Belmore Building? Residents remain opposed to apartment proposals | Community Newspapers Herald

Following a meeting last month regarding a proposed apartment building on Belmore Avenue in Belmore, members of the community met again May 3 at the Belmore Memorial Library, to discuss another proposal for apartments, on Belmore Road in North Belmore, which would replace the previous one. Bethel Temple Synagogue.

The synagogue closed last year when it merged with the East Meadow Jewish Center, and is currently uninhabited.

Unlike the Bedford Avenue apartments, which required a number of variations from the Town of Hempstead Board of Appeal, the Bellmore Road apartments would be considered a rezoning issue, which must be given permission by the Town Council itself. The proposal was first discussed at a meeting on February 15, but the board voted to bring up its resolution.

Leyton Properties, the developer proposing the North Bellmore Apartments, arranged the meeting at the library. The Manhattan-based company has completed other projects on Long Island, but none have been in the vicinity. The proposed structure will consist of 28 housing units.

Residents raised several concerns in February with the town, including traffic congestion, because Belmore Road has only two lanes. Lytton, who worked with R&M Engineering to create traffic forecasts, said the apartments would produce less traffic than the synagogue. When the synagogue was open, the synagogue held services only twice a week, but it was providing daycare services five times a week — resulting in an estimated four times more traffic than an apartment building, according to an engineering firm.

Marge Kongello, president of the Central Homeowners Association of Belmore, spoke with the Herald last Friday. Because the proposal includes an apartment complex, the traffic can be constant, Congelo said, and can build up at any time during the day. “There are people coming and going in an apartment building,” she added.

At a city council meeting in February, residents were also concerned about overcrowding at North Bellmore schools, which, according to Superintendent Dr. Marie Testa, operates. The North Bellmore School District, an elementary school district in Bellmore-Merrick, serves students who live in North Bellmore and a small part of North Merrick. The district recently had to redraw its boundaries in order to accommodate an increasing number of students in the district.

Testa said she was concerned that the proposals had been created, without input from the school district.

Addressing that concern last week, Lytton said it has changed its plans to make North Belmore a community 55 or older, to reduce the number of young children living there.

Congello said the community will be more open to condominiums than apartments. “Rents don’t contribute to neighborhoods, rather [to] Developers,” she said. “Why do we need more rentals? Why do we need four-story buildings? Why do parents and I pay our taxes? “

Conjelo added that apartment buildings are starting to pop up not only in Belmore, but throughout the suburbs. “It’s not just about the Belmore case – it’s about the other towns in Hempstead,” she noted. “[Apartments] It will have a devastating effect on the landscape. It’s more about saving our suburbs then anything else. Many people died against this.”

A one-bedroom apartment in the proposed building on Bedford Street in Belmore will rent for approximately $2,500 per month. The developers argued that the buildings would beautify the area, replacing structures that had fallen into disrepair.

In an effort to raise awareness of the proposals, Congello organized a Save Our Suburbs rally, on May 14, at 3 p.m., in front of the closed Citi Bank at 2160 Bedford Ave. In Bellmore – the proposed site for one of the newer apartment buildings.

“I just don’t understand the reason for the rents all of a sudden,” said Kongello. “If I can get Save Our Suburbs to gain momentum, maybe I will slow this down. March for the politicians, so they can hear the people’s voices.”

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