Whether it was due to visitors, environmental, parking or different considerations, many neighborhood members mentioned they breathed a sigh of reduction when the Hempstead Town Board voted on March 9 in opposition to a proposed three-story, 119-room assisted-living facility on the site of the Oceanside Jewish Center.
“We have been very joyful,” mentioned Joyce Lipton, who lives close to the place the proposed facility would have been constructed. “The neighbors have been very joyful.”
Charles Weinraub, an actual property investor, deliberate to buy 24,000 sq. ft of the 40,000-square-foot property from the OJC, which has struggled with declining membership for years and had sought to ease the burden with the sale. Weinraub deliberate to construct the facility on the property, however after dozens of residents opposed it, the board denied the mission, 7-0.
“I used to be thrilled and on the similar time slightly unhappy that OJC could not be capable to stay in the neighborhood,” Lipton mentioned. “But there are different choices.”
Marc Weissman, an lawyer who lives in Oceanside and advocated in opposition to the sale, mentioned residents have been open to the OJC growing the land, however would have most popular one-family properties to be constructed there. He mentioned the realm was already usually snarled with visitors with out such a facility, and famous that the properties inside 25 ft of the deliberate facility would have had a three-story constructing of their backyards.
After the vote, Weissman expressed satisfaction. “I assumed that the residents of Oceanside have been heard,” he mentioned.
Many residents mentioned they have been annoyed that OJC directors didn’t talk their plans for the sale with the encompassing neighborhood. Calls to the OJC requesting remark weren’t returned at press time.
Weinraub additionally didn’t return calls or emails looking for remark concerning the outcomes of the vote and whether or not he deliberate to attraction or work out a deal for one other mission.
The March 9 listening to was open to in-person and digital attendees as builders sought to rezone the southern half of the Brower Avenue property. It marked the second listening to after a number of residents spoke for or in opposition to the mission in February.
At a Feb. 23 assembly, William Bonesso, an lawyer who represents Weinraub and Madalay Holdings, spoke in favor of the mission, citing an absence of assisted living services within the space.
“Long Island is an growing older neighborhood,” he mentioned. “We are in want of senior housing and assisted living services.”
Bonesso didn’t return a request for remark after the vote.
Had the event been authorised, the northern half of the property would have remained the OJC, a middle for spiritual companies with a nursery faculty, however its catering corridor would have been misplaced as a part of the conversion. The heart sought to divide the property amid declining membership, which solely worsened in gentle of the coronavirus pandemic.
In September 2019, Weinraub introduced that he sought to develop one in every of 5 tasks: a 120-unit house constructing, a 120-unit senior housing complicated, an assisted living facility, storage models or a medical workplace, earlier than selecting the assisted living mission. More than 100 Oceanside residents gathered in October 2019 to debate their opposition to the mission, and their sentiment intensified as much as the city vote.
In a joint assertion, Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito defined that they denied the plan due to resident outcry.
“When residents converse up about points impacting the suburban character of their neighborhoods, we take their opinions severely,” they mentioned. “. . . These residents raised an array of legitimate objections, together with the potential for a major enhance in visitors and congestion inside this residential neighborhood that’s inside shut proximity to colleges. Neighbors additionally expressed worries concerning the growth’s lack of ample parking, in addition to blocked sight traces that impede on the character of this beloved neighborhood.”
After the vote, Dave Dedonna, who lives lower than a mile from the OJC, mentioned he was happy. “I used to be thrilled, completely thrilled,” he mentioned. “It was satisfying as a result of normally it doesn’t go that method, from what I see, so it was good.”
A resident named Brett, who requested to not give his final title due to his job in federal legislation enforcement, lives about 25 ft away from the OJC, on Sylvan Court, and mentioned he and plenty of residents have been “shocked” after they noticed the scale and scope of the mission that builders sought to construct.
When the 7-0 vote was forged, he mentioned, he was joyful. “When you heard that, as a resident, that was nice, and I believe everyone had a smile on their face,” he mentioned. “As a neighborhood, we don’t thoughts them constructing one thing right here. Build non-public homes, construct one thing good. Not one thing that’s going to have an effect on the neighborhood in a unfavorable method.”
Marty Salzberg echoed lots of the different residents’ sentiments, including that she hoped the OJC may discover one other solution to survive.
“I used to be shocked,” she mentioned of the vote. “I used to be surprised. My jaw dropped. We have been very stunned, and it’s the type of factor the place in the event that they got here in with a right-sized mission, the neighborhood would help it.”