Saturday, April 08, 2006

Better Maintenance Needed at Glenwood Landing Subdivision

Concern about the condition of the property at the northwest corner of Glenwood Road and Kissam Lane opposite the Glenwood Landing Post Office has prompted the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association to contact the Nassau County Planning Commission and the Town of Oyster Bay about improved maintenance and proper development of the site.

A seven-unit subdivision is planned for the site. In the interim between subdivision approval and groundbreaking, the property has fallen into disrepair. Existing buildings are open to the weather, the grounds are poorly maintained, and debris frequently collects along the sidewalk and at other locations.

Last year, the Oyster Bay Town Board approved a zoning change from commercial to residential that created two of the seven lots. The civic association has contacted the town on several occasions since the zoning hearing to request that the town require the property to be maintained in a manner consistent with the town code: specifically that existing buildings be secured until such time as they may be demolished and that the grounds be properly maintained.

Unfortunately, the buildings remain open to the weather, as they have been for more than a year, and the build up of yard debris is common.

The Nassau County Planning Commission has approved a site plan for the additional five lots in an existing residential zone, with certain conditions. Among these conditions are that:

• the two lots created by the zoning change be presented to the county planning commission for site plan review;

• the Native American artifacts documented at the site be protected before any demolition or construction occurs;

• seismic studies be conducted because of the scale of the retaining walls that will be required to accommodate the extensive amount of soil that would be removed to create seven building lots.

The civic association has contacted the county planning commission to request a hearing to determine if the Native American artifacts have been properly removed and, therefore, that they no longer impede any application a developer might make to the town for a demolition permit.

The civic association also has requested that the county provide information about when in the development process the seismic studies would be conducted and how the results will be documented and presented to the public.

The civic association has participated in the review of this subdivision for at least six years. Among its proposals was a five-unit residential plan with four single-family structures and one owner-occupied two-family structure; we also urged the involved parties to consider a cluster plan. Shortly before the zoning hearing, stakeholders in the Glenwood Landing Business District requested that the Town Board maintain the commercial status of the property; the civic association was pleased to support this request.

Prior to the zoning change, the civic association commissioned a study of the property that was submitted to the Town of Oyster Bay Landmarks Commission. The study documented continuous human occupancy of the site from the pre-colonial period through the present and noted the importance of the Native American artifacts at the site. The study also noted that the Townsends, a local family with historic significance, were the original owners of the property and that the family retained ownership from the pre-revolutionary period through the early part of the last century. There have been only three owners of the site since the Townsend’s relinquished title. Our historian estimated that at least one structure on the site dates to the1850s, although a site inspection was not permitted by the owner of the property at the time the study was conducted.

The Landmarks Commission concluded that the documentation submitted by the civic association did not indicate that the property merited further investigation and rejected landmark status for the property.

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