Written by Chris Boyle Wednesday, 04 September 2013 00:00
After nearly six months of deliberation, the Village of Roslyn board of trustees granted approval to an extensive plan to renovate a building on Lumber Road.
Local businessman John Santos of Lumber Earth Realty LLC was granted a Special Use Permit, Site Plan Approval, and SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) Designation, allowing him to move forward with his plans to renovate the long-empty structure located at 7 Lumber Rd.
The decision to grant the permits, according to Mayor John Durkin, was a long process that will hopefully prove beneficial both to Santos and the village.
“Over the past several months we’ve been hearing an application on the part of John Santos to purchase the old lumber yard and convert it to retail and apartment housing,” he said. “We have decided to grant these permits, as long as the applicant agrees to abide by a number of conditions.”
Santos, who was present at the meeting, indicated that he was aware of the conditions put forth by the board in granting his permits, and was willing to abide by them. With that, the mayor and his trustees unanimously voted to approve Santos’ applications.
Santos’ project involves making renovations to the old lumber yard building and its surrounding grounds; these renovations include building retail storefronts on the bottom floor and 20 residential units on the top floor; constructing a boardwalk for pedestrian traffic; and the constructing a new bulkhead on the property to replace an old one.
In addition, Santos will dedicate a parcel of land to the village to be converted to a public parking area, and they will contribute $50,000 to the village’s Parking Trust Fund, which will go towards purchasing more public parking in the future.
Separately, an application submitted by KAM Associates for 1390 Old Northern Blvd. was also revisited at the August meeting; the landlord of the property is seeking a Special Use Permit for a proposed orthodontist office to be owned and run by her daughter.
However, Mayor Durkin and several members of the board expressed skepticism at the prospect of opening a medical office in a retail area and raised questions about potential parking issues.
“We as a board have had a policy of not permitting office use on the ground-level floor of the buildings in the community, because in an ideal situation, retail draws other retail business into the community,” he said. “In addition, there is very little parking in that area, and as a result, there is very little foot traffic...that has always been an issue with previous tenants there.”
An architect representing the landlord countered Durkin’s statements, saying that in recent years more diverse businesses located in the same area, including medical offices, which tend to create more foot traffic.
Contrary to the opinions of his fellow board members, Deputy Mayor Marshall Bernstein supported the project, stating that if it were solely up to him, he would approve the application.
“There used to be a medical practice in that same spot, two businesses ago, and there is one across the street,” he said. “And there was come validity to the point that this might add more retail pedestrian traffic.”
The board issued yet another continuance on the matter pending the acquisition of additional information, including parking and traffic studies. The matter will be carried over to the board’s September meeting.