By Jennifer Corr
Counselor Judy Lynn Simoncic of Forchelli Deegan Terrana appeared at the Oyster Bay Town Board meeting on March 7 on behalf of multiple clients who operate their businesses from the property 170 and 180 Michael Drive in Syosset. An architect and traffic engineer were also present with Simoncic.
“There are six special use permits that are before the board today,” Simoncic said. “Many of the uses that we are seeking to legalize have been in existence for eight years. The premise is two separate parcels… The property is located in the town’s light industrial zoning district. These properties were initially developed in the early 1960s.”
The first three special use permits relate to 170 Michael Drive and concern the Cultural Arts Playhouse, Title Boxing Club Syosset and Long Island Swim Academy.
The last three special use permits relate to 180 Michael Drive and concern Puzzle Break Long Island (escape room), John Ondrush Golf & Fitness Academy and Peak 180 (fitness center).
The owner of these properties purchased the lots in 2006, and Simoncic explained that they were guided by an architect who has since passed away. The owner was unaware that special permits were needed for some of the businesses.
After the architect passed away in 2017, John Moccio , an architect who now represents the businesses, advised that the businesses should submit an application to clean up the properties. And it was then they learned that special use permits were required.
With respect to parking, the buildings do share 316 parking spaces throughout the site.
“In total… we do require 602 spaces,” Simoncic said. “We will be requesting a variance from the zoning board for those.”
The uses of the establishments complement each other really well, Simoncic said. There’s also plans to repaint the parking stripes to make it easier for patrons. Wayne Muller of R&M Engineering prepared a detailed parking and traffic analysis, and found that on a Saturday at 11 a.m. there was a maximum of 154 cars parked at both sites, and on a weekday at 5:30 p.m. there was a maximum of 143 cars parked.
“Their peak activity does not all occur at the same time,” Muller said. “For instance the playhouse, their activity is more later in the evening with people going to performances and studio workshops, and the other uses, like the swim facility, their activity occurs earlier in the day.”
Town Councilwoman Vicki Walsh, as someone who spends a lot of time there, said she’s observed that the businesses do cohesively share parking with one another.
“I have one [child] that goes for arts and the other goes to the gym right across the street, then they eat dinner at the Wendy’s down the block, so for me, it’s a place for the kids to go and I hope we can continue to do that the right way,” Walsh said. “Thank you for being proactive.”
The Town Board voted that for each hearing on each special permit that the public portion of the hearing is closed, but the comment period will be open for 30 days. The decision will be reserved.