The Amityville Village board of trustees has approved giving permits to a controversial car dealership to expand its services.
The board on Monday night voted 4-1 during a Zoom meeting to approve special-use permits for Security Dodge so the dealership at the corner of Merrick Road and South Bayview Avenue can develop two properties it owns on Merrick Road.
The company has been using both properties for parking but is seeking to legalize 335 Merrick Rd. as an employee and customer parking lot by adding blacktop, drainage, curbing and landscaping. The dealership also wants to build a one-story, quick-service shop with six bays at 339 Merrick Rd.
Security Dodge sued the village after bringing its plans to the zoning board in 2016. The zoning board denied its request for a special exception based on a 2006 village law that bans further automotive uses in the area. A state Supreme Court judge struck down the lawsuit and Security is appealing that decision.
For years residents have complained about Security employees parking on residential streets, such as South Bayview Avenue, and speeding during test drives. A traffic study completed in February by Louis K. McLean Associates, PC, of Brookhaven, found that while the additional capacity of the shop “will likely result in some increase in site generated traffic," because services are being relocated from the existing facility, it will reduce “the number of vehicles associate with the operation” at the South Bayview Avenue intersection.
Trustee Jessica Bernius asked that the board hold off on a vote until the meeting could be held in-person. Mayor Dennis Siry said it is unclear when public in-person meetings will resume.
“This has been going on since August of last year and we’ve done all our due diligence,” Siry said. “It's not fair to the applicant, it’s not fair to us to keep this hanging on.”
Bernius then read a statement, saying that allowing this use goes against the intent of the 2006 law and that she had witnessed Security employees working on cars at 11:30 p.m.
“To me, being open at that time may be good business for Security Dodge but it definitely isn’t being a good neighbor to the surrounding residents,” she said. Bernius said she would prefer the board wait for the court decision. Siry said continuing with the case would be costly. Village officials said $26,836 has been spent so far.
Trustee Michael O’Neill said Bernius had “some valid points.”
“It’s a very, very emotionally charged topic,” he said. “The two biggest complaints and the two that have the biggest impact on the community is the queuing up of lines on South Bayview and the parking in residential areas. This goes to the heart of those two issues.”
The permit approvals come with nearly two dozen stipulations for each property and Security must get site plan approval from the planning board.