Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 20 January 2012 00:00
The eastern borderline of Mineola and Carle Place, specifically near Bruce Terrace, has been plagued with flooding issues for decades. Plans were put in place over the last two years to get the issues resolved, but it seems that as one door opens, another closes.
Public Works Superintendent Tom Rini updated the plan that was agreed upon by the county, Mineola and the Town of North Hempstead. The plan stated that all three parties would work to resolve the issue. Furthermore, the scope of the construction would be shared equally.
An intermunicipal agreement (IMA) between North Hempstead and Mineola is still in development. The IMA would grant the town usage of village property so it can do necessary work to maintain land north of Westbury Avenue in Carle Place.
“We are and have been aggressively moving along and getting our part of the project done,” trustee Paul Pereira said. “There have been some misconceptions out there that we are the ones not making moves. The Town are the ones who have received the proposals over a year ago and they have not acted on that to my understanding.”
North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman told the Mineola American that the town is awaiting Mineola’s IMA so they can take control of the land. Residents abut the property and it’s a “grey area” according to village officials and that there isn’t a clear delineation on where private property ends and public property begins.
“We’ve been trying for the last year to get the village to move forward and as soon as the village is ready to move on his, we’re prepared to get the project going,” Kaiman said. “We’ve reached out to the village asking for a land use agreement. The bottom line here is the grant that exists, cannot be obtained until we have a land use agreement.”
Village officials stated an IMA has to define how the town uses the land. It’s more of a definition than a simple permission to take the land, which makes it more complicated.
Legal protections are required in the agreement that protects residents most affected by the reconstruction of the areas in question, village officials revealed. Considering the property the Town would obtain in this agreement is public, and private property abuts, more “red tape” issues come into play.
The village authorized engineering survey and design work in November. Rini estimated and a project design completion date of February, early March with plans and specifications ready for viewing.
Engineering service proposals were sent to the Town of North Hempstead in late August 2011. The village said it was confirmed that the proposal was received in September 2011.
Town officials stated that North Hempstead did not receive any preliminary project or funding information from the New York State Dormitory Authority, which administers the grant. Officials said the IMA is needed beforehand. However, Mineola officials said that all three parties should have received the information by now.
New York State granted $2.4 million to the project, to be shared equally among the three municipalities in 2010. Funding was pulled after a seat change in the 7th Senate District.
Current State Senator Jack Martins had the grants restored. It was stipulated at the time that the monies be used only on this project in respect to the guidelines put forth by the state.
Each of the three municipalities received $800,000 for flood mitigation, which was reported in the July 27, 2011 issue of the Mineola American, rather than granting all the funds to one party. Any additional costs above the approved grants would not be funded by the state and the respective party would be responsible for those uncovered costs.
“It seems like we’re moving along, and I’m assuming the county is moving along and for our project to work, the county has to do theirs,” trustee Larry Werther said. “It seems the only entity that’s dragging their feet is the Town of North Hempstead if I can put it that way. For our part of the project to work, is not dependent on the Town of North Hempstead.”
An IMA can’t be drafted until the land being used is “defined,” according to village officials. In turn, a land survey is required. The board passed a resolution to pay subconsultant AK Associates $6,500 to commence land surveying of the Town of North Hempstead’s portion of the project.
“This may seem like an odd request to make, but I’m requesting the board move forward with the property line survey of the Motor Parkway property north of Westbury Avenue for the purposes of a land use agreement with the Town,” Rini said. “We don’t want to hold this up.”
Rini concluded that he asked for this surveying because the Town has not done it yet. This survey is part of their project, according to Rini.
“In good faith to our neighbors in Carle Place, the project as a whole needs that piece,” Pereira said. “The fact that there was some misinformation that somehow we’re the ones holding up the Town’s part because we won’t give them the land, but we can’t give them the land until they do the survey. Frankly if they’re not going to do the survey, now, we’ll do the survey for them essentially and get the project moving and we’ll deal with that later.”
Kaiman was puzzled why the Town has to do a survey on a piece of land it doesn’t own. Furthermore, the Town not having an IMA with Mineola is hindering the development.
“How can we do a survey on land we do not own? We had been told several months ago that the village would not transfer the property over to us but would authorize some land use agreement where we could take control of the property,” Kaiman stated. “We have been waiting for that agreement to this day and have received no indication of Mineola moving on the project.”