, the Glen Cove Planning Board approved the amid cheers and jeers at .
The project calls for a $60 million investment into the Village Square, in the heart of downtown Glen Cove, and includes 142 multifamily residential apartments and 27,000 square feet of retail space across four five-story buildings.
Following a final public hearing and a brief executive session, board chairman Thomas Scott called a vote on the application. After three votes in approval, and three votes dissenting, Scott broke the gridlock in approval of the piazza.
"This applicant has the ability to make this project work," said board member Michael Bellissimo. "One element of the project also is that there is a set-aside – based on the area's median income – that will provide housing for young people who may not otherwise be able to afford housing in Glen Cove."
Scott called on the board to reserve the vote at a July 19 meeting, citing "roadblocks to public interest" and the project's "credibility as a piazza," in the event that the developer fails to obtain remaining outparcels.
Applicant Michael Puntillo of JOBCO says he remains optimistic and will continue to pursue negotiations with outparcel holders.
"This project will be a victory for the city," said Puntillo. "It will be a victory for job creation, the tax base, and for providing housing young people need, and especially for the businesses downtown."
Puntillo’s attorney, Wayne Edward said that while he has made progress with Dr. Onorato of , negotiations with Bob Sztorc of have been less successful.
"Mr. Sztorc says he has no desire of exchanging or selling his building to us," Edwards said. "At this point in time, we plan to build around him."
Board member Cindy Rogers said she hopes the mayor and city council will work with the developer to resolve the issue of outparcels, possibly through eminent domain.
"The developer has said he's made fair market offers to the property owners," said Rogers. “If it's truly a fair market offer, then perhaps the developer would be willing to put the dollar amount of the fair market value in escrow so if the city acquired the property through eminent domain, they'd have the money to pay for it."
Board member Robert Jakobsze, who joined Steven Gronda and Steven Ruggiero in the dissenting minority, said that while the redevelopment of the downtown is of monumental importance, he felt planning for the piazza was incomplete.
"It's not a complete plan, it's not a good plan for the City of Glen Cove," said Jakobsze. "It could be a good plan; but it's far from what can really make this downtown vibrant for the next 30 years."
Several residents voiced concerns over the project.
"Can we trust Michael Puntillo?" asked resident Robert Lempenski. "In the past, the city has entrusted him with more responsibility for the development of Glen Cove's downtown than any other individual. From 1971 through 1981, each administration spent millions of dollars on his behalf to bring department stores to the downtown. Unfortunately, Mr. Puntillo never fulfilled his promises. The buying and demolishing of properties, and the construction of the parking garages cost the city millions of dollars, but what did we get? What little he bought was shotty and unused."