February 13, 2019
Here is a brief update on some of the recent activities in New Hyde Park.
Marijuana Sale Restrictions in New Hyde Park Village
This past week the Village Board held a public hearing and amended the Village Code requiring any sale of marijuana or marijuana related products to be confined to the Adult Use Zone in the village if the sale of marijuana is legalized in New York State. Should the state legislature legalize marijuana, the village would not be permitted to prohibit its sale; we can however restrict where it can be sold under local zoning code.
The Village Board does not believe that legalizing the sale of marijuana in the village of New Hyde Park is in the best interests or values of our community. New Hyde Park has always been a great place to raise a family. Quiet suburban streets, good schools, reliable services and a sense of neighborhood has made New Hyde Park a great place to live. We believe legalizing the substance sends the wrong message to children and adolescents who emulate the behavior of adults they observe.
It is interesting to see that several other villages and towns are enacting similar restrictions that are within their legal bounds to do so. The actions by local communities that are closest to the people suggests that such statewide initiatives may not necessarily be consistent with the values of people in the neighborhoods and communities that makes up our state. County Executive Laura Curran was recently quoted in Newsday that she was interested to see what happens at the municipal level, “Village officials are always looking out for their communities, they’re on the ground”.
LIRR Third Track Project
The delayed partial closure of Covert Avenue between 1st and 2nd Avenue took effect last week. The partial closure of Covert Avenue is expected to continue through Tuesday, February 12th. Part of the delay was to make sure commercial traffic was diverted to New Hyde Park Road, away from local residential streets. The full closure of Covert is now scheduled to begin April 15th, 2019. Covert would remain closed for 6 months.
Work has begun on a temporary building in the South 12th Street lot to house emergency equipment while Covert Avenue is closed. This is included to address concerns that response to emergencies south of the mainline might be impeded once Covert Avenue is closed. The building is taking up at least 12 parking spaces in the South 12th Street lot. 3TC, the design-build firm is obligated to find alternative parking during this period. The Village Board is working in parallel to offset this loss. We realize that parking is getting tight at the railroad station.
Parking is also becoming difficult in the voucher parking spots along the railroad. Voucher parking sales is an important revenue stream for the Village that offsets property taxes. Many voucher parking spots have been taken up by construction equipment. 3TC is being charged for those spots on a daily basis. Nevertheless, we are quickly running out of spots and run the risk of driving long time, loyal customers to find alternate commuting routes. To that end, the Village Board is opening Plaza Avenue, east of New Hyde Park Road to voucher parking.
Lastly, 3TC expects to begin early pile driving on or around February 25th. The piles will be driven by vibrodriving instead of the more common and intrusive impact driving method. The early pile driving will reduce the amount of piling driving that would have had to be done at night in the original schedule.
This past week the Village Board entered into a stipulation of settlement with Deluxe Auto Storage on their application to build a self-storage facility on their property at 1401 4th Avenue. The application originally came to the Village Board in January of 2018 for a four-story building. A public hearing was held in April, 2018 and despite making some concessions to the size, bulk and appearance of the building, the Village Board denied the application. Among the reasons for the denial was that the use was not in keeping with the planned transit-oriented development the Board is encouraging in this area. The applicant filed an appeal of the Board’s ruling but agreed to commence negotiations with the Board in lieu of litigating the matter in court. The Board met several times with the applicant during which the applicant shared their good faith efforts to use part or all of the property for residential development. Unfortunately, the Storage Deluxe was unable to find a suitable partner for such a transaction.
Lacking a business case for residential development, the Board provided parameters for what would be an acceptable self-storage facility on the site. The result was a plan for a three-story building that will feature a façade consistent with a more colonial style that is envisioned in the TOD district. Storage-Deluxe will maintain their luxury car storage business. The side of the building facing the station will be modified to provide a showcase of some of these luxury cars visible from the platform level. This new design is intended to provide an upscale luxury car museum at the revitalized New Hyde Park station.
Village Budget Fiscal Year 2020
The Village Board also kicked off the budget process last week with a first look at the revenues and expenses that will shape our operating and capital plans. A preliminary analysis prepared by Village Clerk-Treasurer Kate Hillman showed that we have to bridge a shortfall of revenues and expenses of $115,000 just to remain under the 2% tax cap for the fiscal year beginning in June, 2019. While all costs continue to escalate beyond 2% per year, the Village is also hit with the removal of $149,000 in state funding that has been a constant in our revenue plan for many years. We urge residents to contact state representatives and insist that this important funding stream be included in the New York State budget when it is finalized.
The Village Board will continue to work on the budget over February and March and provide a tentative budget to the public no later than March 23, 2019.
Harley Davidson Application
The Board also received a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in support of the application for site plan approval, special permit and variance for the Harley-Davidson facility proposed to be built at 1324 Jericho Turnpike. The DEIS is being reviewed by the Village Board and our consultant. Comments on the DEIS will be provided to the applicant and a subsequent hearing is expected later this year.
I will continue to keep you updated on these and other topics that occupies the Village Board.
Lawrence J. Montreuil
Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park