Village of Great Neck proposes site approval changes

The Island Now

Village of Great Neck trustees are taking steps to give the village’s building department more authority for approving or denying development site plans.
The board introduced a proposed law at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting that would give Building Superintendent Robert Barbach the authority to approve or deny applications to construct a one- or two-family residence.
“This particular local law would remove from the Planning Board’s review any application for the construction of a new single- or two-family residence,” Village Attorney Phil Butler said.
Currently, the village’s Planning Board has authority over all site development plans, barring the need for a zoning variance.
Butler said in 2004 the village amended its laws to require its Planning Board to decide on proposed one- or two-family homes.
Before 2004, it was an administrative decision.
“This would pretty much be reverting back to the pre-2004 situation,” Butler said. “That being said, even if this law were adopted, it’s not that there would be no review process for these homes. Rather there would an administrative approval.”
“There would be a submission of the same application to the building department and [Barbach] will review the applications,” he added.
He said the proposed law would not “alleviate” any requirements for zoning variances or architectural review board approval.
If an applicant wants to appeal Barbach’s decision, Butler said, he or she would go to the village’s Board of Zoning Appeals.
Trustees also introduced a second law that would give Barbach the option to refer any applications he receives to the village’s engineer “or any other designated village consultant” if he thinks it needs “special review,” according to the proposed law.
Butler said this proposed law relates to the other law regarding one- or two-family residences as Barbach could go to the village engineer for any advice he may need regarding issues like stormwater drainage and soil composition.
He would need to inform the applicant that the application is being referred to another source, according to the proposal, and if there is a cost associated with the engineer’s examination, the applicant would pay that fee.
Butler said Barbach believes he would be able to handle the number of applications the village receives for one- or two-family home constructions.
“He feels confident that one- and two-family homes are sufficiently manageable that he can handle those applications in a more efficient manner without having to send them before the [planning] board,” he said.
Trustees set public hearings for the board’s Jan. 17 meeting on both proposed laws.
The next Board of Trustees meeting is on Dec. 20.

By Joe Nikic

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