Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 05 October 2012 00:00
The applicant for the North Manor Estates development presented its case to the council members and planning board members before a packed audience, consisting mainly of residents in the surrounding neighborhood who would be most impacted by the development. In the first hour or so of a meeting that lasted until 11:30 p.m., professionals spoke on behalf of the applicant, Glen Cove Property LLC, and explained the details of the project, including the zoning areas, the nature of the buildings, the impact on the area in terms of traffic and visual appeal, and some of the changes that have been made to the design as a result of meeting with the various neighborhood associations.
Mayor Ralph V. Suozzi informed the public that no action would be taken at this time but that the public hearing was a chance for the residents to be heard after the applicant presented their proposed plan.
Kathleen Deegan Dickson, the attorney for the applicant, said that the property went up for sale several years ago, and the city adopted a moratorium on redevelopment at that point, in order to preserve historic sites, with incentives. She explained that the 55-acre property is divided into three distinct portions under the proposed plan: the non-contributory area, which accounts for 17.5 acres and is where the subdivision development will be contained; the contributory structures, which includes the mansion, pool and tennis courts; and the contributory grounds. The non-contributory area accounts for the northeastern portion of the site and has no aesthetic value or historic significance, according to the applicant. However, the contributory buildings and grounds will be maintained and preserved in perpetuity, with no additional residential density allowed.
She said that some of the profit from the development must be reinvested into the mansion for the next three years, and discussed some of the other financial benefits the mansion has to the city, including the $861,000 generated in annual tax revenue, the number of people employed, and the fact that it draws people into the town, where they spend money locally.
The proposed property will also have a walking and bike path along Dosoris Lane that will be available to residents.
Deegan Dickson said the community outreach the applicant has done has been beneficial in designing the plan. She said they first began meeting with the various neighborhood associations in May 2011, and have had several meetings since that time, resulting in some specific changes to the proposed design, including reducing the number of units from 50 to 46, shifting the western site access east by 108 feet, adding additional evergreen landscaping, and not connecting the sewer to the Long Meadow pump station, but instead conveying wastewater to a manhole west of the site on Dosoris Lane and Lattingtown Road.
“We worked hard to make sure the design is in harmony with the area and that the visual impacts are minimized,” she said.
Carrie O’Farrell, division manager of the environmental resource and wetlands assessment division of the firm Nelson, Pope and Voorhis, LLC, spoke about the traffic implications, which was a concern raised by many of the residents who live in the surrounding area. She said they counted five intersections and determined that only one would have a slight, 10-second delay during peak hours on Saturday as a result of the new residences. She also discussed the financial implications that would result, saying that more than $640,000 would be generated in annual tax revenue, $194,345 of which would be levied to the city in the form of property taxes, and $319,766 would be levied to the school district.
A resident of Hollow Way said he felt that project would lower the home values in the area and would also increase traffic dramatically, a sentiment that was repeated by others. One man mentioned that there are a lot of “snowbirds” in the neighborhood, so if the traffic study was conducted in March, it may not be accurate. O’Farrell clarified that while they conducted one in March, they used the county averages from August, a much higher number, to come to their conclusions.
Nina Randall of Lattingtown Ponds, a development that borders the property’s eastern side, asked why there were two entrances to the subdivision, both of which are on Lattingtown Road, according to the site plan; Deegan Dickson explained that the code requires two entrances for emergency safety purposes for a subdivision of this size.
Resident Shirlene Cannata noted that an entrance on Old Tappan Road would be more desirable, and also raised concerns about the bike path.
“What is the significance of a bike path that literally dies on Lattingtown Road?” she said, mentioning the number of accidents she has witnessed at the intersection.
Her husband, Richie Cannata, owner of Cove City Sound Studios, who came in near the end of the meeting, also voiced his concerns.
“It’s an absurdity to put 46 units on the great lawn…my house is right in-between,” said Cannata. “I’ve been here 27 years and have given a lot to the city, I want the city to give us something back.”
At least two residents raised concerns about drainage, and several more weighed in on the proposed bike path.
“You will find water when digging for sewers,” said John Case.
“Nothing has been said about the view shed,” said one woman who identified herself as a lifelong resident of the area. “We cannot stop development, but we can control it. The berms and buffers are not enough. Hide it.” She also brought up the potential drainage problem, saying that she had an issue when doing construction at a previous Glen Cove residence. “Once you start changing the nature of the water flow, bad things happen.”
“Lattingtown Road will become a mini version of Queens Boulevard. People have been killed,” said another resident. “I am an architect and am pro-development, but am for smart development. This is not smart.”
Several people brought up the state of the economy, wondering what would happen if the mansion still didn’t have enough money to be preserved years down the line.
Mayor Suozzi asked Deegan Dickson to look into the hydrology issue, and took the heat for the running path.
“I thought a running path would be a good idea, based on the fact that a lot of people already run and bike down that road. There are no sidewalks and it seemed like a good idea to get them off the road,” he said.
In response to the amount of money needed by the mansion, he said, “I can’t predict the future of the economy, however the city has great control over its zoning.”
The design proposal is purposefully meant to preserve the historic value of the mansion.
While most of the audience was clearly against the project, several people made comments in support.
“This project has implications for all of us in Glen Cove,” said Tony Gallego of Gill Associates Photography. “They support local vendors, they are good people, reasonable people. Don’t demonize them.”
“I am in favor of preservation,” said Michael Stanco. “This is one way the city can preserve a landmark; the alternative of the mansion being razed completely is much worse.”
The site plan, development description, aerial views and a walk-through simulation can be found on www.north manorestates.com.