Village attorney Steven Leventhal rejected series of demands from the Manorhaven Action Committee to inspect several commercial property on Thursday, saying the village did not have the legal authority to do so.
“The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures,” he said during a short village board meeting. “Just as the police could not enter your home without a valid legal basis of doing so, so a regulatory agency cannot enter upon the property and take soil samples… without having an adequate and proper legal basis for doing so.”
Leventhal said a requests for environmental reviews of the property could not be undertaken because the state Department of Environmental Conservation is not allowed on private property without the owner’s permission unless an accident had occurred.
In a letter sent to the village last month, MAC Acting Secretary Caroline DuBois called for a comprehensive environmental assessment of the village and specifically mentioned the Thypin Steel property, the cell tower and various properties owned by Dejana Industries.
Leventhal said the cell tower had recently been tested for radio frequencies — one of the requests in the letter — and that environmental assessments could not be done for hypothetical spills or damage.
Neither DuBois nor other members of MAC were in attendance on Thursday night. The public comment session had only one person speak.
During the meeting, Mayor Jim Avena announced that the village had received $30,000 from the state government to help cover the cost of sewer maintenance.
The board did accept two motions.
The first was to accept a ten-year lease agreement between the village and the Growing Love Community Garden. The community garden will pay the village $50 a year because the garden is being constructed on village property.
Avena said this would prevent a new government in the near future from reclaiming the land. If the village did want to get out of the lease agreement, they could terminate the lease with 60 days notice if Manorhaven needed the land, Avena said.
“It’s going to be one of the nicest things and it’s going to give Manorhaven a tremendous amount of visibility,” he said.
The village also accepted a letter of agreement for Chasin Associates’ work on Phase III-A of construction at Morgan’s Dock.