Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 18 June 2010 00:00
After several delays, a divided Town of North Hempstead board has approved a site plan application for the construction of a building for retail space at the T.J. Maxx shopping center, located on Northern Boulevard and Town Path Road in Greenvale.
The site plan that the board approved was modified significantly from the original request for a 10,000 sq. ft. building. Instead, the TNH board, at the June 8 meeting, voted to approve a site plan for a 6,800 sq. ft. building.
The vote was taken after a string of hearings were held in both April and May. Voting in the affirmative were Supervisor John Kaiman, plus Council members Angelo Ferrara, Lee Seeman, Vivian Russell, and Maria-Christina Poons.
Voting against the application were Councilmen Fred Pollock and Thomas Dwyer. Dwyer represents much of the Roslyn area on the town board, while Pollock represents Port Washington, plus Flower Hill and the Plandome area.
The original plan was opposed by local civic boards and politicians. The Greenvale Civic Association (GVCA), which for the past year and a half has expressed its concerns over expansion plans by the local PC Richard store, once again led the charge against the approved plan as well.
For its part, the GVCA hailed the June 8 vote as “good news.”
“Because of the opposition spearheaded by the Greenvale Civic Association and with the strong support of the Village of East Hills, The Roslyn School District, and the Roslyn Rescue Fire Company the town board was not inclined to approve the application for a 10,000 sq. ft. building,” read a statement on the civic association’s web site.
According to the GVCA, the approved site plan came with certain conditions, including instructions to maintain a 22 ft. buffer zone, and the elimination of the 15 diagonal parking spaces behind the TJ Maxx building by requiring them to be land banked. The approved square footage was once first recommended by the Nassau County Planning Commission, as were some of the provisions mentioned above.
Also according to the GVCA, the applicant has three options. They can decide not to pursue the project, they can challenge the Town Board’s ruling in State Supreme Court or the applicant can come back with a plan that incorporates the conditions imposed by the Town Board.
The GVCA opposed the original proposed development on the usual concerns of traffic, safety, and the ongoing matter of overdevelopment.
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.
Both Mayor Koblenz and Chief Mirra based their opposition on what they claimed would be negative environmental impacts, increased traffic congestion, and parking problems.
In his testimony, Fabio continued on similar themes of traffic and parking. He also cited environmental concerns, claiming that a “substantial number of mature trees” would be removed under the proposed construction.
“The third and last issue of concern is one of safety,” Fabio said at the April 6 meeting. “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.”