Parking could be a problem for Antonio Bove -- owner of and in Malverne -- in his quest to open a third business in the village.
Bove went before village officials last month along with Anthony Dedona, the owner of 243 Hempstead Avenue, the former site of the Cork N' Board restaurant, with in the vacant commercial building. It would be open six days a week (closed Mondays) for lunch and dinner, closing around 9 p.m. during the week and 10:30 p.m. on weekends.
Since the proposal to "re-establish and intensify" the existing restaurant space violates the village's code pertaining to parking space requirements for restaurants, Bove and Dedona would need the board to grant a special exception to move forward with their plan.
"We are looking to renovate the entire restaurant in the public area and upgrade the kitchen ... change the facade and open it up more to the street to bring in the people from the inside and outside, so it's not so fully enclosed," architect Henry Monteverde, representing Bove and Dedona, told Malverne village officials during the July 19 Special Exception Hearing.
Monteverde, also handled the building plans for the restaurant slated to open in the vacant Tri Color building at the other end of Malverne's business district, which will begin construction very soon. But, like that proposal, Monteverde once again was met with concerns regarding a lack of parking in the village.
Under the village code, restaurant requires 42 parking spaces, including two handicapped ones. However, the developers would need this requirement waived as only seven spaces, one of which is reserved for handicapped patrons, are available, according to Monteverde.
Sean Mulryan, a traffic engineer who has worked on parking studies in the village in the past, spoke on behalf of the proposal. "A restaurant this size ... will generate a maximum of 23 vehicles parked on a weekday and 20 vehicles on a weekend," with the heaviest traffic coming around dinnertime, he said, citing guidelines from the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).
Mulryan identified three groups of potential customers for the restaurant: local residents; business owners and shoppers from the downtown area; and commuters who use the Malverne train station.
The Cork N’ Board didn’t serve lunch, but Mulryan and Monteverde predict the new restaurant will draw only a modest lunchtime crowd, mainly residents home during the day, and employees and shoppers from the downtown area.
"This is a very conservative analysis in that it does not take into account the fact that in a nice downtown area, where you can walk very easily back and forth between businesses, many people that may stop here for lunch may already have been in the area," Mulryan added.
The study, conducted on a Friday afternoon and evening in June, included the metered parking in the immediate area, spaces along Church Street and Hempstead Avenue, the lots adjacent to and behind the building in question and permit-only parking. It assumed residents and regular visitors to Malverne may possess these permits.
"We did find that within the area surrounding this site there was sufficient parking to accommodate the demand based on the ITE [data] ... not [taking] into account the fact that people may walk to the restaurant and visit the restaurant not using an additional space," Mulryan concluded.
Members of the village board compared the parking statistics to what they have observed first-hand. Trustee Michael Bailey was concerned that more than half of the spots counted were located in the permit-only lot.
Deputy Mayor Hennessy worried about the restaurant's impact on parking for customers using the nail salon, deli, bakery and liquor store on the same block.
"Right now, you can't find a parking space on that part of the avenue because of the bakery and deli alone," Hennessy said. He also said that traditionally, restaurants in Malverne get 80 percent of their business from outside of the village, which goes against the assumptions made in the study.
Residents living nearby on Hempstead Avenue and Charles Street also do not want cars parking outside their homes. (Right now, there are one-hour and 30-minute parking restrictions on Hempstead Avenue, but nothing on Charles Street, which can be accessed from the parking lot adjacent to the building.)
“I love [Antonio’s] food and I would like nothing more than to see the village thrive,” stated Patricia Juliano, a Charles Street homeowner, but said she is concerned about cars parking on her block late at night.
Mayor Patricia Norris McDonald said the board could not prevent anyone from parking on Charles but told Juliano she could ask her neighbors to sign a petition requesting signage to limit parking there and present it to the traffic commissioner.
Mulryan ultimately asked the village board to consider the alternatives to not approving the proposal.
“There is a vacant building in the village of Malverne that something will eventually go in and if it’s turned into something like a Starbucks, [it] would have a much greater overturn of parking, much greater volume … a more intense usage.”
Since the hearing was held, Nassau County’s Planning Commission has granted Malverne total jurisdiction over the restaurant proposal. Village officials will continue with the special exception hearing on Sept. 20.