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Shopowners Not Banking On Plan 

Mozzarella's Pizza owner Tom Magden and fellow shop owners in this East Northport strip mall on Jericho Turnpike are unhappy with plans to level the building and build a bank in its place.

Strip mall tenants unhappy with plan to level building for 2,550 square-foot bank

Less than a week after it opened the doors on its one-time controversial Huntington village location, TD Bank is making moves toward another location in the township.

But unlike the Huntington village proposal, the neighbors won’t be the source of opposition. This time, it’s the shop owners in the strip mall that will be leveled to make way for the bank.

This most recent proposal is to replace a standalone Elwood strip mall at 1941 Jericho Turnpike near Elwood Road, which currently contains a TCBY yogurt shop, a Chinese restaurant, Off The Hook seafood, a nail salon, a liquor store and a party center.

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on Aug. 15 awarded a special use permit, a previously-awarded depth extension and a sign variance to allow TD Bank to replace the 14,125 square-foot, nine-storefront strip mall with a new 2,550-square-foot bank with three drive-through stalls.

Attorney Keith Brown, who represented TD Bank at the ZBA meeting, said the new bank would be a less-intense use than the current strip mall and create 28 additional parking spaces in the shopping center parking lot.

“You can’t get a more benign use than a bank,” Brown said.

The property owner has spoken to the tenants and informed them that a TD Bank will be built, Brown said.

But some of the shop owners who will be tossed out are unhappy with the plans.

Tony and Ann Lee, who have run Cozy Nail & Spa at 1953 Jericho Turnpike for the last eight years, aren’t looking forward to relocating.

“I don’t want to move – to stay here is better,” Tony Lee said. “You need to take another permit and we need to spend a lot of money and time.”

Tom Magden, owner of Mozzarella’s Pizza for the last seven years at 1957 Jericho Turnpike, alleged the landlord, BLDG Management, has kept tenants in the dark. He said he found out about the ZBA approving TD’s permits not from his landlord, but by watching the hearing on TV.

“Basically, they want us to get out of here. They don’t want to pay us anything. It’s going to be a mess,” he said. “I just want them to relocate me, take me out of here and put me into another building. Nobody’s happy here.”

BLDG representatives could not be reached by press time.

Extensive plantings, including an estimated 320 shrubs, 60 evergreens and nine deciduous trees, would “substantially buffer” the rear of the property which abuts homes, Brown said.

Resident Robert Ferrari, who lives right behind the proposed TD Bank site, said his neighbors agree the bank would be “a major improvement.”

“We totally support this. The only thing I’m concerned about is where the garbage dump is going to be,” Ferrari said.

ZBA Chairman Chris Modelewski said those concerns would be handled by the town’s planning department at a future hearing.

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