The townhomes would include two-to-three bedroom units that would sell for around $800,000. Credit: Newsday

A Woodbury-based developer met with about 70 Oceanside residents this week to share plans for 61 luxury townhomes in the hamlet as part of a redevelopment of Oceanside Jewish Center on Brower Avenue.

The development of two-story townhomes, to be called Fieldstone at Oceanside, would include two-bedroom and three-bedroom units with garages and driveways.

Nick Girardi, principal at Girardi Development Corp., told residents he expected the townhomes to sell for around $800,000. The 47 two-bedroom units will be about 1,750 square feet and the 14 three-bedroom units will be more than 2,000 square feet, according to preliminary plans.

The project will require a change of zoning district to allow for multifamily housing, such as townhomes, and site plan approval from the Hempstead Town Board, but won’t need variances from the town, said Daniel Baker, an attorney at Greenberg Traurig, who is representing the developer.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • A developer plans to build 61 townhomes on the site of Oceanside Jewish Center.
  • Nick Girardi, the developer, met with Oceanside residents this week to receive feedback on the project before he seeks a zoning change from the Hempstead Town Board.
  • Neighbors said they were concerned about additional traffic that would be created by the new residents.

Board members of Oceanside Jewish Center were not immediately available to speak about future plans for the congregation on Tuesday. 

Girardi said he believed the townhouses would appeal to young families and people downsizing from larger homes. New construction homes sell for more than $1 million in the area, he said, and Fieldstone is creating options for homebuyers who have been dealing with a shortage of for-sale properties. Across Long Island, there were fewer than half as many homes on the market at the end of March compared with the same month in 2020. 

“On the South Shore, there’s nothing in my opinion that would compare to the product we’re trying to produce,” Girardi said.

Other recent projects in the area include the Woodcrest, with 230 apartments for rent on Rockaway Avenue in Oceanside, and the 84-unit Marina Pointe condo development in East Rockaway, which was completed in 2018. Both are within walking distance of the East Rockaway train station. 

Reactions from residents who spoke at the meeting were mixed, with many expressing concerns about additional traffic on Oceanside Road. The developer shared the results of a traffic study conducted by R&M Engineering in Huntington that traffic would be at an acceptable level even with the addition of the 61 units.

Residents were skeptical of the study and whether it truly accounted for the traffic created by school drop-off and pick-up at nearby elementary schools and Oceanside High School.

“We are surrounded by schools at this location,” said Marty Salzberg, an Oceanside resident in her 60s. " … It's always a traffic nightmare on the street. Oceanside Road could be just like the Long Island Expressway. It's a big parking lot from 2 to 4 o'clock, and it's really hard to get out of private homes.”

Several residents suggested that the development should have an additional entrance on Brower Avenue to reduce some of the strain on Oceanside Road, and Girardi said he would consider the suggestion. 

Developer Nick Girardi told the public he would consider an...

Developer Nick Girardi told the public he would consider an additional entrance to the townhomes, seen here in an artist's rendering, on Brower Avenue. Credit: Nick Girardi

Other speakers noted the luxury townhomes would be preferable to other uses of the site, such as rental units, medical offices or a self-storage facility. 

After the meeting, Girardi said he had an agreement with OJC but had not yet closed on the property. He is waiting for an environmental review of the site to be completed before seeking a date to go before the Hempstead Town Board for a zoning change. He estimated construction would take 18 to 24 months following approval.

Girardi is not seeking a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT agreement, from the town or county. Such agreements allow housing developers to create a schedule of payments, eliminating uncertainty associated with future tax reassessments.

Fieldstone at Oceanside is slated to offer 143 parking spaces — a garage and driveway for each unit, plus 21 visitor spots. 

It's not the first time a developer has tried to buy the property from OJC. In 2021, the Hempstead Town Board rejected an application to build a 119-bed assisted living facility on a portion of the property following opposition from neighbors. 

Norman Chan, 45, whose backyard fence borders the OJC property, said he hoped the developer would take residents' traffic concerns into account.

“We were highly opposed to the first plan for the assisted living,” Chan said. “I’m at a point where I’m understanding that OJC intends to sell the property and that something new is going to be developed here. My primary concern is I want to make sure that it’s something that will fit the character of the neighborhood and be least impactful to the surrounding neighbors.”

Erin McCauley, 41, who lives near the site, said she liked the proposal, if single-family homes weren’t an option, and appreciated the developer accepting feedback from the community.

She said she hoped the developer would act on residents’ request that Fieldstone add a second entrance to the property on Brower Avenue. “The extra entrance on Brower would make us all feel a little bit better.” 

Leonora Walker, 51, whose home neighbors a house that would be demolished to make way for the townhomes, said she was concerned about additional traffic on Oceanside Road, where it already could take her 10 minutes to get out of her driveway on school days. She also worries about the potential for noise and pests related to the construction.

“I feel it’s too much,” Walker said. “I would be comfortable with 30 units … I feel like I’m getting New York City. I work in New York City, so when I come home I kind of want to decompress.”

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

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