Since 1991, there has been a provision that Kimco Realty, owners of the Manhasset Center on Northern Boulevard, cannot build an egress and ingress pathway connected to Brinkeroff Lane in Terrace Manor. On Dec. 5, 2018, Kimco was given a work stoppage order by the Town of North Hempstead for tree removal without permit and alterations without permit, specifically a concrete pad in rear of King Kullen and a curb cut apron installed without a permit.
Kimco was doing repairs for the four-story underground parking garage in the Manhasset Center, and adding to or improving the drainage system, which they had a building permit for. But not part of the permit was installing a driveway curb cut on Brinkerhoff Lane, across from St. Mary’s and on the side of King Kullen.
“The problem first arose when the residency in Terrace Manor first noticed that [Kimco] opened up an access point from the shopping center onto Brinkerhoff Lane and had put in a curb cut that looked like it was getting ready to prepare some sort type of a driveway,” said Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Association President Richard Bentley.
Bentley then notified the town supervisor’s office, code enforcement and the building department of a potential code violation. The building department responded to Bentley, saying they can only enforce what the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) gives them. Resident Catherine Word and the Terrace Manor Civic Association then began to FOIL documents from the Town of North Hempstead in regards to Kimco.
“Supervisor Bosworth understood right away that there was a problem that needed to be addressed,” Bentley said. “Even though the building department, which had a brand-new commissioner and was not in office at the time, did not know that there was this caveat to it. Once he was made aware of it, that’s when the town stepped up their ability to enforce and get Kimco to agree to the restoration.”
The caveat Bentley refers to is the provision that no ingress or egress connected to Brinkerhoff Lane going back to the 90s. The community has been wary of Kimco’s potential desire to create such a pathway since the provision was made.
“That’s exactly what we feared and even if it was not a vehicular entrance, the residents were just as fearful as a pedestrian entrance,” Bentley said. “All the shoppers and employees that didn’t want to go all the way around to Shelter Rock Road could find parking right in the Terrace Manor community and walk through the walkway and that’s exactly what we were trying to prevent when the shopping center was originally conceived.”
According to the FOIL documents, Morgan Muss, a property manager for Kimco, sent an email on Dec. 12, 2018 to Town of North Hempstead Building Department Inspector Domenick Russo in response to the work stoppage order, stating, “Our engineer is working on a restoration plan for the curb cut to brought back to it its preconstruction condition. The original condition was a pedestrian drop cub with a six-inch curb, grass strip and sidewalk. This work was completed in error, as it was meant to be a temporary entrance to allow construction trucks into the rear.”
An email from Thomas Galligan, permitting manager for Bohler Engineering working with Kimco, on Dec. 18, 2018 to Russo, said “We are currently coordinating to obtain a town highway permit to put the curb cut on Brinkerhoff Lane back to its original form as the contractor mistook the construction entrance for permanent work.”
Kimco restored the sidewalk, made a pedestrian curb cut from the driveway curb cut, decreased the concrete pad area and put up a fence to stop pedestrian traffic through the area after being granted a permit to do such work on May 10. Kimco was reached for comment, but could not immediately respond.
“The access was meant to be temporary while the garage was being renovated,” Town of North Hempstead Spokesperson Carole Trottere said. “The contractor either couldn’t or didn’t want to cross over the rest of the parking lot, so the fence was taken down for the duration of construction and supposedly would have been replaced. It would require more than just a driveway apron on Brinkerhoff Lane to provide access to the shopping center from that street, as there is a significant change in grade between Brinkerhoff and the parking lot.”
Residents of Terrace Manor have also brought up the issue of a car hauler that comes in the early mornings at least once a week to drop off Audi cars at the parking garage. The car hauler parks in the southwest corner of the surface parking lot of the Manhasset Center that borders Brinkerhoff Lane. Residents say the noise and vibrations that emanate from the car hauler brings a disturbance in the wee hours of the morning.
Since 2008, Kimco has had an agreement with Biener Audi in Great Neck to store their cars in the two lower tiers of the sparsely used parking garage. The previously agreed use of the parking garage was for all businesses located at the site to designate the underground garage as mandatory employee parking. After eight years, Kimco filed a permit to allow 97 parking spots in the garage of the lower two levels be used for the Audi vehicles.
The Town of North Hempstead denied that permit on May 26, 2015. Kimco appealed the decision to the BZA and won a five-year permit on Sept 25, 2015. In the minutes of that appeal decision, Bruce Migatz, attorney for Kimco, states “They are driven there one car at a time and driven back to Audi.” It also states in the appeal application to the BZA that “The proposed use will not be of such nature as to be objectionable to nearby residential dwelling by reason of noise, lights, vibration, or others factor of impact.”
Before the BZA’s decision, the car hauler was not used, however after the permit was granted, the car hauler started being used to transfer the vehicles, according to residents of Terrace Manor.
Biener Audi could not be reached for comment.
“It’s an underutilized parking lot,” Bentley said. “Are we going to say ‘no, you cannot find a way to make revenue on it.’ Not necessarily. But as soon as it effects the quality of life of the surrounding community, then yes, we’re going to jump all over it.”