P.C. Richard & Sons, the longtime appliance store chain in the New York area, wants to expand its Greenvale store. However, many residents of that little village oppose the plan.
Both sides stated their case at a Town of North Hempstead board meeting, one held on Tuesday, Dec. 8. The meeting room was filled to capacity, mostly with local opponents of the expansion plan. The Greenvale P.C. Richard is located on Route 25A, between Walnut and Marion Streets, one block east of Glen Cove Road.
Attorneys and architects for P.C. Richard spoke at the meeting, as did Gary Richard, the current CEO of the company and a fourth generation executive of the family that first opened the store 99 years ago.
Richard said the desire to expand the Greenvale store wasn't based on making more money, but simply being competitive with the larger chains.
"Family owned businesses are in a fight for their survival," Richard told the town board. "We have a great location in Greenvale, but [it is] too small. We can't compete with the large chains. We need a larger showroom to display [our] televisions."
Richard claimed that the company isn't looking for larger sales. It just wants to provide a better shopping experience for its customers.
"We are not a dying breed," Richard said of his company. "We have been in business for 99 years because we take care of the customers before, during, and after the sale."
Also speaking for P.C. Richard was Bruce Migatz, an attorney with the Garden City firm of Albanese & Albanese.
Migatz noted that the expansion's design is smaller than the original plan. In addition, there have been changes to the proposed color and façade. All this was done, Migatz added, after meetings and consultations with the Greenvale Civic Association. The result, he said, was a "better reception" to the plan by the group.
The final design, Migatz added, is "quite different" than both original plans and the normal P.C. Richard store. The total size of the proposed store, Migatz said, would be 31,898 sq. ft., down from the original size of 37,212 sq. ft. In addition, there would be buffer zones to screen local homes from the proposed parking lot. Migatz said there would be 104 parking spaces on the lot, plus land-banked parking that would also include a buffer zone. The parking lot, Migatz added, would be complimented by a green space on the lot. Migatz claimed the store would be a good fit for the community.
Among those speaking in opposition to the expansion was John Fabio, president of the Greenvale Civic Association and Linda Nathanson, deputy mayor of the Village of East Hills.
Fabio said the civic association had no objection to P.C. Richard operating a store in Greenvale. But they were opposed to the zoning changes such an expansion would entail. The proposal, he said, was "misguided and totally out of place in a residential community." Twenty five percent of all land use in Greenvale, Fabio added, is already in commercial development, a number he claimed was higher than all neighboring villages.
Fabio also said that the new traffic patterns from the proposed expansion would put pedestrians, including children, in danger. He also cited potential problems with congestion, noise, and "light pollution" from lighting fixtures on the proposed lot.
The zoning request, Fabio concluded, would result in the largest commercial property expansion in Greenvale's history, one that would impact the community for years to come, in the process disrupting the "peace and tranquility" in the village. Fabio also speculated that if the new facility failed, then the village would be stuck with a "white elephant" on its property.
Fabio ended his own presentation by reading a letter from State Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D.-Glen Cove), one that also expressed concerns over traffic, congestion, and pollution.
Citing afternoon traffic delays which already exist on the Glen Cove Road and Northern Boulevard intersection, Ms. Nathanson decried those businesses that are "jumping on us, giving us no place to sit and relax in our own homes." Ms. Nathanson also agreed that the proposed expansion was not right for the Greenvale residential area. In addition, Ms. Nathanson noted the recent and successful opposition to a proposed Lowe's megastore on Northern Boulevard in East Hills.
Greenvale residents who spoke out against the proposed expansion did so mainly on traffic issues and on a desire to preserve their own neighborhoods. As with John Fabio's talk, their comments were met with applause from the packed audience.
The town board will continue the discussion of the P.C. Richard application at its Jan. 27 meeting. Residents are free to submit comments, either in writing or at the Jan. 27 meeting.