A Village of Roslyn public hearing Tuesday ended with a broken front door at Village Hall and two Nassau County police officers called after a resident’s application for a pool was denied.
The application by Simone Sarcona of 19 Davis Lane for a 12-by-21.5 foot in-ground backyard pool with a hot tub was denied 4-0 by the Roslyn Board of Trustees following an hour-long hearing.
The board’s decision set off an angry outburst by Sarcona.
“You’re denying my right to do construction on my property, and not even giving me the opportunity to prove to you that it’s acceptable,” Sarcona said. “I find that unacceptable, and I’m digging a f—ing pool in my backyard, and you all can kiss my ass. If you come on my property, I will defend myself rigorously.”
As Sarcona left Village Hall, he slammed the front door open with such force that it broke, Village Attorney John Gibbons said.
Gibbons said the village called Nassau County police after the door was damaged. Two officers later examined the scene.
Attendees were ushered out the back door after the meeting.
Mayor John Durkin said prior to the board’s vote that Sarcona’s home was located at the top of a hill within the Hillside Protection Overlay District and trustees were responsible for maintaining the hillsides across the district.
Durkin said a report from Cameron Engineering, done on behalf the village, recommended a geotechnical engineer study the hillside and do borings of the soil — a service not performed by Cameron.
Sarcona, alongside geotechnical engineer Hiren Shah of Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, said they thought Sarcona’s hillside property was capable of supporting a pool and hot tub.
Shah said soil weighs about 120 pounds per cubic foot while water weighs half that at 60 pounds per cubic foot, therefore removing the dirt for the pool would decrease the load on the hill instead of increase it.
”If we were adding foundation or a structure at the top of that slope, that boring investigation would be necessary, Shah said. “If we were raising grades five, 10 feet, that investigation would be required. Pool construction is actually unloading or removing load from the top. [The slope is] inherently stable currently, and the pool construction will improve the stability of the slope.”
Three residents from Valentine Lane, the street at the bottom of the hillside, spoke against the application, citing falling sediment and constant drainage onto their property.
Trustee Marta Genovese said her concern isn’t once the pool is in the ground but what damage the vibrations of the construction process and digging of the pool could do to the hillside.
“My concern is we’re not starting with a blank slate here, that there will already be a destabilization of the hill, whether you were responsible or someone else was,” Genovese said.
Gibbons read a letter from the village to Sarcona dated March 14, 2013, citing existing destabilization to the hillside dating back five years to a previously construction project.
“Construction act on your property has caused root damage to a number of trees, causing one tree to fall, and endangering others,” Gibbons read. “The protected hillside has been destabilized and is experiencing erosion.”
Sarcona’s wife, Dr. Hera Sambaziotis, said during the meeting the board’s decision would reduce her property value as well as make it harder for her to sell the home.
“If you’re saying we can’t put a pool in, you’re saying no one can put a house up there again,” she said before the vote. “We’ve tried very hard to bring out the expert opinions. We have someone here who is basically at the forefront of his specialty to say this is something is safe. If my backyard isn’t safe, I can’t sell my house down the line.”
Trustee Sarah Oral was in attendance at the meeting but recused herself.
Durkin explained that Oral works as a traffic engineer for Cameron Engineering, the firm that conducted a report for the village on the property at 19 Davis Lane.