Waterfront committee devotes meeting to public

Stephen Romano

Manorhaven Waterfront Committee members last Wednesday devoted their second meeting to gathering information and understanding residents’ visions of Manorhaven.

Donald Badaczewski, the committee’s secretary, said the goal is to hear from members of the public and find out what they want, so the committee can  recommend a plan to the Board of Trustees.

Badaczewski said in a news release that “the advisory committee will devote additional time to public comment at a future meeting before making any recommendations to the Board of Trustees.”

Going forward, the release said, public concern and comment should be sent to Badaczewski through written submissions.

“We want to know what the residents want and what their vision for Manorhaven is,” Badaczewski said. “We’re actively collecting comments from the public. That’s the most helpful thing from the public.”

The committee was formed in July by Mayor Jim Avena after the village passed a six-month building moratorium that restricts waterfront building.

Residents clashed with committee members at the first meeting on Sept. 7 after they were told there would be no opportunity for public comment.

After constant interruptions from residents, the committee’s chairman, Guy La Motta, permitted public comment at the end of the meeting, allowing residents three minutes each to talk.

Residents continued their call to implement a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan that would restrict waterfront building.

Caroline DuBois, a resident, said the residents and committee members should look into the pros and cons of an LWRP, including the cost and time frame.

“I suggest that we call up Nancy Rucks from the Department of State’s Division of Planning and Development and tell her to come to Manorhaven to talk us through the negatives and positives of an LWRP.”

Badaczewski and Avena said the village has three choices: leave the zoning laws alone, change them or adopt a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

La Motta, who is opposed to adopting an LWRP and  worked on past LWRPs, said only nine of 293 communities on Long Island have applied for them.

“The third word in LWRP is revitalization,” La Motta said. “We need to revitalize the waterfront, promote the waterfront and get it going — not halt the building.”

Bruce Migatz, a committee member and zoning lawyer, said he believes the meeting went well.

“We have to look at everything on the waterfront before we make any recommendations,” Migatz said. “It’s not black and white and we can just say we want to get rid of things. “We’re gathering facts right now. I think we’re off to a good start. I want to work at it and come up with some good suggestions for the Board of Trustees.”

Residents also questioned whether La Motta  had a conflict in serving as committee chairman since he owns a restaurant and marina on Manhasset Isle and has publicly expressed his desire to build on his property.

Badaczewski said it is not a conflict of interest, because the committee’s job is to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees, not finalize plans. 

La Motta, the owner of the Manhasset Bay Marina, said dredging is another issue that needs to be dealt with, citing multiple areas along Manhasset Isle that no longer have water.

“The last time I dredged at my marina was 1985,” La Motta said. “The water levels have dropped by me. They’ve gone from six feet to three feet. You can’t even bring in bigger boats anymore.’’

The committee will meet again on Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m.

By Stephen Romano

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