At the Roslyn Board of Trustees meeting on Sept. 17, more than 40 residents and members of the Roslyn School District’s Board of Education attended a public hearing to oppose an application to construct condominiums on 45 Lumber Rd. in Roslyn.
The application, which was proposed by Architect John Patrick Winberry from DH Murray Architecture in Long Island City, calls for a 72,876-square-foot, 12-story, 150-foot high building consisting of 27 two-bedroom condominiums. The building is now vacant, but was previously owned by Verizon and was used to house their maintenance vehicles. Initial plans for the site include two-bedroom units, all featuring a view of the waterfront, a vegetative “green” roof to reduce energy costs, an underground parking lot with 60 parking spaces, a 10-foot wide promenade for more “green space” and an elevator inside the middle of the building, which would maximize the efficiency.
The board of trustees had concerns regarding the building’s proposal to exceed the height, which is allowed by the village code. The village code lists the permitted height for any building at a maximum of 35-feet. Deputy Mayor Marshall Bernstein asked Winberry to compare height range of the proposed building to what is permitted under the code. The current proposal lists the building at the lowest 96-feet and the highest at 150-feet at the top of the bulkhead. The current proposal would exceed the permitted height by three to four times that of which is allowed.
Mayor John Durkin advised Winberry that the Nassau County Planning Commission advised the board to deny the application on the basis that, “the application is way out of compliance with the code.”
“That’s disappointing for sure,” Winberry said.
The board also had concerns regarding the appearance of the condominiums in comparison with the current look of the village, which has many old buildings, which date back to the 1800s.
“This rendition clearly reinforces that this building, I don’t know how else I can say it, it’s just completely out of place,” Trustee Craig Westergard said. “This is an urban scheme in a suburban setting. This is a building you’d expect to see in Long Island City, or Brooklyn or downtown. It’s not a building you would expect to see in the suburbs.”
Trustee Marta Genovese agreed with Westergard’s comment and added that while she finds the building “out of scale with its neighbors,” she thinks the building itself is aesthetically pleasing. She added that should the application process move forward, she would like to see another rendering of the proposed building in comparison to the building located at 17 Lumber Rd., which sits at only 61-feet high.
Sean Mulryan, a traffic engineer from Mulryan Engineering, was also brought in to discuss the possible traffic impact on the village if the application was approved. According to Mulryan, an updated traffic study determined that approximately 15 vehicles per hour would be entering or leaving the property of any given time during the peak traffic hours.
“Essentially the context in which that number needs to be taken is that at one point in time there were numerous Verizon vans coming out of this property throughout the course of the day,” Mulryan said. “In comparison to what was there before, this is a significant reduction.”
Mulryan also listed data taken from a traffic counter in 2018. The total number of cars for the intersection in the morning is approximately 824 vehicles, 1,254 vehicles in the afternoon and in the evening 1,114 vehicles, with a vast majority of those vehicles driving on Northern Boulevard. Coming off Lumber Road in the morning, there were approximately 30 to 40 cars, 120 cars in the afternoon and approximately eight cars in the evening.
The meeting was then opened up for public comment. Many residents had concerns regarding the proposal. Francis Radman, spoke on behalf of the Roslyn School District and had “significant concerns regarding the proposed project and any deviation from the zoning regulation, which could potentially impact the school district and their essential services.” The district requested that the hearing be held open so they could review the information that had been presented at the meeting.
“We want to afford our children the education that they continue to have in the community—this robust education,” Radman said. “Additional owners in the property, additional students, additional traffic affects the school district and that’s our primary concern.”
Michael Kosinsky, an East Hills resident, visits the Village of Roslyn often and did not approve of the application.
“You might as well have your icon on the clock tower changed to this thing,” Kosinsky said, pointing to the rendering of the proposed condominiums. “It’s totally insensitive to the community at large. It doesn’t belong here at all. I respectfully request that this board, upon whatever decision it makes, ultimately crafts that denial in a fashion that prevents anybody from attempting to come back with a building like this. It’s wrong,” Kosinsky added.
A vote was not made regarding the application. The board voted to continue the hearing at a later date. The Roslyn Board of Trustees will hold their next meeting on Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. at the Roslyn Village Hall.