Cutchogue neighborhood upset over window cleaners’ proposal

11/16/2011 10:07 AM |

TIM KELLY PHOTO | The owners of Crystal Clear Window Cleaning have purchased this property on New Suffolk Road in Cutchogue for use as a hub for their North Fork operations.

Residents who live on New Suffolk Road in Cutchogue are up in arms this week over a window cleaning company that wants to move its corporate office into the neighborhood.

Lisa and David Cifarelli own Crystal Clear Window Cleaning, and they recently purchased two properties on the street, one with a large garage and house and another with just a house.

Both properties are zoned for limited business, but neighbors are concerned that intensifying the use of the property with the garage will hurt their quality of life.

“I’m astonished that something like this is getting approved in a residential area. There is no commercial business on this street, period,” said Elizabeth McGrath, who owns property neighboring and behind the Cifarellis’ property.

Ms. McGrath said that if both lots are developed with commercial businesses, there could be as many as 24 parking spaces there.

Ms. Cifarelli, who said at a Planning Board hearing Monday that the garage would serve as office space, say they have no intention of conducting business on the lot with just the house.

Ms. McGrath also asked Planning Board members to take into account that Crystal Clear is a national company with offices on the South Fork and in Florida and California.

Ms. Cifarelli said, however, that the company has sold its California division, and even if it still had that office, the window cleaning vans used in California would obviously not be parked in Cutchogue. She said that, during the winter, the company has five vans on the North Fork, and in the summer three more vans are scheduled to be brought up from their Florida location. She said all vans that work on the South Fork are kept in a separate depot there.

Ms. Cifarelli said the property in Cutchogue is being purchased in an effort to move the company’s office from its current location in Mattituck.

Ms. McGrath said the Cifarellis’ environmental assessment form, filled out to determine whether the project needs more environmental review, states that the land use surrounding their site is primarily commercial, not residential.

“I’d like to know what this is about. This is outrageous,” she said. “This is trying to pull the wool over somebody’s eyes.”

Another neighbor, Stacy Paetzel, said she was happy the Cifarellis incorporated some of the neighborhood’s concerns in their site plan, including two buffers, one along New Suffolk Road and one along the northern property line, and eliminating one access driveway from the parking lot. But she still thought their project was too much for the community to handle.

“It’s intense,” she said. “That’s the only word I can think of at the end of the day. I don’t think it’s really appropriate for our neighborhood.”

Ms. Cifarelli said the five to eight vans will be parked on the site at night but will leave for house calls between 7 and 9 a.m. and will be gone all day. She said that during the day, the property will serve primarily as an office hub, where a staff of two to three people will answer telephone calls and schedule cleanings.

“Everybody’s not coming here. This is just the main corporate location of our business,” she said.

The zoning “is limited business,” she said. “There is a bed & breakfast next door, and there are pockets of limited business and b and b’s on the street. I live in Southold Town. My kids go to school in Southold Town. I wanted to be in Southold Town so I could participate in my kids’ schooling.”

The Planning Board will continue to accept written public comment on the application for two weeks.

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