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Malverne Board Approves First Phase of New Restaurant Plans

Developers of 77º present to the village's Architectural Review Board Thursday night.

The developers of 77º - a new restaurant slated to open in Malverne's business district - went before the village's Architectural Review Board Thursday night and received approval for some of their plans.

The board, which included Deputy Mayor Joseph Hennessy and Trustees Jack O'Brien, Michael Bailey and Patricia Canzoneri-Callahan, reviewed plans for the exterior of the vacant building located at 356 Hempstead Avenue, including the outside seating area

Presenting on behalf of the property owner, Elcid Melconian, and the restaurant proprietor, John Skijus, architect Henry A. Monteverde showed the board samples of the materials that will be used to reconstruct the building's exterior. This included two different colors of stucco siding, cultured rock for the base, insulated glass for the windows, which will have a slight tint, and black broad-iron railing, which will be used to cordon off the outdoor seating area from the sidewalk traffic.

The existing front wall of the building would be recessed four feet, and then a canopy would extend out a total of eight feet to the railing, reducing the current sidewalk by four feet. Skijus said the outdoor seating area would hold between 20 and 24 diners, but he was later told by the village's attorney that he could only have a maxiumum of 14 seats there because this is what the  when it granted a parking exception and request to change the use of the building from retail to restaurant. (The decision also allows 100 seats inside the restaurant.) 

"Then, that's what I'll abide by," Skijus said. "I'm looking to do a quality job and to expedite the process. I'll do whatever I need to do. You have my cooperation."

The board unanimously approved the plans for the outside of the building, with some exceptions though. They removed the exterior lighting and signage from the application so it could be considered at a later date, after the developers have discussed with the building inspector what is permitted under Malverne's village code.

The village code limits the number and types of signs a business can display, and the brightness of the outside lighting. It also requires exterior lighting to be shut off by 9 p.m., 10 p.m. in some exceptions.

Skijus was planning to have the exterior lights off by 10 p.m. every night. The restaurant would be closed Mondays, open from noon to midnight Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays, when a brunch would be offered. No smoking would be permitted inside the building, as well as in the outdoor dining area.

Those weren't the only issues the board had. Deputy Mayor Hennessy also pointed out that the developers had already started to do work on the property without acquiring the proper permits and were using a contractor that was not approved by the village.

"We can't do things like this," he said, strongly advising Skijus and Melconian to sit down with the village's building inspector as soon as possible to learn what protocols they need to follow. "Look at the final decision from board again and if you have any questions ask the building inspector," he added.

Hennessy also said that the plans the board approved in January called for Melconian to continue operating his photo-developing business, Tri-Color, in the back section of the building, but he has since learned that it has moved out and Melconian wants to find a new tenant for the space. 

Melconian told the board he wanted to say, but couldn't afford to anymore. He said he is looking to lease the space to something that would be comparable to his business, that "wouldn't wreak havoc on the parking."

He doesn't have any plans to alter this space aside from possibly painting the exterior to match the new colors of the front of the building. Canzoneri-Callahan said the space is currently approved for retail use and so long as that doesn't change, Melconian would not need a special exception like the restaurant required.

"We shouldn't be picking and dragging it out of you," Hennesy said. "We can't keep going back and forth, you have to tell us everything." 

He told them that as soon as they address the issues concerning the outside signage and lighting they should come back to the board to schedule another meeting, adding, "It could be as early as next month if you have everything ready."

Check back for more developments regarding this property.

What do you think of the plans? Are you excited that Malverne will be getting a new restaurant? Worried about how it could affect the village? Tell us in the comments section below.

Lori Hunt-Lang March 23, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Excited! Look what happened when the landlord forced a higher rent on the Cork N Board...and it still sits vacant more than a year later! This will be a great place to dine locally and a local option that is large enough for throwing a party as well...we need that. Best of luck to the new owners!
Ivy Mitchell March 23, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Wow, if this could be open in time for our Malverne High 30th reunion end of July!
Ray March 24, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Excited! It's always nice to see empty space filled with a quality business; I wish the developers luck in their new venture. I'm sure that with mutual cooperation all problems will be worked-out and agreed-upon.....and we'l soon have a thriving restaurant!
Maria March 25, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Come on people wake up. Another restaurant!!!!! right near one two doors away and the diner!!!! if we patronized them then the cork and board would still be in business. Why such late hours? If they are sneaking around the board every chance they get, what future illegal things will they try and get away with!!!! We better keep our eyes open....
Peter Robideau March 26, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I'm thrilled to see another restaurant in our village - sure beats a 99 cent store! It's nice to have a choice of where to eat out and still support local businesses.

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