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New hurdle further stalls Harley-Davidson in New Hyde Park

Village officials’ concerns about a conflict of interest have further delayed the final decision on a new Harley-Davidson dealership in New Hyde Park.

Amir Jarrah of Lifelong Cycles Inc. has worked for more than a year to get his dealership plans approved by the village. He hired VHB, an engineering company with offices in Hauppauge, to conduct an environmental impact study and paid for the village to hire its own engineering firm, Cashin Spinelli & Ferretti, of Hauppauge, to review it. The firm’s head engineer, John Ellsworth, was reviewing the study but took a job in November at VHB, said village Mayor Robert Lofaro.

The village learned about Ellsworth’s new job in November and discontinued his work for the village in December, the mayor said.

“And we were kind of disappointed too, because he was a great guy who was very smart,” Lofaro said Tuesday. “But we felt that was a conflict of interest, and the applicant agreed.”

Since then, the village has found another firm, Nelson Pope & Voorhis of Melville, to review Jarrah’s impact study.

If the study is acceptable, Lofaro said the village will hold a public hearing and eventually have a board vote. If the study has deficiencies, Jarrah and VHB can make improvements and resubmit it, Lofaro said.

The conflict of interest is part of a longer list of starts and stops for the Harley-Davidson project, which was introduced in fall 2015.

Jarrah plans to build a 16,000-square-foot dealership at 1324 Jericho Tpke. on land occupied by Miller Brothers Plumbing and Heating. The dealership would feature an 8,000-square-foot ground-floor showroom, a 6,200-square-foot repair shop in the basement and 1,800 square feet of second-floor office space.

Some village residents have opposed the dealership, saying its presence might create loud, unwanted noise. The motorcycle brand is known for its loud engines.

Jarrah did not return several phone calls seeking comment.

Jim Miller, who owns the land, said he is frustrated with how long the approval process is taking. At Tuesday night’s New Hyde Park board meeting, he told Lofaro that he believes the dealership is being unfairly stalled because of residents’ noise concerns.

“We started with this process a year and a half ago,” Miller said. “We’re no further now than we were back then. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Lofaro said he agreed that it has been a lengthy process but that it is important to the board to have an impartial study review.

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