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East Rockaway subdivision proposal draws ire

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An application to divide a single-house lot into a lot for four houses has created controversy in East Rockaway.

George Tserpes, an almost 30-year-resident of East Rockaway, submitted an application to the Planning Board to keep his house at 271 Ocean Ave. and build three more houses on the one-acre land that he would sell to prospective homeowners. He would also build a private driveway for the four houses.

According to Dominick Minerva, the attorney representing Tserpes in his application, Tserpes wanted to subdivide his property because he wanted to reduce his $25,000 property tax. Minerva added that even if the Planning Board did approve the application, the three lots would “still greatly exceed” the village’s minimum lot size requirement.

Planning Board members hosted a public hearing on the application on Dec. 11, but Ellen Jaret wrote on a community Facebook page that letters about the public hearing were not mailed out, and that, as a result, not all of the neighbors within 200 feet were aware or notified to attend the meeting.

As a result, Karen DeCunzo posted a picture of a letter she received on Jan. 11. The letter, signed by “concerned residents,” asked residents to send letters to Planning Board members urging them to reject the application. It said that the project would increase traffic on Ocean Avenue, and that it would affect neighbors’ privacy and quality of life.

“This [is] pure lunacy,” Andrea Mansfield commented on the photo. “Traffic on Ocean will get much worse and it opens a wide door for all sorts of other developments. [It] must be turned down by the board.”

Any letters to the Planning Board had to have been sent by Jan. 15, after the Herald went to press. “The board will review everything and render a decision,” said John Ryan, the attorney for the Planning Board.

The application comes after the East Rockaway board of trustees voted to end the village’s moratorium on sub-division in April. The ban was originally instated to provide village officials with enough time to determine the affects of tearing down older houses to create smaller properties.