Friday, 16 April 2010 00:00
The Village of Westbury and Lowe Properties, the owner and proposed developer of the Westbury movie theater redevelopment project, last week agreed on an amendment to their previously-executed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
The amendment became necessary when Lowe advised the village several weeks ago that it was abandoning a key element of its proposal: the construction of a parking deck over the Madison Avenue municipal lot. The parking that would have been provided by that deck and lot was supposed to provide the applicant with the minimum number of parking spaces deemed necessary by the village to allow the project to move forward. Once Lowe announced that it had decided not to build the deck, the future of the project was thrown into doubt.
The amended MOA proposes, among other things, that in lieu of building the parking deck, Lowe will lease from the village 160 parking spaces in the currently-underutilized Madison Avenue and Belmont Street municipal lots, during the hours of operation of the theater. The amended parking plan is subject to approval by the village board of trustees, zoning board and, ultimately, the planning board. All three boards will conduct a joint public hearing on April 15 at 7:30 p.m. at village hall (following the annual village budget hearing), at which the applicant’s Special Use Permit and zoning variance approvals will be re-opened to consider the proposed parking changes.
“I hope that Lowe Properties realizes that their change of plans was unexpected, and that the revised parking approach may very well be Lowe’s last opportunity to have the project completed. The village has extended to Lowe significant relief, and we have expedited the approval process,” said Mayor Peter Cavallaro. “We have done whatever we can to live up to our end of the bargain, now Lowe needs to live up to its end. I and the board are hopeful that this project can still get the necessary approvals, and that renovation of the theater can begin by this summer.”
Dwight Kraemer, the village’s attorney, indicated that Westbury can quickly conduct and complete the re-opened hearings, but then the application must be reviewed and approved by the village planning board. Kraemer added that the MOA amendment does not bind the boards in their new determinations, and there is no assurance that the various boards will find the proposed changes to be acceptable.
All interested members of the public are encouraged to attend the April 15 joint hearing.