by Larry Austin
Residents opposed to the rezoning of a parcel of the Light House Pointe housing development walked out of a meeting with developers after 20 minutes Tuesday, but stayed long enough to criticize the developers for scheduling the meeting on short notice.
Developers seeking a rezoning of property at Whitehaven and East River roads from R-2 to R-3 provided an update on changes made in the project since the last meeting with neighbors on Feb. 27. The developers revised the plan based on resident input from that meeting, said Sean Hopkins of the law firm of Hopkins and Sorgi, representing the applicants, Rane Property Management. Little new feedback was forthcoming Tuesday at Grand Island Memorial Library, however.
Members of a group called Stop GI Zoning Change attended the meeting, with spokesman Joe LaLonde criticizing Rane Property Management, for the late notice given to neighboring residents about the meeting. LaLonde blasted the developers for an "extremely unprofessional process that brought us here tonight from a timeline standpoint." He said the homeowners were notified by mail only a day earlier, with a mailing that in "no way was going to arrive at our homes until yesterday."
LaLonde said the residents are against the rezoning but are open to speaking with any developer that would like to develop the land "that fits with the current Grand Island master plan that our elected officials spent a lot of time creating and we would like them to continue to enforce. We only ask that any potential developers give us the professional courtesy in the future of more than one day's notice for such a meeting"
Nicholas Cutaia of Rane Property Management apologized to the residents for the late invitations. "Truthfully, we did drop the ball slightly on getting them out in time. We do apologize for that, but we were under the gun to make changes" to the plans, Cutaia said.
Rane Property Management seeks to rezone part of the property from R-2 to R-3 to allow apartments. Frank Grebenc owns the property.
"If we are not able to get the approvals that we are seeking, the Cutaia's will walk away from this transaction and it will remain owned by Mr. Grebenc," Hopkins said.
Hopkins said the town's comprehensive plan designates the site as one of three in the town "as being appropriate for higher density hamlets."