A public hearing and the inability for the public to hear city council proceedings became intense issues during the July 28 Glen Cove City Council meeting. Alvin Street neighbors screamed at each other and two women almost came to blows over the parking situation on their street. As ethnic epithets were hurled in city hall and the Glen Cove police department was called, one of the women was escorted out by a concerned resident. The public hearing on the parking regulations on Alvin Street then continued. At another point during the meeting, a resident expressed his frustration at not being able to hear the proceedings. The acoustics in city hall are notoriously bad and residents have echoed this complaint time and again for almost three years. The bad acoustics also affect proceedings during planning board meetings when complaints are sometimes acknowledged. The acoustics have given new meaning to public hearing in both the city council and planning board venues.
The current regulations in effect on both sides of Alvin Street prohibit parking from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Councilman Mike Norman, who chaired the meeting for the vacationing Mayor Suozzi, said the city had received a lot of requests from individuals in the area asking for a hearing to discuss whether or not changing the regulations will solve the problem. Councilman Norman said no decision would be made Tuesday evening. "We will hear everyone's input, there will be follow-up and people can still call city hall with additional information," said the councilman. A woman opposed to the removal of the "no parking" signs on Alvin Street said she received the letter notifying her of the hearing the day before. She said living on Alvin Street has been a circus and the landlord at one house on the street allows illegal occupancy. She didn't like the fact an ambulance is allowed to park in one of the driveways on the block. In concluding her comments she added that she felt the code enforcers are not doing their job and the police do not respond to complaints. Several speakers on the issue said parking illegally on Alvin sometimes goes unticketed and although it's a public street, one can't park in front of a certain house because the tenant will ram the car and move it out of the way. Some Alvin Street residents said there's parking all night illegally while people patronize the bar on the corner of Landing and Alvin. Yet another resident complained about a blind spot created because cars park on both sides of Alvin making it necessary to inch out onto Landing Road. People purchasing newspapers leave their car running as they dash into the store on Landing Road. The opinions for solving the problem ranged from doing away with the parking signs to giving residents special permits. One neighbor felt that all the trouble was being caused by a select few on the street who just don't mind their own business.
A resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement regarding the environmentally sensitive and presumably unbuildable Sobleman/Martone property in Red Spring Colony was ultimately tabled upon the seconded motion made by Councilman John Maccarone. The resolution called for the city to purchase the property from Walter Sobelman and Michael Martone for $75,000 plus give a gift of the rest of the value of the property for the purposes of preservation of the property for the citizens of Glen Cove. The resolution also stated that the contract of sale would represent the settlement of all litigation between the city and Sobelman/Martone. Scratched out by hand from the resolution were the words, "That the property may not be sold to adjoining property owners nor sold for development; and that the property be used by the citizens of Glen Cove." Councilman Maccarone wondered why, after 20 years of this property being an intense issue, all of a sudden there was a rush by the city to buy the land. Councilman Maccarone said he didn't think the property should be developed however the city would be setting a precedent in buying it. "There's a lot of property in the city that also can't be developed and I don't think it's the city's duty to purchase property because a person made a bad investment. I've heard that there are lawsuits, but I don't think the city has been sued. I think the reason we're doing this is for the people of Red Spring. If the city were to buy it, then the property would be for the use of everyone in Glen Cove and I don't think that's what the people of Red Spring would want. Making the site a public beach would be breaking the law according to a similar case that went to the Court of Appeals. The only reason I see for us buying this is that the city may be sued. If we were going to be sued, we would have been 20 years ago," said Councilman Maccarone. Herb Beckhard, who lives in Red Spring Colony, said, "We had an annual meeting and this issue came up. I think everybody who came to the meeting had the same thing in mind. We couldn't figure out the city's motive in buying this land. We also can't figure out why all the people of Glen Cove should contribute to that. We would like to know the motive. Another surprise is the city seems to have a purchase price in mind. How was the price arrived at. There are too many unanswered questions. I think we, and the entire city, deserve some explanation before the mayor has the right to negotiate."
Glen Cove Building Department Administrator Anthony Maurino tried to explain why the city is buying the property. "The property in question is in a coastal erosion zone, flood hazard zone and a dune protection zone. It is in a variety of zones for which there are significant environmental restrictions. The problem with that is the temptation for people to believe because there are environmental restrictions making it difficult to build upon, the planning board is under no duty to ever approve this project for construction. The property has similarities to property in South Carolina. The matter went all the way to the US Supreme Court which held that government had to buy the property since the municipality deemed it unbuildable and environmentally sensitive while being beautiful," said Mr. Maurino. Babe Grella added his opinion that Nassau County should buy the land since the county likes land banks. He felt it was unfair to all the citizens of Glen Cove for them to foot the bill when not everyone could benefit.
A resolution authorizing the city to issue bans/bonds to finance certain tax certiorari in an amount not to exceed $250,000 did not pass since Councilman Gonzalez voted no and Councilman Maccarone had left city hall prior to the offering of this resolution.