Flower Hill acquires Middle Neck Road, considers marijuana ban

The Flower Hill Board of Trustees voted to approve their acquisition of Middle Neck Road on Monday night. (Photo by Jessica Parks)

The Village of Flower Hill Board of Trustees formally approved their acquisition of Middle Neck Road from Nassau County for $1 at Monday night’s meeting.

Several mayors have attempted to acquire the road in the past, which is fully within the confines of Flower Hill, but failed to reach an agreement because of the road’s poor conditions.

Past officials wanted Nassau County to repair the road and relinquish ownership to the village, but the county did not have the funds for road repair at the time.

Village Clerk Ronnie Shatzkamer said that when the county established that they were resurfacing Middle Neck Road, they reached out to Flower Hill officials to reopen talks about the village taking over.

“We really got a lot out of [the county],” Shatzkamer said.

She said Nassau will refund the entire cost of the village’s road survey, which totals about $35,000; clean all of the drains; add 2 inches of reinforcement both above and below the current road and make repairs at any place where the county performs a demolition.

There is also a one-year maintenance guarantee from the county under which the county will repair anything that fails up to a year after Flower Hill’s takeover of the road.

Shatzkamer said village officials did inquire about curbing and sidewalks, but it would require taking property from the adjoining property owners.

She said that after the repaving, which will be conducted during the spring and summer, the village will buy the road from the county for $1.

This is not the first stretch of land that Flower Hill has acquired from Nassau County. In the past, village officials have bought Stonytown Road and Flower Hill County Park.

With village ownership of Middle Neck Road, the street will be maintained by Flower Hill employees, who tend to be able to respond faster than the county.

Trustees also introduced a law to impose a temporary moratorium on marijuana in the village.

The resolution was modeled from a law that is being considered in the village of Manorhaven, which has yet to approve it but is expected to at their meeting at the end of the month.

The moratorium will put a temporary restriction on the retail sale of marijuana in the village.

Marijuana retail has come as a concern to village officials because of a new commercial space being built at 1045 Northern Blvd.

A public hearing on the marijuana ban will be held April 1, which is when the board will also present the tentative budget.

The Flower Hill board approved a telecommunications law to address the village’s 18 cell node applications from ExteNet.

Village attorney Jeffrey Blinkoff said the law he drafted aligns the village code with federal regulations, which prevent most municipal decision-making on the matter.

He said the village still has some controls over aesthetics in terms of placement of the cell nodes, which are usually smaller than cell towers.

However, the village’s application fees are based on what federal lawmakers consider reasonable, he said.

At a previous meeting, the village board set the fees for each of the 18 applications at $500 which, according to Blinkoff, resulted in a note from the applicant saying the fees were higher than mandated under the federal regulations.

Shatzkamer said the actual fees accrued for the cell node applications amounted to $4,500; $500 for the first five applications and $100 for each thereafter.

In his draft, Blinkoff included that the fees can be changed by resolution of the board as to what is found necessary.

He said he included this provision in his draft because if the village administration finds that the federally mandated fees do not cover their costs to address the applications, then that forms a rebuttable presumption, which means the board can contest and increase the fees through a village resolution.

To prove the fees are too low, the village will need to keep track of its costs for each application, Blinkoff said.

He said the village’s telecommunications law is modeled after other villages’ drafts and based on the recommendation of the New York Conference of Mayors.

The board approved the law as drafted and reserved the ability to update it in the future.

A public hearing on the applications will be scheduled for May.


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