Residents Voice Concern Over House Expansion

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The Village of Floral Park board of trustees held a public hearing last week to address Jericho resident Robert Yeganeh’s application to expand a two-family home that is located at 86 Iris Ave. that was damaged in a fire two years ago. Yeganeh’s application was for a special use permit that is required to be heard before the board because it does not meet with the required lot width and area in the village’s R2 district.

“My client purchased a house that had a fire and bought it last year in March,” said New Hyde Park architect Kevin Garvin. “It’s been sitting there and we’re looking to renovate the home. The home had major damage to its interior because of a fire that started in the basement.”

Along with Yeganeh, Garvin realized that the home needs an extensive renovation inside and out.

“What we’re trying to do is make the house better than it is currently today,” said Garvin. “We’re trying to improve the layout. It is an existing two-family house and will remain a two-family house. It is in the zone R2, which allows two-family homes. What we’re proposing to do is do three expansions on the property.”

At the home’s rear, Garvin is looking to do a two-story addition that goes out five and a half feet from the back of the house and extend 14-feet by 10 along the rear. The idea behind this expansion is to increase the area of an upstairs bedroom and kitchen.

“It’s not very large of an addition,” explained Garvin. “We have room…we could probably make it larger if we wanted to. We’re just trying to make it enough where the rooms inside the house are more livable. In the front of the house, we’re looking to improve an expansion of the living room into the front porch area. This expansion will allow for the residence to be more open and allow for a separate entrance rather than sharing an entry with the resident of the second floor.”

Although, Garvin and Yeganeh have to go before the village’s Architectural Review Board to get the work approved, Garvin said he’s willing to work with the village board to make sure that the aesthetics are something the village would like.

When it was time for the village board to ask questions, Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi asked if Yeganeh plans to rent the home.

“The plan now is for us to move in there,” responded Yeganeh. “I’m married with one child. My brother-in-law just got engaged and they will live upstairs.”

Trustee Lynn Pombonyo asked Garvin if he expects to move closer to the homes that are on the sides of his planned renovation. Garvin said no.

When it came time for public comment, many residents who live on Iris Avenue came out to voice their opposition to the expansion, who many agreed that the current home’s state is an eyesore to look at.

“I live on the other side of this house,” said neighbor Mary Cawley. “Iris Avenue is a very narrow street and there’s parking on one side of it. This house is a two family. As we know already, I’m concerned about the driveway being packed with cars and shuffling cars to park. It’s very difficult for us who are living as a one-family home.”

Cawley said that the expansion makes her feel like she’s living in Queens.

“I’m happy that they bought it and try to improve it after the fire, but I’m just not happy about an expansion,” she said. “[Does] a bigger two family mean more people are going to live there? That’s just my concern.”

“The idea of Queens is a big problem for us,” said resident Gregory Elder. “I have a three year old. Cars race down that block and it’s a major hub for everyone who does their shopping on Tulip Avenue. It is a very tight block even with the parking. It’s a cute block. Houses are nice and lined up. I go out in my yard and we’re on top of each other already…I want to see trees in Floral Park. I don’t want to take anything away from that.”

The issue of how the house has been maintained over the year had some residents concerned about the property’s intent.

“The house has been empty for two years,” said resident Caulden Cannizzaro. “I live across the street and within the year [Yeganeh has bought it], the lawn hasn’t been maintained. There’s broken bottles and garbage all over the front of it. I know you don’t live there, but you do own it. So I was wondering if there is something that can be done to maintain it as much as possible.”

“We would ask the owner to do that, but we also have our own property maintenance laws that we can enforce,” responded Longobardi.

Floral Park resident Francis O’Connor told the new owner that he has gotten off on the wrong foot with his new neighbors. (Photos by Anthony Murray)

Resident Francis O’Connor said that Yeganeh has gotten off on the wrong foot with his new neighbors.

“By the virtue of the fact that you didn’t mow the lawn; you didn’t maintain that,” said O’Connor. “There’s leaves all over your property and there is some litter there also. That’s no way to start a relationship with your new neighbors. I hope that in the future, you’re going to have more respect for your neighbors. I’m suspect now. I’m not sure what you’re going to do there. I hope it’s the right thing.”

The village board closed the public hearing to reserve their decision for a later time.

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