Old Westbury trustees review Hebrew congregation catering space plans

Teri West
Architect Alfred M. Sutton presents a rendering of a new catering space for Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation. (Photo by Teri West)

The architect for Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation and Ram Caterers, a company based at the synagogue, presented plans for a new catering space at the synagogue at the village’s Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.

The addition would be a fully enclosed room intended to have an outdoorsy feel while containing noise, architect Alfred M. Sutton said.

The congregation has received noise complaints from residents due to parties it hosts.

“There is an expectation that there will no longer be any noise or a nuisance to the community,” said Pamela Barnett, the congregation’s catering chair and the newly appointed chairperson of the village’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

The perimeter of the room would primarily be Thermopane glass, Sutton said.

“It’s an excellent sound deadening,” Sutton said. “The sound does not transfer through very effectively.”

The roof would be made of a fabric called Uniflex, which will also be further insulated for sound control, he said.

Vegetation will be intended to hide the space from view from the street, he said.

The renovation will also include patio improvements and added storage space to the synagogue.

The village’s Planning Board and Architectural Review Board will be the next parties to review the proposal, Mayor Fred Carillo said.

Two residents voiced concern about the noise from the congregation at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I don’t have control over how loud the speakers will be blasting,” Sutton said.

“Oh they’ll be loud. It’ll be like a disco club,” said resident Helen Kang.

“Right, under normal circumstances it would be unintelligible from someone walking on Old Westbury Road,” Sutton said.

Ram Catering typically hosts 12 to 15 parties per month, mostly for weddings and bar or bat mitzvah’s, Barnett said. The congregation and catering company are investing in the renovation, which will be upwards of $2 million, to support Ram Catering, she said, but “this is not going to be a massive commercial enterprise.”

“This is an incredibly expensive undertaking that Ram is doing in great part because the neighbors have been complaining about noise,” Barnett said. “There has to be an understanding that there will be some increased business to Ram. If there wasn’t, no operator would expend a million dollars.”

An architect for the Life Lutheran Church on Old Westbury Road also attended the meeting to present plans to expand the church’s parking lot.

The renovation would add 58 spaces, 10 of which would not be paved but would be reserved and approved in case of a future need, architect Walter C. Sieber of Cameron Engineering & Associates said.

“With the proposed improvements our lot coverage is increased to 40 percent of the lot area,” Sieber said.

The change would also create a drainage system that could accommodate three inches of rain, Sieber said.

The board referred the church proposal to the village’s Planning Board.

The Board of Trustees also approved a resolution to allow the village to join the National Flood Insurance Program, which will allow residents to get discounts on flood insurance, Trustee Edward Novick said.

And, the village awarded a bid to Wire to Water Inc. for a well and tank monitoring system.

Thomas O’Connor, the water superintendent, said he will have a tablet allowing him to remotely monitor pumps and tank levels.

“We can turn wells on and off if need be during peak demand during the summer,” O’Connor said.

The contract is worth $588,320.

About the author

Teri West

Teri West is a reporter for Blank Slate Media covering Roslyn and Manhasset.
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