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New Hyde Park residents not keen on four-story apartment building near LIRR station

Suffolk-based developer's plan would be first to exceed 2.5-story height limit, but opponents say it would alter the character of Station Plaza and increase traffic.

A rendering of a mixed-used plan that calls

A rendering of a mixed-used plan that calls for 71 apartments and retail space three blocks from the LIRR station in New Hyde Park. Photo Credit: MP3 Architecture/Martin A. Passante

Plans for a four-story, mixed-use building near New Hyde Park’s LIRR station were recently met with strong opposition  by residents who said they don’t want the added traffic congestion that new apartment residents would bring.

Ernesto Tersigni, who owns Huntington Station-based 300 South 12th LLC, has applied for a special-use permit, hoping to add a 18,567-square-foot building to 300 S. 12 St. in New Hyde Park. Plans call for 4,915 square feet of retail space and 11 apartments on the ground floor, with 20 additional units on each floor above. There is a vacant, one-story commercial building on the property.

Andrea Tsoukalas Curto, a Uniondale lawyer representing Tersigni, presented the project to New Hyde Park trustees and residents on April 30 and said the apartments would fit into the village’s larger plan to make downtown more walkable.

“The [vacant] building is not particularly attractive and has been underutilized for years,” Tsoukalas Curto said. “This [proposal] is targeted toward young professionals and empty-nesters.”

Mayor Lawrence Montreuil said trustees haven’t decided on Tersigni's proposal but the village will hold at least two more meetings about it before trustees vote.

Village officials want to combine new apartment complexes near Second and Third avenues — where the Long Island Rail Road station is — with their overall plan to build a pedestrian-friendly area of downtown called Station Plaza. 

“The vision is to create a new Main Street for the Village of New Hyde Park — with shops, stores, restaurants, pubs, perhaps a microbrewery — that becomes an attractive downtown shopping district,” Montreuil said. “This residential unit attracts the millennials who work in New York City, wish to live in New Hyde Park but aren’t ready for a single-family home.”

Last June, trustees rezoned the Station Plaza area to allow developers to propose buildings that exceeded the village's mandated two-and-a-half-story limit. Tersigni’s proposal is the first application filed since trustees changed the zoning and residents packed Village Hall to voice their opposition. 

Cesar Trelles of New Hyde Park said the first-floor retail idea "kinda goes against the whole makeup of our neighborhood.”

“Why would we want that type of commercial property in our backyard? It makes absolutely no sense,” he said. 

Laura Epstein, who also lives in the village, said she moved to Long Island from New York City looking for a change of scenery. 

“If I wanted an apartment complex [near me], I would have stayed in Queens,” Epstein said. “There will be 300 people in this very small place.”

Tom Muscarella, a Hempstead Town councilman who also opposes the proposal, told trustees there are "a host of unanswered questions regarding this project." Part of Tersigni’s property lies within Muscarella's district.

“Local parking and traffic, noise pollution and air pollution are very serious concerns that merit the board’s attention,” Muscarella said.

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