Plans stalled on Great Neck development proposal

Dan Offner

Plans for a proposed five-story structure at 16 Maple Drive, which would include mixed-use retail and residential space, is still pending the approval of the Village of Great Neck Plaza Board of Trustees. 

Following the board’s approval of a negative declaration, last month, the proposal was referred to the Nassau County Planning Commission for review.  

“There were still two lingering issues in our plans that we needed to work out and we believe that is resolved,” said Chris Prior, the attorney representing developers, Spiegel Associates. “There was an issue that Nelson & Pope raised with respect to drainage and how that will be handled as the project develops.”

According to Prior, the revised submissions were sent to village engineers with Nelson & Pope, which they stated in a memo to the board, address the primary areas of concern regarding the vertical and horizontal alignment of the access ramps and gradings as well as access to the existing municipal below-grade parking. 

Spiegel Associates is a full-service real estate acquisition development, leasing, and management company headquartered in Jericho, according to its website.

The proposed development has been on the table for several years and has gone through more than one architectural firm before Mojo Stumer Associates were hired in 2016 to design a new concept. Since then the plans have been revised to include five floors with a total of 13 separate apartment units. 

“We love this project,” said Plaza Mayor Jean Celender. “I think it’s the right type of project for this village. It’s on a very visible corner. It’s a beautiful building. I think it’s something the peninsula will be proud of, let alone this board, every village.” 

John Powell, assistant superintendent of business with the Great Neck Public Schools, asked the board for an update on the projection of school-age students likely to move into the district as a result of the new development. 

Representatives on behalf of the applicant replied that based on a 2018 Stony Brook study, approximately seven students are projected per 100 units. Based on this projection, the developers anticipate one or no additional students will move into the district. 

Members of the community said they believed the study was insufficient in projecting the anticipated number of students expected to move into the community due to the fact that Great Neck Schools are rated among the top in the nation. 

“As a busy realtor in town, we’re not allowed to say what income is going to rent which property,” said Mindy Greenberg with Douglas Elliman. “You can’t say that it’s going to be somebody who is downsizing. We don’t know who is going to want to live in that apartment building and be able to afford it.”

According to Greenberg, a realtor would think that there would be two children splitting a bedroom in each two-bedroom apartment unit. 

Since there is also insufficient parking space for 13 new units, developers will need to go before the Board of Zoning and Appeals for variances associated with the project.

Trustees voted to adjourn the public hearing to their meeting on March 19, at which time developers hope they will receive final approval from the board and can begin the zoning process. 

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