At a July 10 hearing of the Town of Hempstead’s Board of Zoning Appeals, William Bonesso, an attorney for the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company, agreed to a list of stipulations that the Merrick Park Homeowners Association called for as part of Stop & Shop’s renovation plans for its Merrick Mall store.
MPHOA represents 105 dues-paying families who live in Merrick Woods near Stop & Shop. Before the July 10 hearing, the civic group’s president, Barry Fox, produced a list of 13 concerns about the future Stop & Shop, which, he said, residents had raised at a June 20 meeting.
Improved parking and a different location for the store’s loading dock were at the top of the list of changes that MPHOA sought. The list also included demands that:
• Stop & Shop’s dumpsters and its roof air-conditioner be moved to new locations.
• Security cameras be installed outside and inside the store.
• The store close at 10 p.m.
• No cell antennas or neon signs be added to the building’s roof.
• Trees be planted between Stop & Shop and the adjacent office building at 2174 Hewlett Ave.
• The “horrific odor” emanating from dumpsters at the back of the building, which is not far from homes, be addressed.
Bonesso told the Herald before the BZA hearing that Stop & Shop would likely agree to all of MPHOA’s requests, except for one that a brick fence enclose Stop & Shop’s parking lot on Hewlett Avenue and Smith Street. Fox later said that Bonesso agreed to a fence made of another material around the parking lot.
Martin Valk, a Merrick Woods resident and MPHOA’s attorney, said last week that BZA Chairman David Weiss asked Stop & Shop to put its agreement in writing, and that he was awaiting the document from Bonesso. Valk said he believed Stop & Shop now has an incentive to adhere to its agreements.
“If the conditions aren’t produced, the zoning board won’t let them get their permits and variances,” Valk said. “The project won’t go forward.”
Stop & Shops renovation plans call for an expansion of the store’s footprint by roughly 15,000 feet, including taking over the empty space in the building’s rear that the nightclub Escapes formerly occupied, according to Robert Bencivenga, Stop & Shop’s senior director of real estate for the New York metropolitan area. He estimated that the overhaul would cost $16 million and take six months to complete.
Construction will not begin for several months, as Stop & Shop needs to obtain further approvals from the Town of Hempstead and hire contractors, Bencivenga said.