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Chabad of Hewlett plans met with resident opposition

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A proposed expansion of the Chabad of Hewlett is being met with resident opposition. However, both sides will have to wait until Sept. 25, as the July 10 Town of Hempstead’s Board of Appeals hearing was adjourned for the residents to gather more information concerning the plans.

The submitted plans calls for the Chabad, at 44 Everit Ave. in Hewlett, is looking to expand onto property at 34 Everit Ave., with a three-floor building and a basement that is 25,140-square-feet in size. The first floor is to include a sanctuary that could hold up to 968 people. A study room and multiple classrooms for up to roughly 300 people would be on the second floor. A basketball court and bleachers with a capacity of 316 is planned for the third floor.

“This is a very exciting time for the Hewlett community,” said Rabbi Nochem Tenenboim, the chabad’s leader wrote in an email. “Many Hewlett residents have come to know the Chabad of Hewlett very well and the community is excited about our plans for a new building to better serve Hewlett.” 

Steve Hymowitz is serving as the leading voice for his fellow Hewlett residents who oppose the expansion. He said that he learned about the proposal late last month. “I drove by a sign that outlined the plans one night in June,” said Hymowitz, who added he has lived in Hewlett for roughly 30 years. “I think that a 33,000-square-foot building seems to be a bit excessive. It’s like trying to fit a rocket ship in your backyard.”

Hymowitz said that he’s not opposed to any changes in the neighborhood as long as they are realistic. “We are not opposed to the chabad or other changes in the neighborhood,” he said. “We just think that this expansion is materialistically out of character for Hewlett. This building would fit great in Manhattan, but not in Hewlett.” 

Board of Appeals chairman David Weiss said in addressing both told both Hymowitz and Dominick Minerva, the lawyer for the chabad, to speak before the next hearing. “I urge that you try to get together with the people who are objecting,” Weiss said to Minerva. “It’s always better to know the thoughts of the opposing side. It can also help alleviate concerns that they have.”

The Board of Appeals holds official public hearings and renders formal written decisions on cases brought by people whose permit applications have been denied by the Department of Buildings, or by people who contest the issuance of a building permit. 

Hymowitz noted that he asked for the adjournment to gather up more information and the chabad’s lawyer, Minerva, agreed to adjourn. “Residents haven’t known about this for too long so we wanted more time to gather information,” Hymowitz said.

Tenenboim added that the chabad plans to have speak with residents up until the hearing. “We have been speaking with many of the neighbors and have received support for our proposal as well as support from the greater Hewlett community,” he said. “We will use the time until the hearing to continue discussions with our neighbors and others to address any concerns they may have.”

To submit comments regarding to the Board of Appeals, go to https://bit.ly/2yozAj and use the comment form. Comments can also be sent in writing to: David P. Weiss, Chairman of the Board of Appeals, 1 Washington Street, Hempstead, N.Y. 11550.