Mineola residents packed into a village board meeting Wednesday night to fire a concerted salvo against a proposed nine-story, 296-unit downtown apartment complex, saying it would be another step toward turning the village into a city.
Many in the crowd of more than 100 people raised concerns about the impact of more traffic and residents in the congested area and how it would affect nearby Winthrop-University Hospital's ability to handle ambulance runs, emergency patients and deliveries.
Several of those opposed to the proposed Mineola Village Green at 199 Second St. also questioned how the area's sewer capacity and school district would be affected with two other apartment buildings going up in the area.
"Mineola is quickly becoming a city," resident Kathy Novak said. "Make this your legacy -- stop the building."
A few speakers at the more than three-hour meeting demanded a moratorium of one to five years on apartment projects until their effects on the quality of life in the village of nearly 19,000 can be studied.
"We came here because of the look of the community and the neighborhoods we had," Angela Glassman, who grew up in Mineola, said of living in the village. "Traffic in the area is already a horror."
The proposed construction site is a 1.5-acre parcel where an existing building with a Citibank would be razed. The developer, New Hyde Park-based Lalezarian Properties LLC, wants to construct a horseshoe-shaped complex with the back side facing the Long Island Rail Road station. A "village green" would provide open space at the center of the development.
Lalezarian is also developing one of the two other apartment buildings going up in the village and a rental complex at 250 Old Country Rd. The three new buildings are projected to bring in a total of about 1,400 new residents.
"We need to just sit back and take a deep breath and see what impact these other two [apartment buildings] have on the village," Glassman said, asking the board to study the impact on the hospital's emergency room traffic.
Kevin Walsh, the developer's Garden City-based attorney, said the complex would be "in character with the village," adding that it "would have no adverse impact" on the building site or the greater community.
Other representatives of the developer noted the project is targeted for train commuters and that they would study the possibility of making part of the building shorter. They projected that the development would likely have little impact on the schools and that Nassau County has the capacity to handle the sewage.
The public hearing will continue at Village Hall on Feb. 11. Mayor Scott Strauss asked the developer to return with more answers to residents' concerns.
"We're not looking to rush this through," he said.
A NINE-STORY, multitiered horseshoe-shaped apartment complex at 199 Second St. on a 1.5 acre site between Mineola Boulevard and Main, Second and Front streets.
TARGETED for commuters using the Mineola Long Island Rail Road station
TOTAL of 296 one-and two-bedroom apartment units
RESTAURANT and retail space on ground floor.
A 100-FOOT wide by 200-foot deep village green at its center with a pedestrian walkway and fountain.
THREE subsurface parking levels
ROOFTOP swimming pool