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Glen Cove planning board approves luxury condo complex

Glen Cove residents attend a meeting of the

Glen Cove residents attend a meeting of the planning board Tuesday night, March 15, 2016, when the board voted to approve a controversial luxury condo development on a site currently occupied by about four dozen residents. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Glen Cove planning board Tuesday night approved the site plan for a proposed 176-unit luxury condominium complex that would displace nearly 50 people but that supporters say would provide an economic boost for the city.

Board member Andrew Kaufman praised the project, called The Villa.

“I thought it was a great design and a huge improvement for the city,” he said after the meeting.

But resident Roni Epstein said the six buildings of two to four stories would be a “mini-city” that dwarfs nearby homes.

“The cumulative impact of this project is so out of character and so out of scale” with the surrounding neighborhood, she said.

Epstein and Marsha Silverman, whose house and yard are on a hill above the site, filed a lawsuit in January seeking to annul City Council approvals for “density bonuses” that allow Queens-based developer Livingston Development Corp. to build more than double the number of units otherwise allowed.

The suit asks for court injunctions to block the city from processing Livingston’s application and Livingston from building on the site. Epstein said she and Silverman plan to file another legal complaint to annul Tuesday’s site-plan approval.

The planning board voted 6-1 in favor of the project and will vote at a future meeting on proposed conditions for the development.

Board members declined to discuss the conditions, although board chairman Thomas Scott said, “There are a lot of them.”

The lone member to vote against the site plan, John Perrone, declined to comment, citing the litigation.

Livingston first proposed a 251-unit complex nearly a decade ago.

“This has been a long process, but the journey is well worth it considering the destination,” said Dan Livingston, owner and president of the company.

Livingston said he hopes to begin construction this summer.

City officials say the project would generate additional tax revenue and provide more customers for nearby businesses.

Planning board member Patrick Hall, referring to how the project is less dense than initially proposed, said Livingston “scaled this down to where we feel it’s acceptable.”

Livingston has promised to provide financial assistance to displaced residents who need it and said he would work with the city and real estate professionals to find residents new housing.

Apartment resident Bertha Adams, 82, said Livingston is “a good landlord,” but, she said, “there’s only so much he can do” to assist residents with low incomes who have few affordable-housing options in pricey Nassau County.

“My concern is, where are the people going to go?” asked Adams, a lifelong resident of the city.

Epstein said “the destruction of the neighborhood” the project would cause would hurt her and other nearby residents.

“Our house value just went down by half tonight,” she said.

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