The Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees approved plans to construct a four-story, mixed-use building at 733-741 Middle Neck Rd., along with 12 variances needed to bring the project to fruition, at a meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4. The plans were approved 4-1, with trustee Annie Mendelson casting the only “no” vote.
The plans presented to the board will replace a stretch of mostly unoccupied storefronts along Middle Neck Road with a building that will house a total of 25 apartments, eight one-bedroom apartments, 14 two-bedroom apartments and three three-bedroom apartments, on its upper three floors. The property will also contain recreation space for tenants, storage space and meeting room in the basement, as well as a public art gallery on the first floor.
“This property has been in a state of disrepair and underutilized for more than 30 years,” attorney John Farrell, who presented the plans to the board on behalf of the applicant Gesher Community LLC, said. “Three of the five buildings on the property are no longer in use and haven’t been in use for some time. At this point they need to come down, and this site really needs to be brought up to a more modern standard and design. This building accomplishes that goal.”
The plans, designed by Bahary Architecture PC, call for 28 parking spaces for the building, down from 56 currently on the site. Farrell said there should be ample surplus parking elsewhere in the village, but some residents in attendance criticized the shortfall as something that would further congest parking and traffic on Middle Neck Road.
“I come from a one-family home and I have five cars in my yard,” Ron Campbell said. “I don’t know if you ever drive on Middle Neck Road around 4, 4:30 p.m. The double parking is horrendous. Somebody’s going to get hurt.”
Mayor Pedram Bral responded to Campbell by citing a recent traffic study done of Middle Neck Road. He emphasized that portion of Middle Neck Road is underutilized and said that the shortfall in parking would likely not continue overnight after stores are closed and people come home from work or their day’s business.
“There is street parking in that area that is not being utilized,” Bral said. “According to the study, most of the times those areas are able to take cars. If you have five cars, I don’t think you or I are going to rent those apartments, because that apartment is not going to serve my family. If you come to this building knowing that you are going to get one parking space, that is going to limit you to that one parking space.”
The building is located within the Residence E district of the village. The district overlaps with the Middle Neck Road Multifamily Incentive Overlay District, and applicants can have their buildings zoned according to the incentive district’s more lenient coding if they either present the community with a public amenity or pay the village outright. The developers opted for the latter option after the board deemed an amenity unfeasible in this case, and instead paid the village $150,000 to be included in the incentive district.
As a building zoned in the incentive district, according to village code, the property is allowed to be four stories tall and 42 feet high, up from three stories and 31 feet for a multifamily building in the Residence E district, among other variances.