Brightwaters officials have given approval for the village's largest commercial project of the past decade -- a 30,500-square-foot self-storage warehouse on Orinoco Drive.

The village board unanimously approved an application by developer James Petrocelli to build a 28-foot-tall, two-story building at 59 Orinoco Dr. Last October, the village's Zoning Board of Appeals granted Petrocelli a variance to operate a self-storage warehouse.

The largely residential village of Brightwaters rarely has applications for industrial or commercial development, village officials noted.

"This is the biggest project we've had coming up in the last 10 years or so," village Mayor Joe McDermott said at a public hearing on the project Monday.

Petrocelli's lawyer, Raymond Giusto, told the board at the hearing that the existing vacant buildings on the site that once housed a car repair and rental facility are "an eyesore" and "subject to vandalism." He said the self-storage warehouse would be "one of the most benign, non-offensive uses of this property. There's hardly another use that has lower intensity."

The warehouse, with 428 storage units, would be open for business from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Petrocelli agreed to the board's request that Sunday hours be limited from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Some residents criticized the proposal as unnecessary and potentially dangerous. Phillip Singer questioned the need for the warehouse in the village. "I don't really feel that the residents are serviced by this," Singer said.

Carmine Chiappetta said he preferred Petrocelli's previous proposal to build a senior apartment building at the site. "I'd rather have senior housing than ministorage," he said, and added that the village should develop a master plan before allowing development.

John Clark said he was worried about the potential for people to use the warehouse to store illegal goods such as narcotics or stolen merchandise. "This could be a problem," Clark said.

Petrocelli said the warehouse would have security monitoring.

Resident Mark Mulvey praised the warehouse as an improvement over the site's vacant buildings. "I like the idea of turning it into something that generates income for the village," he said, and called it "the least offensive use of the property."

After the hearing, trustee Diane Urso said the warehouse will be "a great anchor" for the village.

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