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Great Neck planners put off decision on Academy Gardens redevelopment

Several community members voiced their support of the

Several community members voiced their support of the Academy Gardens Tenants Association, at a Great Neck Planning Board meeting on Feb. 20, 2014. The association is made up of residents who are potentially being forced out of their homes. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Great Neck's planning board has tabled a proposal to replace a rent-stabilized housing complex with market-rate rentals, saying the developer owes the village more than $33,000.

Developer Kings Point Gate Associates LLC, "despite several objections" about the outstanding fees, has agreed to pay, said spokesman George Shea in a statement.

But planning board chairman Charles W. Segal said Tuesday that the application is still "off the calendar," pending receipt of payment.

The developer has proposed demolishing the complex known as Academy Gardens, which it owns.

The site plan application has angered the building's tenants, many of whom are minorities, who say they won't be able to afford to live in the new building. Tenants in the complex on Middle Neck Road say they have been promised payment for relocating but not spots in the new complex.

Ten percent of the proposed 68 units are designated "affordable workplace housing."

The developer owes a $15,640 deposit, to pay for consultants to study planning and "disparate impacts" on protected classes, and $17,545.45 for various village costs associated with the application, such as outside legal counsel, Segal said.

Shea said "the disparate impact study . . . is not an appropriate action" required under the State Environmental Quality Review process.

The planning board in June chose Melville-based firm Nelson, Pope & Voorhis LLC and Lance Freeman, a professor at Columbia University, to complete the study.

The planning board will not review the application until the fees have been paid, the consultants have been hired, and a report is finished, Segal said.

Then, the village will have to reissue a public notice, so the application can appear back on the calendar, he said.

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