Three applications were approved at Wednesday night’s East Rockaway Zoning Board of Appeals meeting at Village Hall. It was one that was not approved that caused the most controversy.
Property owner Jerry Curcio requested a variance of the village building code in order to convert an office located at 338 Atlantic Avenue into a one bedroom apartment and refashion a detached garage on the same property into a taxi stand.
The taxi stand would serve as office space for Village Car Service. That office would operate 24 hours a day and house dispatch personnel, according to owner David O’Neill.
Four residents spoke out against the proposed construction, citing concern that the stand would cause potential traffic hazards, create unwelcome activity at odd hours of the day, and negatively affect property values.
“I don’t see any good coming from this,” resident Angela Montaruli said. “…Nobody wants to live behind a taxi stand. Who in their right mind would buy property behind a taxi stand? I know I wouldn’t.”
Carole Heinrick echoed Montaruli’s concern, adding a question about the safety of local children.
“My daughter is 10 years old and all here friends are in the area,” Heinrick said. “I don’t know who is going to be driving these cars.”
Curcio responded to these concerns in his rebuttal. He reiterated that the physical cars would be housed at another location and his property would only serve as office space.
“Mr. O’Neill needs an office,” Curcio said. “He’s willing to not even bring the cars there….He has a parking space on Horton Avenue in Lynbrook [for his cabs]. He needs space for the gentlemen that work in the office. The employee would park there, go in the office and, when he’s done with his eight or 10 hour shift, get in his car and go home. I have seven vans on my own that are in the spots and I’ve never gotten one complaint.”
Curcio also said that a business like Village Car Service would create less traffic than a company with a large amount of employees.
The board postponed voting on the issue until their March meeting, saying that there was “too much information to digest right now.”
The board also tabled Richard and Angela Tinyes’ request to construct a one story addition to a house on Clinton Avenue, citing a request for more information on the specific plans.
Approved construction requests included a second story addition, deck, and front porch on Herrick Drive and front porches on Emmet Avenue and Alice Court.
The next Zoning Board meeting will be held on March 28.