Written by Matt Coleman Friday, 14 August 2009 00:00
On Tuesday, Aug. 11, the Board of Trustees of the Incorporated Village of Muttontown gathered at the Muttontown Town Hall for an open discussion concerning a potential special use permit to allow the construction of a 22,173-square foot synagogue and parking facilities for use by the Jewish Congregation of Brookville.
The plans for the site, which were prepared by Cameron Engineering and Associates and dated May, 2008, outline plans to build the synagogue on a 6.12 acre parcel of land located just south of Bellesonia Court on the northbound side of Route 106.
Jim Murphy, from the temple’s building committee, discussed the aesthetics and landscaping for the proposed building and surrounding area with the Board of Trustees and the concerned residents who were in attendance.
In regards to the aesthetics of the synagogue, Murphy described the proposed architectural plan as structurally modern. “A thing of beauty,” he said to describe the building. Murphy also indicated that it’s the building committee’s goal to both blend in and stand out among the various eclectic buildings that are prevalent in the neighborhood. Murphy also notified the committee that the structure will not be seen while traveling north on Route 106 because of the trees surrounding the area and the synagogue’s placement. The Board of Trustees vocalized their concern that the structure will be inevitably seen by both commuters and house owners on Bellesonia Court, especially in the winter.
The trees surrounding the area are deciduous and therefore go bare in the winter, according to Murphy. Some in attendance questioned if the temple will be visible when the trees lose their leaves. According to Murphy, the building committee is attempting to minimize these problems with their landscaping plan and he is confident they will succeed.
The potential problem of the seasonal deciduous trees extends past catching sight of the potential temple. Members of the Board and Trustees and the Building Committee support adding more parking spaces to the initially planned 90 asphalt paved spaces. These additional spaces will accommodate worshippers, specifically on the Jewish high holidays in the fall.
The building committee suggested in their proposed plan 30 grass-paved spaces past the parking lot. Yet, Deputy Mayor Carl Juul-Nielsen and the rest of the Board of Trustees raised an environmental concern over the barren deciduous trees of the additional parking area. Some expressed concern that as these trees become bare, car lights may become visible from houses on Bellesonia Court from cars pulling in and out of the grass-paved parking spaces. This is an environmental concern because both light pollution and noise pollution can disrupt the otherwise quiet, unobstructed homes in the vicinity of the planned synagogue, it was stated.
Approval of all plans must still be set forth by the Board of Trustees before the building committee can move forward in the possible construction.