Resident threatens lawsuit over Manhasset Isle variance

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

Caroline DuBois, the acting secretary of the Manorhaven Action Committee, gave notice of the possibility that she may bring forward a lawsuit against village officials at the Manorhaven Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday.

DuBois said if the variance for a proposed three-story building at 22 Sagamore Hill Drive is to be approved that the trustees as well as the members of Manorhaven’s Board of Zoning Appeals “may, both jointly and individually, become subject to an Article 78 Lawsuit in New York State Court.”

Article 78 is typically used to appeal a decision made by a government agency.

Efforts to reach trustees for further comment on Friday were unavailing.

The variance has been applied for by Peter Dejana, former owner of Dejana Industries, and is requesting permission to build a three-story mixed-use apartment building in a two-story zone, the E1 zoning district, in Manhasset Isle.

The application has been the center of a number of previously held Board of Trustees meetings and BZA meetings and is expected to be voted on at the next meeting of the zoning board in January.

At November’s Board of Trustees meeting, the board approved a motion that recognized Manorhaven as overcrowded.

Trustee Ken Craft explained at the meeting that in 2013, “a couple of administrations ago,” a zoning study was conducted which recommended that the board reexamine “the permitted uses within the E1 zoning district to ensure that they contribute to and enhance the waterfront, the village should consider eliminating those uses that do not achieve this goal.”

He said that was five years ago and “we have been taking a lot of grief as the new administration” and asked what has been done over the last four years about the issue.

Trustee Rita DiLuca brought up that members of the board do not always agree with each other when these studies come out, just like the residents.

“The last study that I remember doing, they wanted us to build four stories on the waterfront,” she said. “We were like ‘you’re out of your mind.'”

She said then it gets dropped because no one is willing to vote on it.

DuBois raised the concern during her announcement about the impact the 16 additional apartments will have on the village’s sewer system.

The village’s application for a state grant to update their sewer system was just recently denied.

On Dec. 18, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that $3 million will be awarded to communities across the state to update wastewater infrastructure systems.

Therefore, the village moved to approve the preparation of a second Bond Anticipation Note, or BAN, for $250,000 which the board hopes will cover the evaluation of the second half of the village’s sewer system.

An evaluation of the first half was conducted last year, for which they had issued a $250,000 BAN also.

The work is being conducted by Earth Repair LLC.

On the first half of pipes, they found that the pipes were excessively clogged which Trustee John Popeleski said at a meeting last year was from grease, which after a few years solidifies into a cement-like substance.

For the evaluation, the company lowers a camera into the sewage system to assess the conditions of the pipes and which types of repairs they would require.

When the view of a pipe is obstructed by clogging, Earth Repair clears out the pipe to get a better view.

Once they can view and assess, the company will recommend whether the pipe needs to be completely replaced or a sleeve can be installed for smoother water flow.

When all of the pipe work is finished, the village hopes to replace its 60-year-old sewer force main.

Village Clerk Sharon Abramski said that they are not giving up on the grant and will keep applying for it.

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