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Mineola defers vote on Lalezarian plan

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Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:54 pm

Lalezarian Developers presented revised plans for its proposed apartment complex at 250 Old Country Road to the Mineola Village Board last Wednesday night, reducing the number of units from 345 to 315 and raising the ante on cash amenities to be paid to the village to $3.1 million  

In comments preceding the Lalezarian presentation, Village of Mineola Mayor Scott Strauss said the latest Lalezarian proposal addressed concerns about density, building height, architecture and parking raised by the village trustees at a May 23 hearing. He said the developer agreed to streetscape improvements, 32 “workforce” units to be offered at modified rental rates and also acknowledged the $3.1 million in amenities.

The trustees raised no complaints about the revised plan but deferred voting on it pending review by the Nassau County Planning Commission. 

“I believe it will contribute to the vibrancy and economic stability of our downtown,” Strauss said.

Lalezarian had already increased its offer of cash amenities to the village from $2.5 million to $2.83 million in an Aug. 1 letter from attorney Kevin Walsh, who represents the Lalezarians, to Strauss and the village trustees. The figure was raised to $3.1 million in conversations between Walsh and Mineola village attorney John Spellman during the week before the hearing , Lalezarian partner Kevin Lalezarian said.

“The final figure is $3.1 million,” Lalezarian said after the hearing.

Walsh said the nine-story building’s architecture was “redefined” with a central recessed section on the side of the building facing Old Country Road. Strauss had commented that the flat wall on that side of the structure appeared “too massive” at the May 23 hearing. Walsh said the 32 “workforce” units, to be rented to people with incomes at between 50 percent and 75 percent of the median in Nassau County, would have the same fixtures as the other apartments in response to an objection Strauss raised about that in the prior hearing.

The height of the proposed building was reduced from 108 feet, six inches to 84 feet, nine inches along Old Country Road and 94 feet, two inches along Third Street, but still contains 10 stories at a height of 103 feet, seven inches at its peak.

The 315 units in the new proposal include 166 one-bedroom units, 127 two-bedroom units and 33 three-bedroom units.

Lalezarian Developers had originally proposed a nine-story, 257-unit condominium complex with its entrance on Old Country Road. A special-permit application for a change to a rental property was prompted by market conditions, Walsh said on May 23

Parking spaces are proposed at 1.5 spaces per apartment unit, with one space to be assigned for smaller units and two “tandem” spaces for larger units.

“We’ve embraced this plan as we’ve submitted this. I reiterate, my client wants to build this now. This is not a drawing-board plan,” Walsh said.

Responding to a question from Trustee Lawrence Werther, Walsh said Lalezarian would be seeking financial relief from the county Industrial Development Agency, but said financial figures had not yet been compiled for that application.

Werther said he was concerned that the IDA would grant tax relief exceeding 10 years, as it recently had done in a 20-year deal for Mill Creek Residential Trust, the company building the Winston and Churchill apartment complexes in Mineola.

“Let’s see what the IDA does and whether we like it,” Spellman said.

“By then it’ll be too late,” Werther said.

“It’s never too late,” Spellman replied.

Mineola Deputy Mayor Paul Pereira said that apart from the IDA agreement, the village would have an agreement on the project for payment in lieu of taxes. He noted a similar agreement on the Winston project would make the village “whole” on 90 percent of estimated taxes.

Tom Trypuc, who identified himself as president of a residents organization at the nearby Cherry Valley apartments in Garden City, said resident of that apartment complex would be “victims” of increased traffic from the apartment complex.

Mineola resident Dennis Walsh said the existing building at 250 Old Country Road had been off the village tax rolls since 2005 and said Mineola resident should get the tax breaks the proposed apartment building would bring.

“This is a good project. It’s going to bring taxes to this village,” Walsh said.

Kevin Walsh said an alternative Lalezarian plan would been for a 138,000-square-foot office building. He said the traffic impact from a residential building would be “spread out” during weekdays, with heaviest traffic affecting the rear of the building  on 3rd Street, the location for traffic exiting the building’s parking garage.       

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