Manorhaven extends waterfront moratorium

The Manorhaven Board of Trustees on Thursday voted to extend the waterfront moratorium for six months, allowing the village’s advisory committee more time to develop its suggestions on the future of the waterfront.

The local law, which passed with a 3-0 vote with trustees Ken Kraft and Rita DiLucia not in attendance, will halt any construction and development on the village’s waterfront from January to July.

The board expressed support of extending the moratorium last month, but needed approval from the Nassau County Planning Commission, which it received during the planning commission’s Jan. 5 meeting.

“We were very confidant all along the way that it would get approved,” Mayor Jim Avena said.

Residents at last month’s board meeting expressed concern that developers would submit building applications during the gap period and questioned why it needed county approval, noting that the first moratorium didn’t.

Avena said the village erred in how it approved the moratorium the last time.

“The previous administration put the moratorium in place,” Avena said last month. “It was not done correctly the first time.”

Avena said no applications for construction or development were submitted within the gap period.

The board also hired the engineering firm Cameron Engineering and Associates to assist the trustees with the waterfront committee’s recommendations.

Avena said the firm will first help the board look at the streets and sewer system, and the village is currently putting together a package of the history of the village’s sewers.

Residents have repeatedly criticized the waterfront committee, which Avena assembled after taking office in June, saying its meetings were unproductive and only focused on developing the waterfront, not preserving it.

In response, Avena said at last month’s board meeting he was in favor of extending the moratorium and hiring professional consultants.

The new six-month moratorium halts all development along with waterfront, including the 11-acre Thypin Steel property at  5 Sagamore Hill Drive, which was approved for a 96-unit residential development in 2003.

Michael Sahn, the lawyer representing the property, which is owned by MBA-Manorhaven LLC, sent a letter to the village last month, saying the moratorium did not meet legal standards.

Manorhaven Village Attorney Steve Leventhal rejected Sahn’s argument.

The moratorium also halts the development of the old Bill’s Harbor Inn property at 16 Bowman’s Point Road, which the property’s real estate agent said was being sold to a group of restaurateurs from Roslyn.

Avena said the owners were not aware of the moratorium until recently.

Whether the sale goes through or not, Avena said, the owner will be required to tear down the building because it is a safety hazard.

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Stephen Romano

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