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Glen Cove reduces number of units for Villa condo project

Officials reduced the number of units in the

Officials reduced the number of units in the Villa condo project to 160 from 194, but some neighbors still oppose the plan. The project would occupy about 4 acres along Glen Cove Avenue. Photo Credit: Handout

The Glen Cove City Council has reduced the number of units in the contentious Villa condominium project, but several neighbors are standing firm against the proposed development, concerned about its impact on their home values and views.

Queens-based Livingston Development Corp. had proposed a 194-unit development on Glen Cove Avenue, a few blocks from downtown. But Livingston needed density “bonuses” to go beyond 86 units. The council voted 5-2 to approve one bonus and reject two others. The bonus, for building underground parking, would allow Livingston to build 160 units.

“This is a compromise,” Councilman Timothy Tenke said before voting yes on Tuesday night.

Daniel Livingston, the company’s owner and president, said after the meeting he would go forward despite having to shave another 34 units from the project, which originally proposed 251 units in 2007. “I don’t think this is a compromise,” he said. “I think this has been a sacrifice.”

Glen Cove officials also denied Livingston’s request for an exemption to a city requirement that about 10 percent of units be affordable.

The revised project now moves to the city planning commission for review.

Roni Epstein, 54, whose house is behind the project site, said the development would steal her solitude. “This will impact my home value completely and totally.,” she said to a packed council chambers, where signs saying “Stop the Villa Project” and “We Support the Villa” stood side by side.

“If this happens, I won’t be able to sell my house,” Epstein said.

Marsha Silverman, 45, who also lives behind the project, wondered what would happen to residents of apartments and a house on the site. Livingston said about 50 people would be displaced.

Silverman also criticized the proposed waiver — granted later in the meeting — to the city’s hillside protection ordinance, which limits development on hills.

The Villa is part of a larger battle over high-density housing near downtown.

Livingston said before the meeting that the project, which would include six buildings of two to four stories, would be “an economic engine for Glen Cove and create an increased tax base.”

He anticipates strong demand for the units, especially from young professionals and empty nesters.

Glenn Howard, treasurer of the Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce, said city businesses need such developments to attract new customers.

Councilman Anthony Gallo, who with Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti voted against the resolutions on the project, joined some residents in questioning whether the council had the authority to vote on the project Tuesday. City law requires that public notice for council resolutions be given at least five days in advance. The council agenda with the resolutions was posted late Friday afternoon.

Mayor Reginald Spinello said it is customary to post agendas the Friday before a meeting. The mayor said city law could be interpreted as counting Friday as one of the five days — a view Gallo disputed.

“Five days is five days,” said Gallo, who also objected to the lack of a 3-D visual simulation of the project, which is required under a 2009 city law.

State election records show that Livingston donated $1,500 to Spinello’s campaign committee from June 2014 to October 2015.

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