Board delays Manhasset parking lot vote

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The North Hempstead Town Board this week delayed voting on a controversial plan for a parking lot behind the Apple store in Manhasset, opting to wait until the county planning commission issues an advisory opinion on the matter.

The plan calls for 90 parking spaces and a landscape buffer on a grassy, 1.3-acre vacant lot on The Gate shopping mall that is bordered on two sides by homes. The parking lot would flow into an existing lot behind the Apple store and the soon-to-be-vacated Daffy's store on Northern Boulevard, next to the Americana Manhasset.

The Nassau County Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the plan at its meeting on Thursday. The town was required to refer the matter to the county planning commission because the property is within 500 feet of a state road.

At Wednesday's public hearing on the site plan, Paul Bloom, an attorney representing the owner, presented the plan and introduced the results of an updated traffic study. The study, conducted last week, concluded that the new lot would not increase car trips to the area.

Nearby residents, however, spoke out against the plan.

"I think it's offensive to the surrounding environment," said Frank Evanov, whose house sits across the street from the parcel. "I think it's an eyesore to the community."

Several residents took issue with the traffic study, which was commissioned by the applicant. One resident asked the town to conduct an independent traffic study instead.

The town board has the option to do so, and can charge up to $5,000 of the expense to the applicant, but so far has not, according to information provided by the town.

Vito Palmieri, a Mineola lawyer representing five residents adjacent to the parcel who are suing the town over the plan, said residents wanted to meet with town officials to discuss possible compromises. Supervisor Jon Kaiman agreed with that idea.

The town board is scheduled to take up the site plan again at its Oct. 2 meeting. If the county planning commission returns with a negative decision, the town board could only override it with a supermajority vote.

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