Despite opposition from neighbors, plans to build a parking lot behind the Apple store in Manhasset are under way after the Town of North Hempstead voted Tuesday to grant it site plan approval.
The vote comes after a contentious public hearing last month, when residents who live nearby the proposed site criticized the plan, which calls for 90 parking spaces on a 1.3-acre vacant lot, bordered on two sides by homes. The new space would flow into an existing lot behind the Apple store and a soon-to-be-closed Daffy’s store, next to the Americana Manhasset on Northern Boulevard.
The board voted 6-1, with Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio casting the lone nay vote. “The residents who lived in that area were against it, and I didn’t think it made sense,” she said.
In June, five residents filed suit against the town, Great Neck developer Mayflower Associates, the town supervisor and the four council members who voted for rezoning the site.
Vito Palmieri, an attorney who represents the residents, did not return calls for comment but has said the residents wanted to force the town to conduct traffic and environmental studies before authorizing construction projects, and to stop the owner from building the parking lot altogether.
The town said two concessions have been made since the last meeting. The applicant said it will consider adding a second entrance along Northern Boulevard on the west side. But first, the town will conduct a traffic study to determine whether such a move would alleviate traffic. Until now, the only traffic study published had been sponsored by the applicant, which residents called unacceptable. Town board member Angelo Ferrara said since the town is already studying other areas with known congestion problems, the scope of the study will expand to include the area nearby the parking lot.
“If you could get people off of Northern Boulevard sooner, before the main entrance, that lessens the traffic that goes through the parking lot,” Ferrara explained.
Regarding the lawsuit, he predicted “all of the reasons for it will go away.”