On Wednesday, Sept. 23, I attended the Village of Manorhaven's Public Hearing affecting two-family homes in the village. The Village Board was proposing a public law that would have impacted the owners of two-family homes in a significant way. It was questionable to me why the board scheduled only one half-hour (7:30-8 p.m.) for discussions on such a serious issue.
There was an extremely large turnout of homeowners and the majority of them expressed loud and clear to the Village Board members their opposition to the proposed law. The hearing did go on beyond the 8 p.m. time because of the large turnout. The board members appeared to be listening to the expressions of opposing views. However, one gentleman stated quite clearly that he was convinced that the board had already made their decision to go ahead with their proposed change in the law. This was also the consensus of the other homeowners I spoke to that evening.
Trustee Capozzi denounced the flyer that was distributed throughout the village informing the homeowners of the public hearing. He stated it was full of lies and exaggerated the facts. However, the large turnout resulted in detouring the board's strategy to slip this law by the homeowners and vote on and pass this very restrictive law.
The legal notice for this public hearing was published in Newsday on Sept. 11 (on the obituary page). (The board opposes doing business with the Port Washington News, but this is a subject for another day.) Did you read the legal notice in Newsday? Since most citizens don't spend their time looking up legal notices everyday in Newsday the public hearing would have gone unnoticed and the resulting turnout of homeowners would have been very low. The board would then have concluded that there was little opposition to the law and passed the law. Fortunately for the village and the homeowners there were some people who anticipated the board's strategy and distributed the flyers. The message in the flyer may have been ambiguous but it was a vitally important proposal to the homeowners and a large turnout was essential. Sometimes the means to an end can be justified.
It is interesting to note that none of the Village Board members own a two-family home. Yet they profess to be working in the best interest of the homeowners. But it was clear to me that they were not receptive to the concerns of the homeowners. The elimination of the "right to appeal" would be taken away from the two-family homeowner. The right to appeal is a precious right and should be protected. The passing of the proposal in its present wording has serious implications. The most important point is that if you as a two-family homeowner wanted to expand your home beyond the limits of the present law for justifiable reasons you would be prevented from appealing to the zoning board. Traditionally, that has been how homeowners would get relief from the law. If the law were to be passed as originally presented, the homeowner would have to go to a higher court to overturn the law. This will result in unnecessary legal fees for the homeowner and the village.
Since the board is close to voting on this law, it is imperative that you put in writing your opposition to the enactment of this law to the mayor right now.