Real Estate with Anessa Cohen

Real Estate with Anessa

I think that between the Pearsall Project and the Woodmere Club development project, we have all become aware of an increase in development interest that is very destructive to the quality of life of the Five Towns community.

We are fortunate to have strong committees and legal assistance in fighting these developments in our community, and hopefully they will succeed, but what are we doing to prevent new situations? Developers can buy pieces of land or buildings and claim they have a right based on the zoning of those areas to build any monstrosity that will make money for them—and then they walk away with their profits, leaving the neighborhood suffering.

It occurred to me that in addition to trying to stop the overdevelopment and consequent crowding and heavy traffic, we should start a committee whose sole job is to sift through every single parcel in the Five Towns and examine the zoning laws—particularly for parcels that are zoned in a way that can be misused in the future by developers looking to buy properties that were zoned based on local situations 50–100 years ago rather than based on present times.

The developer who purchased the Woodmere Club properties realized that the zoning on the golf course and surrounding area was never rezoned to protect it. As such, he was able to buy it with the old zoning, which still allowed one-family housing all over the golf course and did not even have new restrictions after Sandy, which would have further restricted this kind of mass building.

The same with the Pearsall Project. It fell through the cracks, with old zoning allowing commercial multi-floor buildings as well as one-family and 3-plus-family zoning. That should have been changed years ago to protect the Village from overdevelopment.

A new committee, if formed, would review parcel by parcel and bring such parcels that have fallen through the cracks up to the proper levels of protection needed for the entire Five Towns. This committee is long overdue, and it should be a priority to protect our community from more developer purchases of parcels zoned loosely many years ago in a manner that hurts the community today.

Developers have the money and time to have staff members sift through the various parcels looking for those whose zoning has been forgotten, taking advantage of this to put projects together using the old zoning systems.

This is not to say that developers looking to provide positive projects that are a boost to our community and enhance our quality of life are not welcome—they most certainly are. But those projects should be built on parcels where the zoning has been updated to reflect the current situation and capabilities of our neighborhoods—not on parcels that were zoned nearly 100 years ago and fell through the cracks. Such developers are looking to use the loopholes to build a monstrosity!

So, who’s ready to start this zoning committee review? Any volunteers?

Postscript: In response to my article last week about the Pearsall Project I received an e-mail from the wife of one of the developers insinuating that last week’s article was inappropriate because I didn’t state in it that my daughter and son-in-law live on Summit Avenue and will be affected by the Pearsall Project. I have written publicly about my daughter and her family many times; there is no secret there. My children’s proximity to the Pearsall Project does not change any of the facts or personal opinions in my article. 

Also, mazal tov to my grandson, Yaakov Zerykier, on his high school graduation this week and acceptance to MIT.

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to Read more of Anessa Cohen’s articles at


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