Developers have introduced a new plan for the site of a block of vacant stores on Middle Neck Road in Great Neck Estates, five years after the village rejected a similar proposal.
Residents who weren't thrilled with ideas for the site in 2009 are questioning the new proposal, which the developer acknowledges is basically the same.
Mayor David A. Fox, leading a tense public hearing on the plan at Village Hall on Monday night, said the proposal is being reconsidered because the community has been "graying" in recent years, and there is little housing for seniors who want to remain but are too fragile for multilevel private homes.
He said numerous approvals would be needed before the concept could become a reality. "This is a project," he said. "There would still be a lot that would have to be done before anything happened." The matter is scheduled for another public hearing on Aug. 6.
The developer, Great Neck Properties of Manhattan, wants to raze what some residents have described as a white brick eyesore at 212-230 Middle Neck Rd. to build a new brick, stucco and stone structure of either co-ops or condos that would be called The Rose. No prices for the units had been determined.
Paul J. Bloom, the Melville attorney representing the developer, said the new building would blend with the area's architecture and construction could take as long as 18 months.
Mitchell D. Newman, president of the Cold Spring Hills-based Newman Design architectural firm, displayed renderings of the exterior of the luxury building that he said would offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging from 714 to 1,553 square feet, and have a 24-hour doorman/concierge, he said.
A private landscaped roof would make it a sort of "green" building and exterior lighting would be kept to a minimum to prevent it from intruding upon neighbors, Newman said.
About 70 village residents attended Monday's hearing at which the developer sought a zoning permit to put a residential project on a commercial block. Residents asked whether the 31-foot high building would be too tall for the neighborhood, if teenagers could access the roof to hang out and whether no lighting at the back of the building would invite crime.
"I think we need a little more time to flesh out the plan," Fox said, adding that the one apartment complex in the village that could meet the needs of seniors lacks the handicap-accessible features of newer buildings.
Bloom said the project would include enough off-street parking to allow most residents to park two cars, but developers "are very open to what the village wants to see on the property."
Built in 1947, the structure on the 1.2 acre parcel housed offices, a market, a deli, a beauty parlor and a liquor store. "That building has been problematic with respect to maintaining tenants," Bloom said.