Town board rejects Levittown condo complex

The Levittown Property Owners Association expects to meet The Levittown Property Owners Association expects to meet Tuesday to discuss the future of two closed schools in the Island Trees School District. Photo Credit: Brittany Wait

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A plan to build a 46-unit condominium complex on vacant land in Levittown that once was part of the nation's first superhighway has been rejected by the Hempstead Town board.

The town board Wednesday voted 5-0, with two absences, against the proposed project by Crocus Lane Estates Llc and Josato Inc. to build housing for residents 55 and over. The developers were seeking approval to rezone a nearly 3-acre parcel on Crocus Lane between Blacksmith and Orchid roads from single-family housing to allow the condo complex.

"The application . . . has been denied," Town Supervisor Kate Murray said after the nearly five-hour public hearing, prompting some residents in the audience to cheer and clap.

More than 200 people attended the hearing. Before the public portion, Councilman Gary Hudes polled the audience, with about two-fifths expressing support and three-fifths in opposition.

During the hearing, Hudes and Murray pointed out the area's history as single-family homes. Hudes also mentioned a Nassau County Planning Commission report that the project's approval could set a precedent for "spot" zoning.

"We're thrilled with the decision," said Levittown resident Mary Voulgaris, 54, who spoke against the proposal. "I hope this never comes up again. As a community, we come together to fight for a cause and this is the result."

The proposed complex -- on a site that is part of the former Vanderbilt Motor Parkway -- would have included three two-story buildings with 123 parking spaces, said attorney William S. Cohn, who represents Crocus Lane Estates and Josato. The mostly two-bedroom condos would have sold for less than $300,000.

"It was disappointing and we would have to look in the future for alternative solutions" such as the county purchasing the property, Cohn said.

Crocus Lane Estates and Josato, formerly called Terra Homes, have been battling since 1984 to change the town's zoning laws so they could develop the property.

Opponents said the proposal would destroy the community's residential character, create a fire hazard and cause more noise, traffic and parking problem. Among the opponents was Levittown Property Owners Association president James Morrow.

"There is no justification for the zoning change," said Henry Luhmann, 58, who has lived in Levittown for 27 years, adding the developers should build two one-family houses instead.

Supporters of the project argued that more senior housing is needed, it would create construction jobs and bring additional tax revenue to the school district.

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