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Glen Cove City Council rejects zoning request for downtown area

Glen Cove's downtown area, including the city's movie

Glen Cove's downtown area, including the city's movie theater on School Street, is seen Nov. 6, 2016. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

The Glen Cove City Council has rejected a company’s proposed zoning change for the downtown area that opponents fear would have led to overly dense development.

The 3-3 vote — with Councilman Joseph Capobianco absent — held June 27 was a rare defeat for Mayor Reginald Spinello.

The developer, 115 Glen Street Property Owner LLC, applied for a zoning change for the entire downtown area so that it could build a 39-unit apartment building on a half-acre site just outside the downtown core. The vote was on whether to refer the application to the city planning board so that it could make a recommendation to the council. Current zoning allows up to 50 units per acre.

Spinello said after the meeting that opposition to the resolution was “narrow-sighted” because the proposal was only to get advice from the planning board, “which has more expertise than us.”

“We weren’t voting in favor of or against the project,” Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck said.

Councilman Timothy Tenke, a Democratic mayoral candidate, said after the meeting that the proposal shouldn’t even be put before the planning board because 39 apartments on a half-acre is too dense. Changing the zoning for the entire downtown area could lead to “density far beyond what we normally have or allow.” He questioned why the developer didn’t instead ask for a zoning variance, which would be specific to the Glen Street property.

Building Department director Richard Summa said through the city’s spokeswoman that the company “cannot request a variance based on the current zoning for that area, and that is why they requested a change in zoning.”

The developer deemed the units “workforce housing,” which, according to Spinello, means it’s aimed at households with incomes of up to about $138,000 for a family of four. Councilman Roderick Watson, who voted with Tenke and Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti against the measure, said more housing instead should be geared toward keeping longtime residents from being priced out of the city.

“What happens to those who don’t even make $50,000 a year?” Watson asked. “We have a lot of workforce housing that is coming in. I want to see more projects for Glen Covers who are already here.”

Spinello said he shares concerns about the project, a 39-unit building composed of two-bedroom, one-bedroom and studio apartments. The proposed parking rule of one space per apartment isn’t enough, and the mayor said he would prefer more studios targeted at young adults.

But, he said, “every project needs a starting point,” and the downtown area needs more housing. Spinello said the project will “need a few discussions and redesign” before he puts it on the council agenda again.

Spinello said he did not know the names of those behind 115 Glen Street Property Owner LLC and referred questions to the developer’s Uniondale attorney, Kathleen Deegan Dickson. She did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The company’s Roslyn mailing address belongs to G4 Capital Partners, state records show. Louis Silverman, G4’s managing principal, said his company is only the equity partner on the project and not the developer.

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