Town approves rezoning for Malverne condo development

Neither the mayor nor residents knew when the decision would be made


Despite strong community opposition, the Town of Hempstead has unanimously approved a real estate developer’s rezoning request that may lead to the construction of 12 condominiums on two parcels of land on Hempstead Avenue in Malverne Park. The parcels were previously zoned for single-family homes.

The request to rezone the properties, at 494 and 1104 Hempstead Ave., was granted at the town’s Aug. 2 board meeting. The parcels are just outside the Malverne village border.

Mayor Patricia Ann McDonald expressed strong opposition to the rezoning request, citing traffic congestion in that area, at a Jan. 26 town board meeting. McDonald, who also attended last week’s meeting, was irked not only by the decision, but by the way it was rendered. “[Town Councilman] Bruce Blakeman did not even have the common decency to contact his constituents about this,” McDonald said. “And what about at least letting people speak at the town meeting? I’m horrified at the way the board treated people at that meeting. There wasn’t even any explanation as to why they made the decision they did!”

Residents who live near the property told the Herald they were not told about the town’s announcement. “I was told after the first meeting that I would be notified about the [decision] meeting,” said Ruthann Parise, who lives next door to 494 Hempstead Ave. Blakeman told the Herald that the town attorney usually issues town notices.

When the rezoning request was discussed at the January meeting, at least a half a dozen Malverne residents asked the town to more closely examine the traffic implications. Blakeman agreed, saying the town needed to do its own traffic study due to the number of accidents and complaints by residents. Asked about the town’s findings, Blakeman said that Gary Aue of the traffic department told him, “At any one time, four or five cars coming in or out of the property would have no impact whatsoever.”

Michael Deery, a town spokesman, said, “The only traffic study that exists is from the applicant.”

Executives speaking on behalf of the property’s developer, R&B Acquisitions & Development Inc., of Franklin Square, at the January meeting said they had commissioned a study by the Institute of Transportation Engineers that concluded that traffic on the street would increase by only .5 percent if the condos were built. But residents didn’t agree. “Experts don’t know as much as the people who live there,” said Eve Melia, an Atlas Court resident, adding that she has daily difficulties getting to her property from Hempstead Avenue.

The condo development’s blueprints show space for 35 cars. The estimated sale prices for the units range between $465,000 and $525,000. Single-family homes now occupy each of the properties, which measure 83 feet wide on Hempstead Avenue and 563 feet deep, a total of 1.2 acres.

Malverne Police Lt. John Oddo has told the Herald in the past that the area is often plagued by traffic violations. “Traffic enforcement is endless in that whole area,” Oddo said, adding that from 2011 through last month, the department issued hundreds of summonses to motorists at the intersection of Hempstead and Ocean avenues alone.

Because the property has frontage on a county road, the developer must seek several approvals from the Nassau County Planning Commission that address access, drainage, parking requirements and other details. The county requires that the applicant inform all residents within 200 feet of the property, by certified mail, when meetings with the county will take place, and place an advertisement in a local newspaper.