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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

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District is planning improvements to a district that has already seen much success in recent years. The school year has only just begun and the Board of Ed is already setting its sights on the future. 

 

At the Sept. 8 board of education meeting, Superintendent Robert Katulak’s monthly report outlined the major goals set for the district last month. While approved in August, the three goals were made available to the public this month and each target different areas for improvement throughout the district. 

 

The first goal deals with English Language Learners (ELL) within the student population. ELL students are those that speak a language other than English at home and score below proficient on assessments. 

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.


Sports

Sewanhaka boys soccer coach Peter Burgess wasn’t sure how long his team’s playoff drought was when it was broken last season. 

 

“Somebody said it was 13 years,” said Burgess, whose entering his fourth year coaching varsity. “But I think it was five or six, I don’t know maybe longer.”

 

But one thing’s for certain, he wants to keep last year’s momentum going. 

 

The Indians, who started their season with a 3-0 loss at Hewlett, will aim for their second straight trip to the playoffs this year. 

The Sewanhaka Indians made their Nassau Conference II debut with a bang.  The Indians opened their season at home against the Calhoun Colts, unsure what to expect, as all they had ever seen of the Colts was one tape of a scrimmage. 

 

“It was nerve raking leading up to the game,” said Head Coach George Kasimatis. “We weren’t sure what to expect on offense or defense, you have to guess early on. “

 

But it didn’t take the Indians long to introduce themselves to the conference, as junior, Quarterback, Elijah Tracey broke a 75-yard run taking it the distance to put the Indians up early, which ended in a 27-7 rout of the Colts. 


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

Herricks Meeting - September 18

Bike Safety Day - September 21


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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