Residents to be heard at next waterfront meeting

Stephen Romano

Residents will have a chance to voice their ideas for the future of the waterfront at Manorhaven’s next Waterfront Advisory Committee meeting in March, Mayor Jim Avena said.

“We invite everyone to come and tell the committee their opinions on what they would like to do with the waterfront,” Avena said. “They have their opinions and the board has theirs, so when everything is taken into consideration, the committee will present it all to the Board of Trustees.”

The meeting date is not set but will be in early March, village officials said.

Residents have been pushing for a comment session since the committee last heard the public’s opinion at its Sept. 28 meeting.

The advisory committee was set up by Avena after the village passed a six-month waterfront building moratorium in June, halting any development.

The moratorium was extended for six months at the board’s January meeting.

Following the meeting, the committee will review the members’ and residents’ ideas and then make suggestions to the Board of Trustees.

Committee members outlined their ideas at the Jan. 9 meeting, broadly agreeing on the types of uses that would be best for the waterfront, but disagreeing on the scope of the issues the board wants them to consider.

Donald Badaczewski, the committee’s chairman, said during the Jan. 9 meeting that the committee agrees it would like to see the waterfront be used for marinas and similar developments, such as boat yards and sailing schools if they are viable.

But some members disagree on whether marinas and other maritime uses will be viable in the future.

Some committee members said they were concerned about the village’s sewer system, which they said should be re-evaluated before building is proposed.

“There are flooding concerns, evacuation procedures and everyday usage on the one road in and out of Manhasset Isle that need to be thought out and then acted upon,” Gary Maynard, a member, said at the meeting.

The village recently hired Cameron Engineering and Associates to assist the trustees.

Avena said the engineers will first assist with the village’s sewer system.

The village is currently conducting a survey and history of the sewer system and streets, Avena said.

Guy La Motta, who was recently replaced as chairman of the waterfront comittee, suggested additions to the Commercial Marine District (C-1) zoning sections, saying “these additions will not only benefit the C-1 properties but will also benefit and enhance the properties in the surrounding area districts and the Village of Manorhaven itself.”

He said the maximum density of these developments should be two dwelling units per 5,000 square feet of gross space, not exceeding 34 feet and three stories in height, and each should have a boat dock.

Residents have said they are opposed to changes in zoning, arguing that it would only benefit developers and would not preserve the waterfront.

“We oppose any zoning changes which would allow condos to be built at the marinas,” the Manorhaven Action Committee, a civic group that has been vocal on the preservation of the waterfront, said in a statement. “We support traditional maritime activities and encourage creative land use planning which brings meaningful public access to the waterfront. In particular we want to connect the Bay Walk corridor to Morgan’s Dock through the Manorhaven Nature Preserve.”

The moratorium, which was extended to give the committee more time to make suggestions to the village board, halts all waterfront development, including any at the 11-acre Thypin Steel property at  5 Sagamore Hill Drive, which was approved for a 96-unit residential development in 2003.

A lawyer representing the Thypin Steel property sent a letter to the village in December saying the moratorium did not meet legal standards.

Village Attorney Steve Leventhal rejected the claim.

The moratorium also halts the development of the old Bill’s Harbor Inn property at 16 Bowman’s Point Road, which was recently sold to a group of restaurateurs from Roslyn for $365,000.

The owners said they intend to build a restaurant on the property, ending months of concern over whether the property would be rezoned and developed.

Avena said although the property cannot be developed, the village ordered the new owners to tear down the existing structure, which has deteriorated over time and is currently boarded up with plywood, because it poses a safety threat.

The owners agreed to take it down within a month, Avena said.

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