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Residents say planned apartments near park will cause parking, traffic issues

The property at 840 Montauk Hwy. in Copiague,

The property at 840 Montauk Hwy. in Copiague, seen on Tuesday. Credit: Raychel Brightman

Some Copiague residents say a proposed 16-unit apartment building on Montauk Highway could exacerbate traffic issues in a busy neighborhood.

Developer Mitchell Giannini purchased the half-acre parcel at the corner of Montauk Highway and Baylawn Avenue and demolished a vacant two-story building.

He plans to construct a three-story building with 24 parking spots. The lot originally called for 32 parking spots but Giannini got a parking variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals to have just one spot for each of the 16 apartments and another eight for guests.

Giannini said during Monday's town Planning Board meeting he is trying to arrange additional parking options, including night parking in the shopping center across Baylawn Avenue.

Baylawn Avenue and Jervis Avenue, which run parallel, are both busy with thru-traffic going to Tanner Park and Marina at the south end of the streets, especially during warm weather and when concerts are held, residents said. 

Lynda O’Brien lives on Baylawn Avenue and objected to the size of the project.

“I just think this is too many apartments, too little piece of property, not enough parking,” she said at the meeting.

Giannini paid for a traffic study that found little impact, but O’Brien and others asked for another study to be done during summer months to reflect the high volume of vehicles then.

Margaret Braga also lives on Baylawn Avenue and said that cars parked there would prohibit two-way traffic from traveling safely on that street.

“The street is horrendous, the corner is horrendous,” she said.

She and others noted sight lines make it difficult to turn on and off Montauk Highway and feared the three-story building would exacerbate that.

Copiague Chamber of Commerce President Sharon Fattoruso and others spoke in favor of the development.

“That corner has been an eyesore for many, many years,” Fattoruso said. “I feel this complex is a beautiful addition to our community.”

Giannini owns at least two other apartment complexes in the town, and Fattoruso and others called him a good landlord who takes care of his properties.

Nicole Blanda, Giannini’s Melville-based attorney, said the only entrance and exit will be on Montauk Highway and left turns onto the state road will be prohibited.

There will be a landscaped buffer along adjacent residential properties to the south, she said.

The Planning Board is expected to vote on the site plan at its Feb. 25 meeting.

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