The Glen Cove Planning Board advanced the first phase of the city's long-planned waterfront development late Tuesday, authorizing staff to draft a resolution supporting the site plan.
The board also authorized its staff to craft language in favor of the subdivision plan for the entire 56-acre development. The board will consider the resolution at a future date.
"It's very important because it truly defines that the first steps are being taken," Mayor Reginald Spinello said Wednesday about the board's 7-0 vote.
"I am setting my sights on closing on the waterfront, or at least phase one of it, before the end of the year and to have shovels in the ground by spring next year," Spinello said.
About a half dozen residents spoke at the public hearing, mostly concerned about the project's possible impact on traffic, schools and health.
Before the vote, representatives of the developer outlined the first phase of the project, which includes construction of 387 multifamily units; 3,055 square feet of residential space; a park; an esplanade to the ferry terminal; 811 parking spaces; a marina support building; and relocating the Anglers Club.
"We're very excited by the planning board's authorization," said Thomas Graham, vice president and project executive of the developer, RXR Glen Isles Partners LLC of Glen Cove. Graham said Wednesday construction should begin next spring, pending various approvals.
Several residents said they were worried about increased traffic, more children in city schools and harmful health consequences, since the project would be built on the north side of Glen Cove Creek on primarily vacant land that was used for heavy industrial operations.
Representatives from the developer said those issues were vetted in the project's master plan, which the planning board approved in December 2011.
"This project will be devastating to Glen Cove because it changes the suburban character of the city to urban," said resident Marie Rummo.
Resident and real estate broker Gabor Karsai said the promise of the project "brought in new businesses . . . everyone is really looking forward to this in the business community."
The development is expected to be completed in three phases and have 860 residential units, split 50-50 between rentals and condominiums; a 250-suite hotel; 50,000 square feet of commercial space; 25,000 square feet of retail space; 10 percent workforce housing and 19 acres of public amenities and open space, including two parks and two marinas.