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Glen Cove planning board OKs The Villa, luxury condo project

The Glen Cove planning board on Tuesday, April

The Glen Cove planning board on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, gave its final approval to a 176-unit development near downtown known as The Villa. This is a rendering. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Glen Cove planning board on Tuesday night gave final approval to a luxury condominium development near downtown that would lead to the razing of apartments housing about 50 mostly low-income residents.

The board voted 6-1to approve conditions to a site plan that members verbally backed on March 15.

Daniel Livingston, owner of Queens-based Livingston Development Corp., said he hopes to begin construction this summer on The Villa, nine years after he first proposed the project.

Opponents said The Villa’s six buildings of two to four floors would be too large for the surrounding neighborhood, would create noise and traffic and would mar some nearby residents’ views.

But, “once it’s built, I think they will be delighted by how beautiful it is,” Livingston said as he was leaving the meeting. “It is replacing an economically disenfranchised facility and blighted area with a whole new gateway for Glen Cove that will provide a strong tax base and rejuvenate an entire area for further improvements.”

Two residents of a house on the hillside above the project site, Marsha Silverman and Roni Epstein, in January sued in State Supreme Court in Nassau County to annul City Council approvals for the project and block construction from starting. Silverman said they would file another complaint to annul Tuesday’s planning board action.

Several planning board members, including John Perrone, the lone “no” vote, declined to comment on The Villa after the meeting, citing the litigation.

On the site now are a two-story apartment building and strip mall, and three houses converted into apartments; 23 of the approximately 30 units are occupied, Livingston said.

Residents of those apartments worry they won’t be able to find affordable housing nearby, even though Livingston has promised to help them find new homes and pay some of their relocation expenses.

Sharon Johnson, 58, a lifelong Glen Cove resident, said she pays $1,300 a month for a two-bedroom unit for herself and her three grandchildren and can’t find a new apartment she can afford on her Social Security disability income. She said the city should provide new low-cost housing for residents.

“I feel we should be accommodated, too,” Johnson said by phone before the meeting. “They’re knocking this down and building something up. Well, knock something down and build something up for us. We have to live, too.”

The Villa is to include 160 market-rate units and 16 “affordable” condos as required under city law. Maximum incomes for buyers of those units, under current guidelines, are $87,200 for a family of four and $61,050 for a single person.

The conditions the planning board approved for the Villa site plan include putting into law Livingston’s promise to provide a shuttle for Villa residents to travel to downtown, a Long Island Rail Road station and the ferry terminal the city hopes to open later this year. The board also barred amplified music in rooftop recreational spaces.

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