The North Hempstead Town board will hold a public hearing Wednesday on the site plan for a proposed parking lot on vacant land behind the Apple store in Manhasset, as nearby residents await a hearing on the lawsuit they've filed to stop the lot from being built.
The site plan calls for 90 parking spots and landscaping on a 1.3-acre parcel on The Gate, just south of an existing parking lot, bordered on two sides by homes. If the town board approves the plan, the owner of the property, The Gate Llc., can then apply for a building permit.
The parcel was rezoned from residential to parking in May, after a contentious two-hour hearing during which residents raised traffic, safety and other concerns. The town board voted 5-1 to allow the rezoning, with Councilmember Dina De Giorgio casting the lone opposing vote.
In June, five residents who live next to the land filed suit in Nassau County Supreme Court against the town, Supervisor Jon Kaiman, the four council members who voted for the rezoning and Great Neck developer Mayflower Associates, seeking to force the town to vacate its rezoning decision, conduct traffic and environmental studies before approving any construction and prohibit the property owner from creating a parking lot.
Vito Palmieri, the Mineola lawyer representing the residents, said the town should have conducted studies on the environmental, traffic and other effects of the lot on the neighborhood before considering the rezoning.
"The decision was premature," Palmieri said. Town officials declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation.
Calls to Mayflower Associates and the lawyer representing The Gate Llc were not returned.
Barbara Evanov, one of the plaintiffs, said the town refused to listen to her concerns or those of her neighbors. "They really did not care that our quality of life is going to change, that the value of our homes is going to decrease," she said. "It's going to be unsafe. It's going to be noisy."