RESIDENTS OFFER SUGGESTIONS AND EXPRESS CONCERNS REGARDING SALE OF FIVE ACRE GLEN HEAD ROAD PROPERTY
January 9, 2014 -- On Tuesday evening, the Glen Head Glenwood Civic Associations hosted a forum at Glen Head Elementary School for residents to learn about proposals concerning the sale of the 5.39 acre Halm Industries property at 180 Glen Head Road in Glen Head. Donald Lyon, the owner of Halm and two representatives of Goodman-Marks Associates, a real estate appraisal and consulting firm, were on hand to offer an overview of the possible development scenarios for the property, and to respond to questions from the approximately 20 residents who attended the meeting.
Halm, a manufacturer and servicer of envelope printing machines, has held the property since 1954, when it built its two story 44,000 square foot facility. The east side of the property is zoned for light industrial and commercial use while the westerly portion, on which there currently sits a brick home, is zoned residential.
In his introduction, Civic Associations President George Pombar distributed an information packet and gave an overview of three development scenarios that were being considered for the property, and said that the local civic associations had discussed their pros and cons, taking into consideration three criteria – the amount of tax revenue the development would generate; the impact on traffic; and the number of children that would be added to enrollment in local schools. The first scenario is for 20-25 homes; the second, townhouses with 75 units; and the third an assisted living facility. The third, he said, was most attractive to the Civics organizations because it would generate an estimated $360,000 in revenue while having no effect on school enrollment and minimal impact on traffic. The first scenario, he said, could expect to generate $312,000 in taxes, but also see an increase in traffic and school enrollment. The townhouse proposal he estimated would generate $480,000 in taxes, but that according to his estimates would bring at least 100 cars into the area. In addition, an unnamed church has expressed interest in the property, which of course would generate no tax revenue should such a sale be made.
In his presentation, Stephen Deutsch, a real estate appraiser and consultant from Goodman-Marks, spoke on behalf of Mr. Lyon and expressed the desire to work with the community, and in particular the local civic associations, to ensure that the property would be developed in a way that would be agreeable to them while at the same time bring the best possible price to the seller. Mr. Lyon added later that he wanted to “work with the Civics and to do what is best for Glen Head.” Mr. Deutsch made it clear however, that Mr. Lyon is completely within his right to sell the property as it is currently zoned. However, because it is mixed zoning, it lowers the value of the area zoned for residential use since the 10 to 12 homes that that half of the property could accommodate, would abut industrial or commercial development. They maintained that it would be more desirable to have the entire property zoned to allow residential building – either for 20-25 homes on 7,000 square foot lots, or approximately 75 townhouses. Mr. Deutsch, said that it was very unlikely the town would approve any zoning change unless the civic associations were on board. Mr. Deutsch said that two developers, one home builder, and the other whose specialty is townhouses, have expressed serious interest in the property.
As for the assisted living scenario, Mr. Deutsch explained that they had made serious efforts to find a developer, having approached six such builders, but that the location was not desirable relative to other available properties, and that other options therefore had to be pursued. He and Mr. Lyons appeared to be most supportive of the townhouse scenario.
Throughout the course of Mr. Deutsch’s presentation, residents asked several questions, expressed concerns and offered recommendations.
One Greenvale gentleman stated that he could not support the townhouse scenario, as he believed it would create more traffic congestion on Glen Cove Road and lead to more people using Greenvale side streets as a cut through to Northern Boulevard – already a significant problem for the community. Mr. Lyon stated later that he believed a 75 unit townhouse development would have a minimal or negligible impact on traffic. He said that at one point he had 75 employees working at Halm, and that residents in a townhouse development would not all be leaving and arriving at the same time.
Another resident commented that there had been a brickyard at the site many years ago because of the abundance of clay, and questioned whether any septic system in such soil could be adequate to accommodate a large number of homes or townhouses. Mr. Lyon replied that a builder would dig deep enough to hit the sandy soil necessary for a septic system.
As for recommendations, one resident urged Mr. Lyon and Mr. Deutsch to consider reduced density, multi-family rental units. She emphasized the need for that sort of housing, particularly for young people and seniors. Mr. Deutsch replied that he believed it would be better for the community for the units to be owned by the residents.
Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy asked if they had considered condominiums or coops in a four story building with a much smaller footprint, so as to allow for a lot of green space surrounding the building. Mr. Kennedy said that that type of development might enable young people and seniors to avoid being priced out of the area. It was an idea that Mr. Deutsch and Mr. Lyons applauded, but expressed skepticism that the community would support it. A Promenade neighborhood resident said that he could not support a proposal that included a four story building.
As the meeting concluded, Mr. Pombar stated that the local Civics organizations would go over the various alternatives, and that discussions would continue with Mr. Lyon.
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