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Great Neck village gives green light to Middle Neck Road apartment projects, ending contentious process

Future site of an apartment project at 733-741

Future site of an apartment project at 733-741 Middle Neck Rd. in Great Neck Village, as seen on Monday. Credit: Newsday/Howard Simmons

Great Neck Village has greenlighted two projects to build nearly 100 apartments on Middle Neck Road, despite vocal opposition from some residents and neighbors who had asked for the structures to be scaled down.

Village officials approved the architectural review of a 60-apartment structure and the site plan of a 38-unit building on May 4, ending a nearly two-year process marked by multiple proposal changes and, at times, intensely contentious meetings.

Mark Kordvani, whose home on North Road is about 15 feet from the proposed four-story building on 733-741 Middle Neck Rd., said he’s anticipating "problems" down the road.

"The construction period is going to be extremely unpleasant," the father of two said. Also, "I’m not going to have any privacy. My kids will be playing on the swing set, and you will have 60 strangers staring down at them through their windows."

Kordvani and others said they are also concerned about parking and traffic on a narrow two-lane road lined by mostly residential homes.

John Farrell, a Uniondale-based attorney representing Gesher Center LLC owned by Yosef Shemtov, said the developer would put up trees to provide a screen for the homes and has done studies before the pandemic on traffic impact, though some residents disagreed with the findings.

"We did a traffic study. And we did a parking analysis. And they both found that this will not have a significant impact on the traffic in the surrounding area," Farrell said.

The other project on 777 Middle Neck Rd. and Gutheil Lane, which is developed by Great Neck-based Lions Group LLC, features a three-story apartment building.

During a number of public hearings and zoning meetings over the two projects, attendees who disagreed over the developments’ impact argued for their vision of the village.

Supporters said the developments would bring more housing as well as tax revenue and help revitalize a section of Middle Neck Road that is in dire need of improvement. Opponents said the proposed structures were too big for the neighborhood and would be detrimental to the community’s suburban character.

Neighbors also said they are concerned about construction traffic and what the developments would mean for their home property value. Gutheil Lane ends with a cul-de-sac and has 13 residential homes, according to Ken Lee, who lives on the street.

"Nobody listens to us. That’s the frustrating part," said Lee, a vocal critic of the developments.

Village Mayor Pedram Bral said he appreciated the concerns.

"Even though I understand and I empathize with the neighbors that there will be a building coming close to their residential area, I’m hoping and I’m certain that this [would] enhance the area in a positive way," the mayor said.

Kordvani said he understood that the commercial properties on Middle Neck Road needed a fix-up and is now resigned to the development’s approval.

"I’ve made my peace with the project," he said. "I’m hoping they plant the 12-foot trees like they promised at the meeting. I hope that they separate our properties. I’m hoping for a lot. That’s all I can do right now. The meeting’s passed. I’m hoping [the developer lives] up to their word."

APARTMENT BUILDING DEVELOPMENTS APPROVED FOR GREAT NECK VILLAGE

  • 733-741 Middle Neck Road: four-story building with 60 units — 56 two-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom apartments, 93 underground parking spaces and an art gallery.
  • 777 Middle Neck Road: a three-story building with 38 units, including 13 one-bedroom units, 21 two-bedroom units and four three-bedroom units.

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