Cedarhurst-based Paramount Construction changed plans for a proposed apartment complex at Court and Payan Avenue to assuage critics of the building who thought it would be too large for the area, according to Dominick Minerva, Paramount’s attorney, who spoke at a Jan. 8 Village of Valley Stream board of trustees meeting. The village board must vote on the new plans before they can move forward.
“We made the changes in response to the opposition at the public hearing,” Minerva said, referring to a hearing on the plans in November. But, he added, “We felt that the original plan was a good plan.”
Under the new proposal, the number of units would be reduced from 28 to 12, and they would be townhouses rather than apartments. They would have direct access to an internal street to reduce traffic, and each building would have its own garage and driveway. According to Minerva, the new plans were modeled after the apartment units at Valley Park Townhouses on Franklin Avenue, which are one to five-bedroom condos.
Paramount Construction also promised to donate $25,000 to the Valley Stream Tree Fund to replace any trees cut down during construction of the townhouses. Deputy Mayor Vincent Grasso said he liked that aspect of the new plans.
“The money will go a long way to ensuring Valley Stream is a greener, more verdant place and preserves its suburban character,” Grasso wrote in a Facebook message to the Herald. “[And] it demonstrates a way forward in which developers who ask the village and community for extraordinary consideration in their plans can offer great value to the community by funding community improvement initiatives.”
The plans are still in the development phase, however, which left residents with several questions, including how tall the buildings would be, how many bedrooms the units would have, and whether they would be rentals or for sale.
Resident Maria DeMaio Arcodia also asked Grasso, on his Deputy Mayor Grasso’s Village Issues Facebook Page, whether the developer had any plans to file for payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, to develop the site. PILOT agreements are granted to businesses by an Industrial Development Agency so that the businesses can make scheduled payments to various governmental agencies rather than pay taxes. Grasso responded that the village board did not yet know whether Paramount Construction would apply for a PILOT agreement.
Another resident, Mike Belfiore, said in a phone interview that he was concerned about the project’s density, and wanted to compare the square footage of the original plan to that of the new plan.
Belfiore also said he questioned how much of an effect the public had at the November hearing on the plans. He said that many of the changes that Paramount Construction made were suggested by the Nassau County Department of Public Works Planning Commission, which must review the plans, in an Oct. 23 letter to Village Clerk Bob Fumagalli.
“At 28 units, the project will have a density of over 50 units per acre, which the Commission deems excessive and out of character with the single-family pattern of development along Wallace Ct.,” the letter reads. “The Commission is also concerned with the wide-scale removal of trees on the property to accommodate the project and the limited amount of greenery and landscaping along both Wallace Ct. and Payan Ave.”
After rereading that letter, Belfiore said he thought Paramount Construction made the changes to appease the commission. “To me, it sounds like the developer is doing what he has to do to prevent the project from being kicked back at the county level,” he said.
But other residents, including former board member Ed Delucie, said they were pleased with the revisions. “From the information I read about the new proposals it looks like the developer took the concerns of the residents and Village Trustees into consideration and came back which a much better plan that should mitigate any concerns regarding size and traffic,” Delucie wrote in a Facebook message to the Herald.
Minerva said he expects the final plans to be submitted to the village board by the end of the month. The village would then hold a public hearing on the plans, probably in March. If approved, the plans would go to the Nassau County Planning Commission for review.