Manorhaven planning board to review Manhasset Isle site plans

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Manorhaven Village Hall

Manorhaven Village trustees transferred site plan review for the Manhasset Isle project to the village’s planning board on Thursday, sparking some concerns from trustees and the planning board chairman.

The Board of Trustees approved a resolution 3 to 1 to delegate site-plan approval responsibilities over to the planning board, with Trustee Ken Kraft voting nay and Mayor Jim Avena abstaining as his brother-in-law Peter Dejana is overseeing the project.

Site plan review would include a review of soil, water, and drainage, Avena said. This process also includes a review site circulation, or how traffic is flowing into and out of a site, according to village attorney Jonathan Fielding.

Zygmunt “Ziggy” Jagiello, the chairman of the planning board, said that if there was a public comment period before the vote, he would have asked the Board of Trustees to reconsider their decision due to the “gravity of this particular project.”

“I’m really not thrilled with the prospect of sending this just to us,” Jagiello said. “We’ll do our job, whatever we need to do, but I’m surprised that you’re delegating this case to us.”

Peter Dejana, a local developer and former owner of Dejana Industries, has sought to build a three-story mixed-use apartment building at 22 Sagamore Hill Drive in Manorhaven. It would have 16 apartment units and a commercial space.

The Manhasset Isle project has been the subject of numerous public hearings and controversy, with trustees ultimately approving variances for height, front yard setback, parking and mixed-use were approved at a zoning board meeting in February.

Rita Di Lucia, who originally voted yea, said she thought the planning board was in favor of the move and apologized.

She also said it was originally thought the board was qualified, this move would mainly involve “finishing touches” and that in a work session, trustees discussed the advantages of having five people reviewing the project rather than four.

“I do not want to put the planning board in any sort of uncomfortable position,” Di Lucia said, noting she had “no idea” Jagiello felt apprehensive and that she wished she knew before she voted. “I think maybe we should rescind this resolution and speak to the planning board privately and see how they feel.”

Kraft said he is not necessarily against the project, but that it has major implications for the community and site plan review authority should remain under the jurisdiction of the trustees.

“I just want this to be done right,” he said.

Dejana said Kraft has always been against the project and “not objective about it.” He also said “the [village] code doesn’t say anything about a person feeling uncomfortable. Nothing at all.”

“The planning board needs to accept what the village board does,” Dejana said.

Kraft replied by saying he likes the idea of a nicer building but didn’t agree with the variances given and that the planning board is supposed to look at projects under half an acre.

The planning board has “the duty” to review, approve or reject site plans for one and two-family structures and review any non-residential or multifamily project of three or more units on a lot under half an acre, per village code.

The Board of Trustees can also transfer review powers for nonresidential and multifamily projects on a lot of half an acre or more to the planning board on an individual basis, according to the village code.

“I am very confident in the planning board to be able to review this as thoroughly as necessary and come up with their findings, working alongside the applicant to make sure everyone is satisfied,” Avena said.

In other village business, trustees also approved an intermunicipal agreement with the Town of North Hempstead that will allow the village to access certain sewer infrastructure on property owned by the town so they can complete a sanitary sewer rehabilitation project.

Manorhaven’s planning board meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted. The next meetings are Nov. 6 and Dec. 3.

There will also be a public meeting on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m that will focus on $3 million worth of planned upgrades for Manorhaven Boulevard. The next Board of Trustees meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 21.

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