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Babylon ZBA says no to razing house for parking, adding extra bedrooms at Copiague complex

Developer Mitchell Giannini was seeking variance relief to

Developer Mitchell Giannini was seeking variance relief to create additional parking spaces for a nearby apartment complex by razing this home at 30 Baylawn Ave. in Copiague. Credit: Barry Sloan

The Babylon Town Zoning Board of Appeals has denied variance requests from a developer who sought to convert half a dozen one-bedroom apartments into two-bedroom units at a complex in Copiague, and raze a home to create parking spaces.

Mitchell Giannini was seeking variance relief for a use of premises to create additional parking spaces at 30 Baylawn Ave. for a split-zoned parcel at the Gail Grace Estates apartments at Montauk Highway and Baylawn Avenue. The complex has 16 one-bedroom units with 24 parking spots, eight of which are for guests.

The ZBA voted 5-0 last Thursday to deny the variance requests. Three board members abstained because they were absent the day of the Dec. 19 public hearing. They did, however, approve increasing the fence height on the southern border of the apartment complex from 6 feet to 8 feet at the request of neighboring residents.

"I don’t think that’s in the best interest of the neighbors or anybody else to have that traffic going out onto Baylawn Avenue and also ... putting parking in the middle of residential housing," ZBA chairman Michael Kane said during the meeting held via Zoom.

John Shepard, a ZBA board member, seconded the motion to deny the variances.

"What kind of bothered me is that we approved this with 16 one-bedrooms, and then just on the grounds of more money they ask for two bedrooms, and I don’t think that’s our position [that] we should encroach on a neighborhood such as this," Shepard said.

The Baylawn Avenue Homeowners Alliance, whose members own about 75 homes on Baylawn and Jervis avenues in the hamlet, applauded the decision.

"When town government allows the residents to have their voices heard, and they listen, positive change can happen," the group said in a statement.

The applicant’s lawyer, Nicole Blanda of Melville, did not respond to a request for comment.

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