly side of Pleasant Avenue and the westerly side of Harbor Road, and within the boundaries confined by Valley Road, Glamford Road, Radcliff Avenue and Channel Drive. The main entrance to the development will be on Pleasant Avenue at the intersection of Harbor Road.

According to the developers, Sandy Hollow Associates, they will be developing a 250 unit senior community of one and two bedroom ranches and townhouses of traditional architecture; prices for units will range from $185,000 to $350,000. An age restriction will require that one of the applicants for each unit be at least 62 years of age.

The community will include a large park; several ponds and a walking trail, along with a clubhouse, an indoor swimming pool and recreational areas. It will also offer a jitney service to and from the main part of town.

The next step for the developers, according to Sandy Hollow Associates' partner Michael Puntillo, Sr., will be to submit to the village planning board a subdivision map and a site plan. This includes the overall general layout of the units (i.e. footprint), more details of the infrastructure and the amenities, as well as pertinent details of how the development will comply with the environmental review.

When asked when construction will begin, Mr. Pontillo said that it depends upon the opposition. For example, an article 78 suit could delay the project. It could depend upon the court calendar and other possible delays if unfavorable decisions are appealed.

However, Mr. Pontillo appears to be undaunted. "We will go full steam ahead with our site plans. We have our engineers on board getting into the technical engineering components." If all goes well, it will take about two years, he said.

But major critics from the surrounding business/industrial section plan to take legal action against the rezoning, in the form of an Article 78 proceeding. Stretch Ryder of Thomson Industries told the Port News that his company and Franklin Steel have engaged the land use/environmental law firm, Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna. Other businesses in the area will also be asked to join the suit. They are calling themselves the Port Washington Industrial Association. Homeowners from Mill Pond Rd. and others who opposed the development may also join the suit as "friends."

Mr. Ryder advises the law firm's work began early this week. The first step is to review the SEQRA process, followed by preparation of the arguments. The PW Industrial Association maintains that the village trustees made the wrong decision when they rezoned the property. They fear an adverse affect on their business and property, which will now surround an island of residential units.

"We're confident that when the court looks at the issues and data, they will agree that the board made the wrong decision," Mr. Ryder concluded.


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