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UPDATE: Historical Site May Halt Senior Housing Development

Developer looks to build 50 units at the former site of the Long Island Motor Parkway.

Update: May 5, 7:48 p.m.

According to a town spokesman, the attorney representing Crocus Lane Estates has indicated that they will request an adjournment of the May 8 meeting with the Hempstead Town Board. However, the meeting is still on the town board calendar and a formal request for adjournment would have to be made to the town board.

A company is looking to build a 50-unit senior housing development on the empty parcel of land located west of Crocus Lane in Levittown, but one thing might be standing in its way: the Long Island Motor Parkway.

The parkway closed in 1938, but residents and the Levittown Property Owners Association (LPOA) would like the the remnants preserved, rather than built on.

"I know some people in this audience want [the development], but that land was not meant to be disturbed the way it is now," Vice President Andy Booth said at the latest LPOA meeting. "That's a [historical] site."

According to NYCRoads.com, the parkway, also know as the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, was "a private toll road that eventually stretched for 45 miles from Queens to Lake Ronkonkoma, one of the first concrete roads in the nation, and the first highway to use bridges and overpasses to eliminate intersections."

William Cohn, the attorney representing Crocus Lane Estates, LLC., the company looking to build the housing development, said that he has met with both the hierarchy of the LPOA and with the immediate budding neighbors several times over the last year. He said that his client has taken the LPOA's concerns into account.

"We have designed the buildings to match up with the character of the area," Cohn said. "The buildings have a low profile. We have made a landscaping
plan that will also be beneficial and fencing as well to separate the proposed homes from the adjoining properties."

The housing units are designed for owners ages 55 and older, however, residents ages 19 or older can live on the property, as along as the owner exceeds the required age.

Cohn also said that in an effort to keep the area local, the units will first be offered to residents of the Levittown Planned Residence District (LPRD) and then to parents of residents of the LPRD.

Howard Kroplick, president of the Long Island Motor Parkway Preservation Society, said at the LPOA meeting that he would help deter the development if that was what residents wanted.

"There is a historical perspective that you can do to delay [the development]," Kroplick said. "It worked about 20 years ago — they used the Motor Parkway as the reason not to develop here. You can make a strong case that you should preserve a section of this. It's part of American history, it's part of racing history, it's part of Long Island's history."

Kroplick also suggested using his contacts and going to Nassau County to help turn the property into a "beautiful park."

However, Cohn's objection is that the parkway is simply no longer in use.

"That parkway hasn't existed for decades," Cohn said. "... The Vanderbilts and people of that ilk would use it as some form of raceway, but it doesn't exist today."

The parcel of land has been the subject of a number of proposals since 1984. According to a 2009 story in the Levittown Tribune, during a LPOA meeting:

President [Jim] Morrow also read a letter from attorney William Cohn, representing the Josato Company (formerly Terra Homes), asking the LPOA to arrange a special meeting at the Levittown Library with residents adjacent to the section of the Old Vanderbilt Motor Parkway near Crocus Lane to discuss the company's new plans for building four houses on the property. All require variances for insufficient lot width. The company has unsuccessfully submitted various plans since 1984. The LPOA voted unanimously against this latest proposal at its Oct. 14, 2008 meeting. In this instance, as in the past, the variances again conflict with the standards set forth in Levittown's unique zoning law, the "LPRD."

The Hempstead Town Board will hold at hearing about the proposed Crocus Lane project at its meeting on May 8.

Cecelia Sommers June 14, 2012 at 01:59 PM
ck out new levittown property owners association on facebook
Cecelia Sommers June 14, 2012 at 02:00 PM
ck out new levittown property owners association on facebook
An tUasal Airgead June 14, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Pictues of proposed development at Howard's page. How do they plan to cram that into a 135 ft wide parcel? http://www.vanderbiltcupraces.com/blog/article/developer_makes_his_case_for_a_multiple-family_housing_complex_on_the_histo
Cecelia Sommers June 14, 2012 at 02:30 PM
ck out new levittown property owners association on facebook
Henry August 11, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Crocus Lane Estates, LLC and Josato, LLC rezoning application hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 10:30am, Town Hall, One Washington Street, Hempstead, NY. Re: Private property owner application for rezoning from current residential to business seeks to squeeze 52 incongruous condo units in a narrow plot that would barely fit 12 Levittown single-family detached homes. The green space is bordered on both sides by resident backyards. We must challenge Josato, LLC’s pursuit of “Special District” rezoning. Unlike Josato, we don’t have lawyers on retainer to fight for us. But we do have local government representatives, working on our behalf to who we must communicate our opposition to this rezoning request. Despite the very difficult meeting date (following a holiday), I hope you and your neighbors, will join me at this critical meeting. If it is impossible for you to attend, you can still express your opposition by writing your Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Kate Murray and Councilman, Gary Hudes at the Town Hall address above. For your correspondence to be recorded, it must include your name (print & sign), full address and phone number. As a good neighbor, the builder must build within the constraints of the current Levittown Planned District (LRPD) single family zoning. Working together, we can stop this rezoning, preserving the character and suburban quality of life we currently enjoy and keep Levittown the great place in which to live, work and raise a family.

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