22 Aug 2014
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Southern Portion of Doubleday Property May Become Condos

Residents concerned with green space that could be lost at Garden City's “Green Gateway” near the Hempstead border.

Southern Portion of Doubleday Property May Become Condos Southern Portion of Doubleday Property May Become Condos Southern Portion of Doubleday Property May Become Condos Southern Portion of Doubleday Property May Become Condos Southern Portion of Doubleday Property May Become Condos

A proposal to develop a three-story, 54-unit condominium complex on the east side of Franklin Avenue near the Garden City-Hempstead border is causing more concern for Central residents who are already fighting a development proposal suggested for the west side.

The condo proposal presented by the Engel Burman Group for the southern portion of the Doubleday property comes on the heels of resident Bill Bellmer's suggestion to build eight new homes on a vacant triangular piece of land across the street - between Third and Fourth streets - to drum up revenue for the village coffers.

Cedar Place resident Pat DiMattia has been at the forefront of a fight to designate that triangular piece of land "parkland in perpetuity." Cedar Place is actually situated between Third and Fourth streets.

DiMattia said residents in the general vicinity are "completely opposed" to Bellmer's suggestion. "It's not that we're just opposed to the development," DiMattia told trustees May 5, "we are really concerned about the preservation of green space."

Residents have taken their fight to the next level, circulating petitions and reaching out to local representatives like Sen. Kemp Hannon.

In a letter sent to village officials in March, Central Property Owners' Association (CPOA) president Gary Kahn said the association's board of directors unanimously approved a resolution opposing development of the west side because it would "establish unwanted density and visual mass in what is now a pleasant vista on entry to the village." 

Fellow Central resident Joe Mohen said he's against both proposals, calling Bellmer's idea "appalling. "When one drives north on Franklin Avenue from Hempstead, when you enter Garden City you notice a complete transformation from completely developed to lush and green," he said. "Already the green space on the east side of Franklin is zoned for commercial development, which makes it urgent that we protect the green space on the west side."

Mohen, who grew up in Garden City's Central section and lives there today, said the village's property owners' associations were "blindsided" with regards to the Engel Burman Group's proposal.

"In Garden City, it is considered courtesy to discuss any potential development with your neighbors first, before submitting your plans to the government for permits or variances," he told Patch.

"For a development of scale, it is also protocol to first have a meeting with the property owners' associations in the parts of the village containing, or adjoining, the development. It is courtesy to meet and discuss your plans first with the Central and Eastern Property Owners' Associations, and hear our input, before seeking permits, or making recommendations to the trustees."

Kahn advised Patch on Tuesday that the Engel Burman Group did actually contact him regarding their plans. "Representatives from the company will be attending our next CPOA meeting (June 14 8 p.m., Senior Center on Golf Club Lane) ... At that meeting, they will present their proposal, and respond to any questions or concerns. All residents are welcome to attend this meeting," he said.

The Engel Burman Group could not be reached for comment regarding its condo proposal.

After learning Tuesday that the Engel Burman Group did reach out to the CPOA, Mohen said he was relieved they would be presenting to the CPOA and EPOA before taking additional steps. "Generally, better outcomes will be achieved when this happens," he said.

Both proposals will first go before the village's Planning Commission on Wednesday. DiMattia said a large turnout of concerned residents will be in attendance, armed with visual aids.

"We want to sell our position but we want the support of the entire community," she said, suggesting the village board create an ad hoc committee to deal with green space in the village.

Mayor Don Brudie has been vocal in his opposition to Bellmer's request, stating he's a "strong advocate" of preserving green space. "Today it might be Central. Tomorrow it might be the East, the next day the Estates," he said. "If we sell that property, the money we get would disappear in one budget ... This must be considered very conscientiously and very seriously."

Building superintendent Mike Filippon said the condo proposal is an "as right" development. "It's a permitted use," he said, noting that the number of proposed units is "somewhat below requirement."

He further noted that the Planning Commission can only make a recommendation to the village board of trustees, which then makes a final approval.

The Planning Commission meets at 7:30 p.m. in the village hall boardroom.

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