Waterfront committee presents ideas to Manorhaven board

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After months of meetings, the Manorhaven Waterfront Advisory Committee presented its ideas for the future of the waterfront to the Board of Trustees on Thursday, with some members calling for more marinas and single-family homes and others asking for condominium developments.

“We all want to protect and preserve the best of Manorhaven for generations to come, including its natural beauty and unique character,” Mayor Jim Avena said at a special work session. “At the same time, we must also consider the rights of the property owners who wish to use and enjoy their properties and realize a reasonable return on their investments.”

Avena appointed an advisory community last June when the village passed a waterfront development moratorium, halting all building along the seaside.

The moratorium was renewed in January and again in June for six months.

Bruce Migatz, an advisory committee member and land-use attorney, said the village should work on making Manhasset Isle a “beautiful beachside community.”

He suggested revising the zoning near Mitinicock Avenue to permit “some sort of housing in the zone” to have a mix of housing, marinas and restaurants.

“Manhasset Isle should be a beautiful seaside community,” he said.

The future of the Thypin Steel property on Manhasset Isle, which once held a metal fabricating plant and hangars for Pan Am planes, has been the hottest topic of debate because the owner has been trying to speed up its development.

The property was approved for a 96-unit development in 2003.

Committee member Patrick Gibson echoed Migatz’s statements about Mitinicock Avenue, calling it a “rough looking block”

“There’s a demand for residential, not industrial,” Gibson, who is also the chairman of the village’s zoning board, said.

Gary Maynard, a committee member since the group was created last June, said he would like to see more single-family homes, marinas and for waterfront businesses to stay.

“I don’t want to see these condos come in and put more of a burden on our sewers and roads,” Maynard said.

The board recently hired an engineering firm to study and evaluate the village’s sewer system and roads.

While some advisory committee members and residents have spoken out strongly against building on the waterfront, Guy La Motta, a member, disagreed.

La Motta, who owns the Manhasset Bay Marina and La Motta’s Restaurant on Manhasset Isle, said, “condos are the way to go.”

“You have to put development on the waterfront until we get dredging done or a lot of marinas will suffer, La Motta said.

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

He also called for tax relief for marina owners, saying he pays $758 a day in taxes.

Rita Di Lucia, a committee member and a village trustee, said, “Anything that’s done on the waterfront must be done in the best interest of our residents.”

In March, the village took suggestions from residents at a public hearing.

Residents urged advisory committee to continue the waterfront moratorium, maintain the current zoning and allow access to the waterfront.

The Manorhaven Action Committee, one of the most outspoken civic groups on the preservation of the waterfront, also submitted a list of ideas and things for the board to look into at the hearing, including zoning, the nature preserve, global warming, the village’s marinas, the old Bill’s Harbor Inn property and more.

Thursday’s special public hearing drew a crowd larger than usual Waterfront Advisory Committee meetings, and the audience included Michael Sahn, the lawyer representing Thypin Steel and Peter Dejana, owner of Dejana Industries, which operates out of a building on Manhasset Isle.

In December, Sahn, told the Board of Trustees that the waterfront moratorium, which is halting Thypin’s development, did not meet legal standards, saying “there is no basis for a moratorium.”

Sahn said Thypin was not threatening legal action in December.

Manorhaven village Attorney Steve Leventhal at the time rejected Sahn’s argument.

The Board of Trustees did not have any questions for the advisory committee members, but Avena said all of the opinions will be considered.

“Once we have heard the committee’s recommendations, we will consider them, along with any other recommendations from members of the public and expert advice of consultants hired by the village,” Avena said.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am perplexed by the Mayors statement that anyone has a RIGHT to a reasonable return on an investment. My understanding is that you purchase a property and HOPE for a reasonable return on you investment. Does it actually say somewhere that this is a Right? I don’t think so.

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