The second meeting of the new Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees administration last week was in marked contrast to its first public board meeting earlier in the month. While the first event lasted just under 20 minutes and was celebratory in nature in front of a packed hall of supporters, last week’s meeting was lightly attended but had a full agenda and ran for almost two hours.
The second meeting was, in fact, more along the lines of a “nuts and bolts” session dealing with the practicalities, formalities and mandated requirements of the day-to-day workings of the village.
Mayor Pedram Bral and the board officially installed Village Counsel Peter A. Bee, approving a retainer agreement that features a lower hourly billing rate than the one charged by former longtime counsel Stephen Limmer. According to Clerk Treasurer Joe Gill, the village spent about $215,000 last year on legal services.
Though the agenda had no public hearing involving any issues or resolutions it did have items running the gamut from a permit extension request, an approval of a temporary extension allowing post office workers to continue to park on East Shore Road and a request for some relief from problems with a landscaping agreement on an empty lot on Steamboat Road.
Since Bral and trustees Anne Mendelson and Ray Plakstis are new to the village government, they had ready assistance from Gill, Superintendent of Buildings Robert Barbach, Superintendent of Public Works Louis Massaro and incumbent trustees Norman Namdar and Barton Sobel to fill them in and clarify many of the agenda items as the evening went on.
Barbach was comprehensive in his response to a question about the multiple dwelling project at 85 Steamboat Rd. and its completion delays when it was brought up during the public comments portion of the meeting. “At this time,” Barbach said, “the builder is revising his drawings to conform to the construction because he made some decisions that had not been anticipated and his ‘stop work’ has been lifted so that we can get construction completed as soon as possible. But he is working, if you will, ‘at risk’ while we’re reviewing his revised drawings which have not yet been approved. “
Resident Jean Pierce asked when the building would be completed and also objected to the project’s aesthetics. “I can’t tell you a date,” Barbach answered, “and if you look, there has been progress made. Some of the objections to the appearance, if you’ve noticed, have been changed. A number of things have come off of the building, things that were objectionable.”
Bral expressed frustration during one part of the meeting involving a request by the owner of 778 Middle Neck Rd. to construct an egress from his building that would involve exiting onto the village’s municipal parking lot.
After hearing the discussion, which lasted over a half an hour, as responsibilities, possible liabilities and procedures and the history of the request were brought up, he said, “One thing I don’t understand is why is it that everybody does everything up to a certain point and doesn’t finish what they have to do?”
“Obviously,” he continued, “everybody wants to do whatever it is to get it (out of) their hair and it’s gone way too far. I’ve been here, it’s two weeks, and I’ve heard about this for who knows how long and really it’s for me to talk to Lou (Massaro) and Bob (Barbach) and Dennis (Grossman, chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals).”
Bral also responded to questions about his administration’s view on whether it would adhere to height restrictions on future buildings and any builder proposals to pay incentives in exchange for relief of some zoning restrictions.
“We ran on certain issues that everybody here is familiar with,” Bral said. “I think that we’re going to try at our utmost to fulfill our promises. I’m hoping that we can abide by what we promised.”
He also restated his policy on possible sales of village properties as part of his answer. “Right now we’re not doing anything. We’re just going to review everything and make sure that everything we’re going to do is not done in haste.”
“As I’ve mentioned before, we’re putting a stop on everything. We’re not selling anything. I don’t think that we need to sell anything at this time but we have to obviously look at everything else and see if we need to take any actions.”