Site plans for a mixed-use building at 22 Sagamore Hill Dr. and 20 Secatog Ave. was the topic of discussion at the village of Manorhaven’s planning board meeting, held on Nov. 6. Although the initial building has already been approved, the hearing was held to discuss current site plans for the property.
“This property, for 27 years, has been an eye sore and a problem,” Zygmunt Jagiello, chairman of the Manorhaven planning board, said.
Jagiello “commended the developer” for choosing to do something with the property, which has been vacant since it was acquired by the property owner, Peter Dejana in 2011.
Howard Avrutine of Avrutine & Associates, PLLC, appeared on behalf of the applicant to explain the plans for the two separate parcels of land (22 Sagamore Hill Dr. and 20 Secatog Ave.), which will be merged together for a combined total of 26,000 square feet. The proposal is for the construction of two mixed-use buildings consisting of 16 two-bedroom apartments with a retail or office space on the lower floor and an outdoor deck on the roof for recreational purposes.
One major topic discussed during the meeting was the environmental assessment for the property, which was formerly an industrial site. Underground oil tanks were removed from the property in 2010, but a number of soil samples had to be taken to ensure there was no contamination.
“After a federal review of the environmental impact, the board of zoning appeals issued a negative declaration, which means that the proposed action will not have a significant adverse affect on the environment,” Avrutine said.
Jagiello asked for more clarification about the company, Long Island Analytical Labs, to determine if the testing is on par with other companies, due to the fact that there was competing information regarding what precautions may need to be taken for the possible contamination.
“Of paramount importance to the applicant is the safety of the people of the community and those who will be residing in the building,” Avrutine said. “I think its important to note that the original recommendation from H2N for the vapor barrier was based on the 2011 information. The Long Island Analytical Labs study does not state that it is needed. There are standards set by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as to levels of various contaminants. The tests reveal levels of contamination and it either exceeds or doesn’t exceed the level—it doesn’t make a difference who is performing the work.”
Jagiello asked for more information about the company to see if the testing is on par with other companies findings.
This is not the first time the village has held a hearing regarding this property. Detailed site plans were brought before the board of zoning appeals in September 2018. The architect originally applied for an application for a much larger scale building, which included a four story structure, which exceeded the village’s zoning code limit. After backlash from residents in the village, plans were revised and the project’s scale was reduced to make it less of a concern for the residents.
During the public comment portion of the Nov. 6 meeting, resident Caroline DuBois brought up her concern for future flooding that may occur in the area and how this could potentially harm the residents living in these new apartments.
“I have a concern about hurricane storm surge,” DuBois said. “Many of us went to a meeting two weeks ago in Great Neck that was hosted by the Army Corps of Engineers and they showed many maps and scenarios up to a 200-year flood event, which they said could now be happening every 10 years. All of the villages around the Long Island Sound—the zoning is inadequate for global warming tidal rise. But I have a concern about this building. If the life of the building is 20 or 40 years, it is inevitable according to the Army Corps of Engineers that there will be flooding on Manhasset Isle. As a warning to the people who are building the building, the renters and the neighbors, I think it’s prudent to think ahead about storm surge issues.”
DuBois suggested raising the height of building to protect it from future flooding incidents.
“Storm surge is going to happen, it is inevitable,” DuBois said. “We have to do something about it. We have to be smart.”
Jagiello agreed to take into consideration the possibility of a storm surge, in relation to the site-plans application.
“It’s important and I think we should collectively think about it,” Jagiello said.
Resident Nick Marra initially agreed with DuBois but stated that he felt that the comment was unnecessary since DuBois had never brought up the problem of flooding at any of the previous meetings, which were held over the past year.
Resident and board of trustees member Ken Kraft stated his concern for the environmental studies, which were each conducted by three environmental engineering companies, Athenica Environmental Services, Long Island Analytical Labs and H2M Architects and Engineers, and asked the planning board to carefully review the studies provided. Kraft also voiced his frustration regarding the approval of the current site plans variances, which were previously approved by the Manorhaven board of zoning appeals in September.
“I just wish you would take a little more consideration into this for the people of Manorhaven,” Kraft concluded.
The planning board reviewed the documents and requested clarifications to various parts of the buildings site plans, including the soil sampling studies. The Village of Manorhaven’s next planning board meeting will be on Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. at the village hall, located at 33 Manorhaven Blvd. in Port Washington.