Written by Pat Grace Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00Councilwoman Anna Kaplan attended the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations meeting on Feb.8 at the Town of North Hempstead Law Library, as did Town Clerk Leslie Gross. The Councilwoman came prepared to review some Town of North Hempstead open items, many carried month to month without resolution, on the Greater Council agenda.
Council members track the status of the Plandome Road Vision Project and informed Councilwoman Kaplan they are waiting for the town to reconvene a meeting of the stakeholders. The project involves, in part, improvements to Plandome Road under the Safe Routes to School grant secured several years ago, in addition to the repaving of Plandome Road from Northern Boulevard to Webster Avenue. Under the grant, a portion of Plandome Road is to have meridians, bulb outs, etc., yet following the last meeting in February 2010 when stakeholders provided feedback to the town on the proposal as it existed then, they have never been informed of actual decisions formed or changes made following their input. The TNH is revising plans in accordance with the NYS-DOT final comments and it was said the project could be put out to bid in April. Greater Council members are hopeful of being informed of the final details as they appear in the current proposal.
On Orchard Street the town has approved 90 minute parking from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to providing more parking for shoppers. New signs to that effect are needed and Kaplan said that will be “done, hopefully, by next week.”
Work is underway on Bayview Avenue where water pooling has caused dangerous driving conditions. Four homes have been issued summonses for work done without permits that has exacerbated the standing water problem. As of Feb. 1, it was reported, the TNH highway department has linked homeowner pipes to the town pipe to alleviate the overflow onto Bayview Avenue. Pipes along the roadway will not be buried until it is confirmed the problem has been solved.
The Greater Council pointed out that the water problems in that area were not simply caused by area homeowners. They informed Councilwoman Kaplan that as far back as 1995 or 1996 the Bayview Civic Association had presented a study highlighting the deteriorating Bayview Avenue roadbed. At a meeting with Supervisor Jon Kaiman in 2005 it was said work would be delayed until the town received ownership of the road from the County, which occurred in 2007.
In more recent developments, it was said that the Bayview Civic Association met with both Supervisor Kaiman and Councilwoman Kaplan on Feb. 7, and that while the short term water drainage work was expected to be completed soon, Kaplan would request that an engineering firm develop conceptual design alternatives in 2012 to then be included in a more long-term TNH 5-year capital plan.
The TNH Board held a public hearing regarding the Christ Church Parish House development and approved the needed zoning changes on Dec. 13, 2011, to facilitate a plan that includes a Citibank being constructed on the site. Much of the discussion that evening focused on the site plan that will be the subject of a future public hearing. Some residents oppose the modern look of the proposed Citibank building. A BZA hearing was scheduled for Feb. 15 at 9:30 a.m. at town hall.
The “Norgate Issues” have been mentioned on the agenda since June 2010 and involve an abandoned house on Norgate Road said to be owned by the owners of Sunset Chapels, and, residents complain, is an eyesore in the community. Greater Council President Rich Bentley commented to Kaplan that were the house next door to any one of the council members it would have been handled by the town long ago. The issue, Bentley said, sits in the town attorney’s office.
A permit for the Valley Park Reconstruction, the Councilwoman said, has been obtained and they are looking to put out a bid in April for possible completion by the fall. The project includes redoing the baseball field, installing a turf infield and building a new athletic field.
The Greater Council informed the Councilwoman that they are awaiting the TNH response to concerns they previously raised including the reconfiguration of the new parking lot entrance that some believed was too close to a dangerous intersection; a count of the trees to be removed and the number that would then replace them; specific dimensions of the field, and turf versus grass—to name a few. A Greater Council member said it would be helpful to have a schematic of the park before any construction begins.
Another member commented that with the newly refurbished park and Equinox nearby, traffic will increase and the area is not pedestrian friendly.
Kaplan said Lord & Taylor appeared before the BZA earlier with a “wonderful” expansion plan that had been approved but that they have reconsidered and may be back with an altered plan—which explains why nothing has been done.
The island at Aldershot Lane and Chapel Road is not properly maintained, and, while well-shaded, lacks irrigation. A member said the TNH Green Team did a one-time clean up but there does not seem to be a plan in place for regular maintenance.
Daffy’s has plans for a 7,802 square foot expansion on the second floor and it was said it is all within code, that no variances or change of zoning is required and that the TNH has approved it. The Strathmore Village Civic Association (SVCA) continues to have discussions with Kris Torkan, owner of the Village Bath Club property, on alternatives for the property. It was said other buyers are now interested in the lot. The SVCA representative mentioned the possibility of purchase by a religious organization or house of worship and wondered what the zoning restrictions are for a religious tenant and how that will affect them.
Town Clerk Leslie Gross, herself a resident of Flower Hill, attended the meeting, herself a resident of Flower Hill, and coincidentally, Flower Hill, going forward, will be represented at the Greater Council meetings.
Ms. Gross was excited to share the news that she had an almost $30,000 grant for records management and part of the grant will target building department records. She was also excited about implementing new technology in her department that will make it more efficient.
Upcoming meetings are Mar 14, April 18, (revised to accommodate school vacation), May 9 and June 13.