Rockville Centre’s Board of Trustees responded to a history of resident concerns by proposing a local law that would limit the types of businesses allowable along a section of North Long Beach Road, known as the Business A-1 District.
The new law, called RVC 1808, would prohibit nightclub establishments and businesses with drive-throughs in the area between Water Street and Kennedy Avenue, including the property where Signature Premier Properties sits. GB Schenone Nursery and Mormile Florist, next to the real estate office, remain in the residential area in a section that village officials referred to as a buffer zone.
Currently, buildings in the A-1 district cannot exceed 18 feet, because the area abuts residential homes. The legislation is intended to solidify the new district and address concerns over the plot where the nursery, florist and Signature Premier Properties sit.
“The idea is to lock in the character that has been there forever,” Sepe told the Herald. “We recognize this area is only one store deep, and so the goal is to give the businesses and residents of the area peace of mind.” He added in the village’s latest newsletter that there has been “super-heated rhetoric between our neighbors” caused by this issue, but that the proposed law is designed to preserve the residential vibe while protecting exciting and future businesses.
At a Board of Trustees meeting last month, resident Michael Boranian voiced opposition to the possibility of the three businesses at that corner being turned into an establishment with a drive-through, saying that such a plan is “not in the best interest of the residents.”
Rich McQuillan, owner of Signature Premier Properties, told the Herald that over a year ago, residents of the area alleged he and Robert Schenone, the owner of the property that GB Schenone Nursery and Mormile Florist sit on, were planning on selling the grounds to a Wendy’s or Starbucks.
“The main conflict could be summarized in one word,” McQuillan said. “Rumors.” He added that the false claims spread quickly on social media, and at one point, he recalled, residents collected 140 signatures for a petition created to halt him from expanding his parking lot in fear of this.
“In a community like Rockville Centre, people should not be attacking each other,” McQuillan said, encouraging concerned neighbors to contact him with any questions. “It’s a tight community and we must keep it that way.”
Schenone, who serves as chairman of the village’s Board of Appeals, added, “If you want to believe all the false news that was put out regarding Starbucks and Wendy’s drive-throughs and all … then  would effectively kill all those fake news.”
Boranian said that he supports RVC 1808, and McQuillan and Schenone indicated that they did as well. Schenone even recommended it to the board, he said, adding that legislation should go further, because businesses could still apply for a variance if they wished to set up a drive-through or nightclub.
A full version of the proposed law can be found at www.rvcny.us/board.html. A public hearing regarding the law is set to take place on May 7 at Village Hall, at 7 p.m.