Manorhaven trustees hold hearing on marijuana moratorium

Jessica Parks
A file photo of the Manorhaven Board of Trustees. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

In stride with a number of villages, Manorhaven is bracing itself for the expected state legalization of marijuana by imposing a six-month moratorium on marijuana sales in the village.

The sale of marijuana would be a prohibited use under the village’s zoning code but a vote was postponed until the next meeting pending a response on the matter from the Nassau County Planning Board.

A public hearing on the moratorium was held at last Thursday’s board of trustees meeting where only one resident spoke about the proposed law.

Dorit Zeevi-Farrington asked why the board would institute a temporary moratorium instead of a permanent resolution.

Village Attorney Jonathan Fielding said it was due to not knowing the regulations that would be set forth in the state legislation.

The board of trustees would have to renew the ban after the six-month period.

Other villages that have passed legislation to combat legalization include Mineola, Floral Park, Munsey Park and Williston Park among others.

Despite the minimal comments on the moratorium, a number of residents rose to speak during the public comment period about a decision made by the Manorhaven Board of Zoning Appeals last week in which members approved variances for a three-story apartment building on Manhasset Isle.

Resident Gary Maynard said he thought it was terrible the way the board conducted the meeting, especially how it closed for executive session immediately after opening the public meeting.

Fielding said the board could meet for the executive session prior to the beginning of the public meeting so as not to keep residents sitting there and waiting.

“If they need an executive session to discuss litigation or potential litigation and they know that ahead of time, they could be advertising it as 6:30 executive session and 7 o’ clock hearing,” Fielding said.

Maynard went on to say that he thought these variances were supposed to be given out for hardships,  which he does not think was the case in this situation.

The Manorhaven Board of Zoning Appeals approved a number of variances for a property at 22 Sagamore Hill Drive on Manhasset Isle at the February meeting.

The property is owned by Peter Dejana, a local businessman and founder of the Peter and Jeri Dejana Family Foundation.

The five-member zoning board voted with three in favor and two opposed to approving variances for height, front yard setback, parking and the mixed use of the building.

Minor modifications were made to the height and front yard setback variances, requiring the developer to construct the proposed elevator bulkhead at the center of the building to hide it from the view of passers-by and for the requested 5-foot setback to be increased to 10 feet.

John Orr, Manorhaven resident, said Dejana will not be the only person to come before the board requesting variances of this type.

“I am sure within this year you will see two or three other applicants with the same thing, talking about the same type of hardship,” he said. “And undoubtedly with this board, it will be passed.”

Orr’s statement echoed concerns brought up at previous meetings over approved variances setting a precedent for other developers requesting similar zoning exemptions.

Fielding said the zoning board is not held to any legal precedent set by its prior decisions.

Zeevi-Farrington asked the board when a public hearing about overcrowding would occur.

Mayor Jim Avena said at November’s meeting that the board would hold a public hearing on the issue in the spring.

He said last Thursday that he would announce the date of the hearing at the board’s March meeting.

In other village business, the board held a public hearing about restricting curb cuts and postponed voting until the next meeting.

Concerns have been raised about excessive curb cuts limiting the amount of street parking in the area.

The proposed law would allow new two-family homes only one 16-foot wide curb cut for a driveway.

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