Village officials and the former owners of a plot of land at 220 Hempstead Ave. have yet to reach an agreement on deeding a road that runs through the area to the village.
The site has been cause for controversy since a late-19th-century home on the property — the former parsonage of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, which the church sold in 2013 — was demolished so the 1.75-acre parcel could be divided into five single-family plots. A new street leading to a cul-de-sac, to be called Birch Lane — currently known as Killarney Lane — was also created. While the initial subdivision approval was for six lots, only five homes will be constructed. One future homeowner has purchased and combined two lots.
In July 2020, the village board voted, 3-2, to claim ownership of Killarney Lane, which runs perpendicular to Hempstead Avenue and provides access to four homes on the southern edge of the property. The resolution authorized Mayor Francis Murray to accept the deed to the road once the developers complete it. If the village did not accept the donation of the road, the public still could have used it, but the village would not have maintained it, though it would continue to be subject to county regulations.
According to village spokeswoman Julie Grilli, however, the village has not yet accepted the deed presented to it by Christian Browne, the attorney for developers James and Brett O'Reilly.
“Various conditions of the development approval, which are required to be performed before the village can accept the deed to the road, have not yet been satisfied,” Grilli said. “The village attorney will be working with the developers’ attorney to have those conditions met. Until that time, the village will not be accepting the deed to the road, which remains in private ownership.”
Grilli said she could not comment further because the matter was still being negotiated.
Browne confirmed last month that the deed to the road had been submitted to the village for its approval, but he also said he believed the village had signed it.
“The houses are still under construction,” he said. “The road was completed and signed off by the village and county [Department of Public Works] in August of this past year. They signed a deed to the village in October.”
Browne said he was unsure of a timeline for the construction of the homes because there are different owners, and his clients were no longer involved with them. The village Building Department did not have a construction schedule, either, because each project is on a different timeline.
The project has had a number of vocal detractors over the years, with some residents expressing concerns about overdevelopment, others dedicated to preserving what they consider a historic house, and still others arguing that the development would reduce the village’s green space. Many people also complained that developers ignored community sentiment while plowing ahead with the project.
Other concerns residents have raised about the project include a potential increase in traffic, the impact construction would have on the surrounding area and potential safety hazards with the new road. But after an initial denial of the subdivision by the village planning board in November 2018 and rounds of litigation that followed, a Nassau County State Supreme Court judge ruled in May 2019 that the development could proceed.