Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 16 April 2010 00:00
For the past year and a half, the Greenvale Civic Association (GVCA) has expressed its concerns over expansion plans by the local PC Richard store. Now, the civic association is battling the possible construction of a 10,000 sq. ft. building for retail space at the Green Cove Plaza Center.
The proposed action, according to the Town of North Hempstead, consists of the construction of the building adjacent to an existing 52,643 sq. ft. commercial building. Site improvements will include the installation of additional hydrants, pedestrian ramps, and a sidewalk. If built, it would be located along the Town Path roadside of the center just off the Route 25A entrance.
The GVCA is opposing the proposed development on the usual concerns of traffic, safety, and the ongoing matter of overdevelopment. The current site is also home to several establishments, including TJ Maxx, Lesters, Moe’s and Equinox.
At the TNH’s April 6 meeting, the boardroom was filled to capacity with both Greenvale and East Hills residents opposed to the plan. In addition to members from the civic association, Village of East Hills Mayor Michael R. Koblenz and the entire board of trustees attended the meeting. Mayor Koblenz, Roslyn Rescue Fire Chief Sal Mirra and John Fabio, president of the GVCA, all spoke at the meeting.
No action was taken by the TNH council at the April 6 meeting. Fabio told The Roslyn News that the applicant is still busy revising the site plan. Therefore, no vote was taken. The discussion on the plan will continue at the TNH’s Tuesday, April 27 meeting.
Mayor Koblenz based his opposition on what he claimed would be negative environmental impacts and increased traffic congestion.
Sal Mirra also cited traffic congestion. He said that fire trucks currently have difficulty maneuvering in an already overcrowded center. A letter sent out to GVCA members prior to the meeting echoed those concerns. In order to meet the required number of parking spaces, set at 307, the applicant, the letter noted, has placed additional parking along the back wall of the building. “This will hamper access for fire trucks to that side of the building creating a major safety hazard,” the letter claimed.
In his testimony, Fabio continued on similar themes.
“The first and most critical point is that this center is currently overburdened with traffic congestion especially since the opening of the Equinox Health Club & Spa and Moe’s Restaurant,” he said. “It is important to note that the traffic in this center is not self-contained. Easements allow traffic from Wendy’s and the Astoria Federal Savings Bank to access this property. Additionally, traffic and customers frequenting the strip center of stores (containing a dry cleaner, Chinese food restaurant, a bagel store, and hair salon) contiguous to this property, and now under the same ownership of the subject property, also traverse an invisible boundary line and park in the subject property. This smaller center currently has four tenants and is being remodeled to accommodate four more stores. With these two centers now in the same ownership we can only expect mutual unimpeded sharing of parking between the two lots. One can also observe patrons of Burger King, also contiguous to the subject property, park in the center.
“To illustrate my point, I have these photos taken on a weekday at approximately 2 p.m. in the afternoon, not a high traffic time, and you can clearly see the lot is almost completely full. This is a very typical scenario for this center.
“On paper, the applicant’s site plan meets the code’s parking requirement (by placing additional out of the way parking spaces behind the building which probably nobody will use, not even employees because of personal safety concerns) but in reality the center’s parking situation is woefully inadequate. I will also note that the existing center parking spaces sized at 9 feet x18 feet with many even smaller than that, are non-conforming with the current code requirement of 10 feet x 20 feet and prevail only through a grandfathering condition.
“The second issue of concern is the removal of a substantial number of mature trees, many with a caliper of 42-50 inches from the current buffer zone along Town Path. This critical buffer zone is approximately 22 feet wide and affords the residents along Town Path some degree of isolation from the nuisance of the shopping center. To reduce this buffer will create more light and noise pollution and negatively impact their quality of life as well as their property values. I also believe the site plan amended in 1999 for this property requires retaining this buffer.
“The third and last issue of concern is one of safety. I know this board is well aware that this center is located at the second busiest intersection in all of Nassau County, Glen Cove Road and Rt. 25A. Tens of thousands of vehicles traverse this intersection daily, especially along 25A.
“The main entrance to this center on 25A and the proximate location of the proposed building does not have any westbound turn lane or signal that would permit safe entry into the center,” Fabio concluded. “Customers likely to patronize these new stores would have to make an illegal and dangerous left turn across two heavily trafficked eastbound lanes to enter the center increasing the risk of traffic accidents.”
Noting that TNH board members are advocates of smart growth policies, Fabio termed the site plan as “anything but smart,” but also “another example of greedy overdevelopment at the expense of our community.”
In other civic association news, members held a meeting last Tuesday night, one that included the election of officers and executive committee members.
In addition to the retail building in question, members also discussed a new Subway chain store proposed for Greenvale. Members discussed the status of the 2 Waldo Ave. development plan.
They also gave a special Youth Achievement Award to Greenvale resident, Roslyn High School senior, and New York State ace miler, Emily Lipari. Details of the meeting will appear in an upcoming issue of The Roslyn News.