The East Williston Planning Board denied a subdivision application from Mineola-based BNL Construction Corp. to build two homes on the dilapidated 8 Sumter Avenue property, where a single vermin-ridden dwelling currently stands. The board voted 4-1 on Tuesday, Aug. 27, with the sole dissenting vote coming from trustee Robert Shannon.
The board had postponed the vote at its July 18 meeting to review the case again so that trustee Roger Cocci could be present for the vote. He was absent last month due to personal reasons.
This puts the ball in the court of the East Williston Village Board. The Nassau County Supreme Court granted the village a summary judgment on Feb. 16, 2012 to either demolish or refurbish the home, at a cost of $60,000 to homeowner John Muzio. BNL would have purchased the property on the condition of subdivision approval. Currently, the property has almost $200,000 in outstanding tax liens. Sumter Avenue homeowner John Muzio could not be reached for comment.
“I’m glad the vote wasn’t unanimous because it shows there was support on both sides and that a lot of thought was put into this,” Deputy Mayor Bonnie Parente said. She was
in Village Hall at the time of the meeting at a Girl Scout event. “I’m glad that we can finally move forward in a positive manner.”
BNL’s Bruno Calleo thought the vote would have been closer.
“There’s nothing we can do at this point,” he said. “They made the decision.”
The two new homes would have ranged between 2,200 and 2,400 sq. ft., with an estimated $950,000 list price. BNL wanted to divide the existing property into two 55 x 100 ft. lots.
His business partner, Luigi, said the value of the land with one home would not equal the value the developer would attain if it could build two homes. He estimated one house
would be worth $1.5 million, and not economically viable.
“Nobody is going to buy a house there for that,” he said. “What we were going to pay for two lots, it’s not worth it to build one house on. So the property owner will probably just have the house sit there.”
Citing an interest in maintaining the village zoning code, planning board Chairman John Lekstutis said it has been a difficult process, “something I don’t know if I have expressed that previously in our meetings.”
“This is a very controversial application and decision…not an easy process, but a process that is important to the village; important to its future,” Lekstutis said. “I will say I’m interested in maintaining a very conservative approach in terms of the process.”
Trustee Shannon, the lone dissenter, agreed that the planning board should move cautiously on development, but still felt new homes would have uplifted the street’s character.
Shannon cited neighbor concerns — most deem the house an eyesore — as spurring his support for subdivision approval.
“People speak with such love for this town…I share that love and I agree with the conservative approach,” Shannon said. “But I see some of the neighbors searching for relief from living next to a house like that.”