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Neighbors slam Levittown assisted living

A plan for a three-story assisted living facility faces heavy opposition from Levittown residents concerned about possible impacts to their property values, traffic and parking.

"We don't want it!" most of the 150 residents repeatedly shouted during a forum hosted by Hempstead Town Councilman Gary Hudes at the Levittown Public Library Wednesday night.

The property owner, Nicholas F. Mormando, plans to build on the site of the former North Levittown Lanes bowling alley building, which stood for more than 50 years in the North Village Green area before closing this past June.

"We don't want a bowling alley again because it failed," Oyster Bay attorney William A. DiConza, who is Mormando's son-in-law, said at the forum after residents asked that it be reopened.

The proposed project was slated to go before the Hempstead Town Board of Appeals in February at a public hearing, but it was adjourned. A new hearing date has not been set, appeals board secretary Richard Regina said Thursday.

"All I am doing is taking the input back to the town attorney," said Hudes, adding that the town would not consider buying the property.

Hudes' response disappointed residents, who wanted to know more about the project. "I think everyone thought we were going to get more information about what was going to be there, not brainstorm," said Mark Restivo, 33, a lifelong Levittown resident.

Mormando, who would be allowed to build up to four stories in height, or a maximum of 60 feet, is seeking permission to build three stories. He needs a parking variance because the 92,000-square-foot facility would require 99 parking spaces. He is proposing 60 spots, but there's only enough room for 57, Regina said.

Town spokesman Michael Deery said the 338 spaces from a nearby municipal parking lot cannot be counted toward the applicant's parking space requirement.

The Mormando family also owns Oyster Bay Manor Assisted Living in Oyster Bay, which opened in 1995 and has 160 residents. Unlike a nursing home, residents who become ill or frail are not permitted to remain at the facility, DiConza said. "I don't want it [medical waste] coming down my neighborhood," Chris Costello, 53, a resident for more than 50 years, said at the meeting.

Residents said they would prefer a two-story structure, pointing out that single-family homes surround the 2-acre property. Some suggested building private homes, senior housing or town homes. Other ideas included a recreation center, senior center or youth center.

DiConza said at the forum that Mormando had considered building 14 homes on the site to sell for $300,000 each, but the plan made no economic sense. Mormando, 84, who lives in Boca Raton, Fla., pays about $85,000 a year in property taxes on the site.

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