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Great Neck Estates development proposal hearing postponed

A public hearing on a controversial proposal to construct a 40-unit apartment building in Great Neck Estates has been delayed until Oct. 13, so developers can present more detailed information to the village board.

Mayor David A. Fox asked Paul J. Bloom, the attorney representing the developer, Great Neck Properties of Manhattan, to go back to his client and address residents' concerns about who would live in the one-, two- and three-bedroom units and the impact of more cars on traffic.

Fox has said the proposal to rezone the property at 212-230 Middle Neck Rd. from commercial to residential is worth considering because of the recent "graying" of the village.

"This peninsula is changing every day," Fox said during a heated hearing on Sept. 8 attended by about 50 people. "We have residents who are aging out, but who don't want to move out of Great Neck Estates," who are too old to stay in their large homes and have few local apartment options.

Residents have questioned the need for such housing and said it has not been made clear whether the units would be rentals, co-ops or condos.

"This is a private [home] area, and you're putting in a rental here?" said an angry Zelda Berger. "I think that's a terrible thing. I'm upset that the board is even considering it."

Board attorney A. Thomas Levin answered that "the village cannot regulate the manner in which the property is owned. We only get to approve the use of the property."

Ilse Kagan included herself among those Great Neck residents who are aging and still living in their homes. She asked the mayor to identify residents who have expressed interest in such an apartment building.

"It never occurred to us [older residents] that we wanted Great Neck Estates to build an apartment building for us," she said. "It's strange to me and my friends. Do you have so many applicants like me wanting to run to that place?"

Plans are to raze vacant stores on the 1.2 acre parcel and build a new brick, stucco and stone structure that would be called The Rose. No prices have been announced for the units, which would range from 714 to 1,553 square feet.

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