Great Neck Plaza passes timely project completion law

Janelle Clausen
Richard Gabriele, the village attorney for Great Neck Plaza, outlined aspects of a law aiming to rein in late construction projects. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Richard Gabriele, the village attorney for Great Neck Plaza, outlined aspects of a law aiming to rein in late construction projects. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

Village of Great Neck Plaza trustees voted 3-0 to pass a law regarding the completion of construction projects on Wednesday night, limiting the number of extensions a project can get while increasing the number of incentives for timely completion.

Village officials have described the law as a necessary one to prevent future projects from going on late and mitigate impacts to the community like traffic disruptions and fugitive dust.

“I think this law is absolutely necessary to strengthen and provide additional guidance to move projects along,” Mayor Jean Celender said, adding that the law would allow them to bring in developers “before we get to the point where there’s undue delay with buildings being finalized.”

The two-year standard period for a permit remains, but limits the extensions to two, each being up to six months. In order to get an extension, the developer would need to appear before the board and provide a written explanation on why the project is running late.

The new law would also empower the village’s public services commissioner, Michael Sweeney, to instruct developers to appear before the board if a project appears it will not be finished on time.

According to a copy of the law, if a holder does not appear before the board in that situation, no extension for “good cause” could be provided. Failing or refusing to act on board suggestions despite an appearance, meanwhile, would be “a factor to be considered” in future extension requests.

In getting an extension, the board of trustees could “impose any conditions it deems necessary and warranted by an extension of the construction period” like extra State Environmental Quality Review Act review, bond payments, and active workers on the premises.

The law also updates the cost of the variable fee from $12 per $1,000 of estimated costs to $18 per $1,000. A third of it is held in escrow, meaning the applicant would get that money back if the project’s completed in a timely fashion.

These changes do not retroactively apply to ongoing projects like 5-9 Grace Avenue apartment complex, which officials previously highlighted as going on for at least two and a half years.

Hooshang Nematzadeh, the CEO of Nemat Development which is constructing the project, said the complex – which now only awaits inspections – was completed in segments to avoid impacting the area

“We framed with concrete in segments in order to not impact the traffic on Grace Avenue,” Nematzadeh said. “We have no trucks on Grace Avenue. We contained everything inside the lot.”

Nematzadeh also said, as a trustee of Kings Point, he understands people getting frustrated over prolonged construction – but that no developer likes having a project go on and on either.

“Delays in projects cost huge amounts of money, so when there is no reason for anyone to delay, that means all the delays are caused by other forces of which we have no control,” Nematzadeh said.


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