Written by Judy Epstein Friday, 26 February 2010 00:00
Armstrong Capital, the owner of Soundview Shopping Center, would like to tear down the small free-standing building which currently houses Carvel, a small Bank of America branch, and the space vacated by Boston Market, according to Bob Weitzner, mayor of Port Washington North. “There is a proposal to remove that,” says Weitzner, “and put another building of the exact same dimensions” closer to Shore Road, inside and to the north of the main entrance to the shopping center.
Site plans regarding this and a few other changes at Soundview were filed in January with the Village of Port Washington North, whose Board of Trustees discussed and heard public comment on the matter at their regular monthly meeting on January 25. Representatives of the owners appeared again before the board on February 3, according to Palma Torrisi, the village clerk.
Mayor Weitzner told the Port Washington News that the village’s concerns are mostly aesthetic, regarding landscaping around the proposed new structure, irrigation for the landscaping, and the existing “white globe” light fixtures. “We’ve asked them to upgrade and update the fixtures they have there now. They want globes, but we feel that those are very Seventies-ish, and most shopping centers have abandoned them. We are proposing something more 21st century – like the Baywalk fixtures near Stop & Shop. Ironically, those are more 19th century in style,” conceded Weitzner, “but we think they are very nice-looking.” He has high hopes for an eventual renovation: “We want to end up with a cleaner, nicer-looking center that will hopefully attract (more) tenants.”
Besides the proposed change regarding the “out-parcel” building, as Weitzner calls it, the plan filed on January 19, 2010 also shows a proposed change to the sidewalk in front of the existing Rite-Aid and neighboring stores. The change would reduce the width of the sidewalk there, replacing some of it with head-in parking spaces at the new curb.
According to Fire Chief Thomas McDonough, this set-up would violate fire codes. “The buildings are all smoke-alarmed and fully sprinklered,” McDonough told the News, “but my concern is accessibility, especially to the movie theater. That is a ‘public assembly’ that could possibly hold more than 400 people at any one time.” McDonough said that fire codes have required a fire lane along the sidewalk in such places since 1984. There is currently a fire lane in place.
The Village’s Board of Trustees has adopted Local Law 1 of 2010, said Clerk Torrisi. It imposes “a one-year moratorium for all parcels in excess of 10,000 square feet situated within 2,000 feet of either side of Shore Road.” It does not, however, apply to this project, according to Mayor Weitzner.
At present, the ball is back in the property owner’s court. “We had a month to review their plans and we had the public hearing. We asked a series of questions they need to answer. They have to come back to us, now. Nothing is planned at the moment, till they come back to us,” concluded Mayor Weitzner.