An initial presentation of plans for a five-story apartment complex located at 777 Middle Neck Rd. was met with vocal derision from residents gathered at the Great Neck Village Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 17.
The proposed 44-unit complex, planned by Newman Design, would sit at the intersection of Middle Neck Road and Gutheil Lane, with all proposed vehicular entrances and exits being placed on Gutheil. This aspect of the design was one of several that drew criticism from audience members, particularly architect Ken Lee, who argued the people living on the small side street would be hurt severely should the current proposal come to fruition.
“This is not very fair to anybody living there currently,” Lee said at the meeting. “I don’t see any incentive they bring to the neighborhood other than a big mansion right inside of an ordinarily very quiet street corner. I think this traffic pattern is a killer for me. I swear, if anything like that got built there, my family and I will lay in front of that driveway every single day.”
Mayor Pedram Bral emphasized to attendees that the developers were just presenting their initial plans for suggestions from the community, and had not yet officially submitted them to the village for approval.
Residents also raised concerns regarding the identity of the land’s owner, which is currently unknown, since the application has not been officially submitted to the village. David Zielenziger tried to probe architect Brian Newman for information on the property owner, which he believes is Lalezarian Properties, but Newman said he didn’t know, and Bral kept asking Zielenziger to explain why it was important.
Since the land the complex would be constructed on sits adjacent to Middle Neck Road, it falls within the Middle Neck Road Multifamily Incentive Overlay District, the boundaries of which overlap with the village’s Residence E district. The height of a multifamily building within the Incentive Overlay District “shall not exceed four stories or 42 feet with an area on the roof for recreational use by the tenants of the dwelling,” according to Article XXXII, Section 575-288, Subsection E of the village code.
Minus the code-permitted rooftop recreation room, the proposed building is 40 feet, with three-foot tall parapets, also permitted by village code, at the edge of the roof. The 44 proposed units also fall within regulations for the Incentive Overlay District, which allows a maximum 48 apartments per acre.
A building in the Residence E district qualifies for inclusion in the Incentive Overlay District if its developers provide an amenity of sufficient value to the community or a payment to the village of a quantity determined by the Board of Trustees prior to being issued a permit from the Building Department.
It has not yet been determined whether the developers would provide an amenity or pay the village outright should the proposal go forward.