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Ruling Limits Smyles

Court affirms Mineola expansion denial

Learn and Play Day Care on Herricks Road will not be granted a permit to expand from its current location, according to Supreme Court proceedings obtained by the Mineola American. Owner Arthur Smyles filed suit against the Village of Mineola after the board of trustees opposed the day care center’s application in June 2012, noting safety and parking concerns.

Smyles originally wanted to add space from the neighboring 99 cents store, which he also owns but is now vacant. Board members hammered Smyles with questions at a public hearing in 2011.

The board had cited a single entrance/exit onto Herricks Road as a prime issue. The board also felt that emergency vehicles would have difficulty accessing the location and that there was an inadequate amount of parking for both employees and customers.

Day care attorneys from Farrell Fritz argued that Mineola’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious.” However, the court agreed that Mineola made its decision on “common-sense judgment and personal familiarity with the area” and “reasonably analyzed and reviewed” the issues of the property.

Smyles revealed in a phone interview that he plans to appeal the court’s decision. The Dix Hills resident kept the dollar store empty, hoping for a favorable court ruling.

“We’re going further on it,” Smyles said. “There’s never been an accident there. It’s no different than the property next door or in that area. We think that has no validity other than just a personal opinion, not based in fact. That’s why we’re appealing it.” 

Main sticking points in Mineola’s denial were parking and drop off/pick up procedures for daycare attendees. According to the court documents, 39 onsite parking spots are on the current property. Eighty-six would be needed for the proposed expansion.

“The Mineola Village Board carefully considered all aspects of this application and found it would not be in the best interests of our residents, the children being served at the facility, passing motorists, or our first responders,” Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said. “I am very pleased that the New York State Supreme Court has upheld the Village of Mineola’s decision in this matter, and our authority to make these zoning use determinations.”

According to architect Anthony Dei Properizo, the two buildings combined represents 21,084 sq. ft. of floor space with 14,236 sq. ft. for the day care and 6,848 sq. ft. for the dollar store.

The facility is open to infants as young as six weeks, and toddlers from 2 1/2 up to 4 1/2 years of age. The building is currently set up to house approximately 207 children with 180 children currently in attendance, some of whom only attend part-time.

Traffic experts reported the expansion would generate a 69 percent increase in traffic and parking needed for a second building. Smyles’ reps found that during peak traffic hours, most northbound cars obeyed a “no-left turn” sign near the day care center.

The document read that about one-third of all exiting drivers turned left as they exited the day care site. Drivers exiting the dollar store property “were less likely to obey the no left turn prohibition.” 

Board members felt, according to the document, that the number of children and teachers “would exacerbate a dangerous traffic condition.” Village officials said that parking in and around the center is “extremely limited with no long-term parking in the vicinity of the property…the board reasoned that lack of adequate parking along with the concern for lack of interior circulation created a potentially hazardous situation.”

News

At the July 18 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, the school district addressed a recent response by the State Education Department (SED) in regards to a recent hot-button topic that has many parents, students, and teachers alike up in arms—the rapid and stressful increase in state assessment testing.

 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth recently received an email from Assistant SED Commissioner Dr. Julia Rafal-Baer, addressing the concerns of both parents and school districts in New York regarding the great deal of stress that many students have been put under as a result of what many have referred to “excessive state testing.” 

 

Many parents and school administrators argue these rob children of valuable classroom learning time in favor of multiple standardized assessment exams designed to gauge teacher performance, and

Rafal-Baer’s email acknowledged the difficulties that many students have been undergoing since the testing was implemented last year. 

The Sewanhaka Central High School District renewed Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie’s contract for the next five years at a recent board meeting. Ferrie will receive no pay increase in 2014-15 at a $238,000 salary. The contract expires on June 30, 2019.

 

“You can’t get [work] done without a unanimous board,” Ferrie said. “This board took a leap of faith with the program plans for the district. We also have an excellent team [of administrators]. That’s an awesome team.”


Sports

The Sewanhaka Indians’ very talented lacrosse defenseman, Tyler Regnier, will be playing next season for the Division 1 Rutgers University Scarlet Knights.

 

Regnier started playing lacrosse as a third grader, when he played with the New Hyde Park Police Activity League, a youth lacrosse program.

 

“At first, I wasn’t too serious,” he said recently. “But I just stuck with it, a lot of training, a lot of travel and a lot of practice made it happen.”

Students at Charles Water Karate & Fitness in Williston Park received belt promotions after completing a series of extensive exams.

 

Graduates

From New Hyde Park:  Jonah Khorrami to brown belt, Isabella Castelli to purple belt.

 

From Mineola:  Alexandra Santos and Kayla Toal to, Kayla Toal yellow belt, Jason DeJesus to Yellow/White Belt.

 

From Williston Park:  Mario Lombardo to red belt, Daniel Melore to blue belt, Grayson Lee to yellow/white belt.

 

From Garden City:  Alexandra Delgais: to brown belt, Jake Delgais to yellow/white belt.

 

From Roslyn Heights:  Suhani Jain to red belt.  

 

From Uniondale:  Isiah McClean to yellow/white belt.



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