The Supreme Court has upheld a decision of the Mineola Village Board to deny the expansion of a day care facility on Herricks Road.
Village attorney John Spellman announced the decision during the regular meeting of the village board on March 6 at the village hall.
Arthur Smyles, owner of the Learn & Play child care facility at 80 Herricks Road, originally came before the village board on Feb. 9, 2011 requesting a special use permit to expand into the neighboring dollar store location. Smyles owns both of the businesses, though the dollar store has since been vacant.
The board heard additional testimony in May 2012, continuing to raise its concerns about safety in the facility as well as parking and vehicular traffic patterns. In July 2012 the village board had denied the application based on several of those concerns about safety and quality of life issues.
The board had cited a single entrance/exit onto Herricks Road and the behavior of motorists during pickup and drop off times. It was also stated by the board that emergency vehicles have difficulty accessing the location and that there was an inadequate amount of parking for both employees and customers.
The building totals 21,084 sq. ft. with 14,236 being occupied by the day care facility and 6,848 by the dollar store and sits on 0.9 acres of land abutting the Long Island Rail Road trestle.
According to court documents, Smyles’ traffic experts predicted a 69 percent increase in traffic and parking if the expansion were to take place and have a maximum license for 327 children, a 58 percent increase over the current license for 207 children.
In the board’s estimation it would have required 86 parking paces as opposed to the current 39 and Smyles did not propose any additional parking and there exists a lack of parking in the vicinity.
The court also noted that while the dollar store was in business, during a traffic count during peak times for the day care, one-third of all drivers exiting from the facility and one-half of drivers during morning hours disobeyed a “no left turn” sign when exiting the facility, turning southbound onto Herricks Road.
Attorneys from Uniondale-based Farrell Fritz representing Smyles unsuccessfully argued in front of Judge Joel Asarch that the decision was arbitrary and capricious on the part of the village board, stating that “the board found that the proposed increase in the number of children and teachers at the property would exacerbate a dangerous traffic condition.”