Two Old Westbury trustees kicked off Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting with an argument about the details of an awarded bid for village tree planting.
In her speech welcoming Mayor Frank Carillo’s appointment of Robert Lemle to the village’s Beautification Committee, Trustee Leslie Fastenberg raised questions about a bid awarded to Scenic Designs in East Moriches for $93,975 to plant 143 trees along “Little” Wheatley Road, a 1.3-mile stretch from Old Westbury Road to Post Road.
“I think perhaps this was a mistake or a miscommunication, and we have an opportunity to fix this and distribute those trees over three streets unless this is the intention of the mayor and trustees to plant these 143 trees on Little Wheatley, which already has 200 trees,” Fastenberg said. “I think this is a moment to get it right.”
Though Fastenberg voted to approve the bid at the Jan. 8 special meeting, she said she was unable to look at the bid until Jan. 12, four days after voting.
“I had asked to see the bid, which went out Nov. 22, and I didn’t get it until last week after we had voted last Tuesday night,” Fastenberg said. “As the kids say, my bad, I should have insisted I saw it before I voted. I didn’t have a chance to, but I saw it after.”
Deputy Mayor Marina Chimerine, however, said all trustees and the Beautification Committee had copies of the bid as well as village Administrator Brian Ridgway for any resident to look at in Village Hall.
“We all had ample opportunity to look at this paperwork, and this is not the place to discuss this,” Chimerine said.
“This is the place because I don’t have an opportunity to talk to you any other time because there is no communication,” Fastenberg responded. “This is going to have to be done here. I did ask for the bid multiple times. I’m a trustee, for crying out loud.”
Chimerine said village arborist Carlos Vargas helped the village write the bid, which varied from the committee’s recommendation both in the type of trees and the placement of the trees, which Fastenberg said was to spread the trees across three village roads: “Little” Wheatley Road, Old Westbury Road and I.U. Willets Road “to give the greatest number of people the opportunity to enjoy the new landscape.”
Chimerine said the project funding would come through the village’s tree fund which was recently given $250,000 by Glen Oaks Club after the Northern Trust PGA Tournament in August.
After about 10 minutes of back and forth between the trustees, a resident in the packed courtroom yelled, “Ladies, my wife’s got dinner on the table,” and Mayor Carillo quickly ended the debate.
“Bottom line, it’s a recommendation to the trustees,” Carillo said. “The grandstanding going on tonight is not really what we should be doing here. We have executive sessions and work sessions, and we can do it there.”
No action was taken to retract or revise the bid, and Lemle’s appointment was unanimously approved 4-0 with Trustee Edward Novick absent.
In other business, trustees unanimously approved an application from Crown Castle International Corp. that has been the subject of public hearings for months to install 21 cell antennas, commonly called nodes, across the village.
Crown Castle attorney Robert Gaudioso said the number was dropped from the original 22 proposed antennas to 21 — 11 on existing utility poles and 10 on new poles.
The public hearing for The Lubavitch of Old Westbury plan was continued after a brief discussion with the synagogue’s attorney, Kevin McAndrew, and village consultant John Ellsworth about the number of potential variances needed for the site.
In the December meeting, McAndrew said the plan would require nine variances, including ones for lot area, lot width and depth, front yard setback, side yard setback, rear yard setback, lot coverage, undeveloped space and off-street parking as well as a special permit exception as a place of worship.
Carillo, however, said there could be upward of 20 variances needed for the accessory structures, including two swimming pools and a mikveh, a ritual bathing facility.