(Ed.'s note: The following letter was sent to the Board of Trustees of the Village of Manorhaven for inclusion in the record of a public hearing on a rezoning of a parcel of property, and reprinted here at the writer's request.)
I am in opposition to the application of Sagamore Properties, Inc. for a rezoning of the property at 30 Sagamore Hill Drive. (Sec.4, Blk.83, Lots 1-20, 55-64)
The applicant proposes to rezone the property to I-3, the lowest zoning classification in the Manorhaven Zoning Code. The applicant wants permission to use about 1.377 acres of mixed zone property for auto, truck and vehicle assembly and repair, including body works, parts warehousing, storage and parking. Environmentally, there are many questions about its impact on our community.
According to its own environmental assessment form, this project will generate 26.4 vehicle trips per hour. That is the number that they admit to, but the number could and most likely would be greater. The applicant does not have enough parking spaces and will require a variance for that aspect of the application. Certainly, employees at the site are going to be parking on local residential streets that are already subject to many illegally parked vehicles generated by the auto body shops in that area. A large industrial project will only compound that problem.
This project will not be environmentally friendly. In the application, the applicant admits to "Steel and misc. metals" and "fluids for hydraulic equipment," That means dirty oil and other petro chemicals.
That portion of Sagamore Hill Drive will resemble an industrial area in Queens. Does a project of this nature belong in a waterfront community?
There are many things that are omitted from the application, including a traffic study that was recommended by the village's planning consultant. She recommended that a more thorough long assessment form be completed, but the one that was submitted contains very little information. What little information it does include, most definitely requires further study.
State environmental laws require that the "agency" take a hard look at the potential environmental impacts of an application before making a decision, and in this case, before you consider whether to approve rezoning. The DEC regulations require the village board as the lead agency for this unlisted action, to consider the action carefully, to review the environmental assessment form, to review the project under the regulations criteria for significance and any other supporting information to identify the relevant areas of environmental concern. Then, you are required to thoroughly analyze the identified relevant areas of environmental concern to determine if the action may have a significant adverse impact on the environment. (Determining Significance 617.7 Section 2)
Some of the criteria would include:
-An adverse change in air quality, ground or surface water quality, traffic or noise levels (Criteria for determining Significance (i) 617-7)
Trucks will be passing through residential areas and large auto and truck repair facilities have the potential to contaminate the environment from runoff of oil, solvents and hazardous liquids. This can put a residential area at risk. What will be the traffic impact on Manhasset Isle with the inevitable future 88 unit development. Since there is only one way in and one way out, that impact will be significant and an adverse change.
-The creation of a material conflict with a community's current plans or goals as officially approved or adopted. (Criteria for determining significance-(iv) 617-7)
When I was mayor, the village board of trustees adopted the LWRP (local waterfront revitalization program). This is a planning document for the village's future and would certainly meet the criteria of "adopted plans" stated above. Your board, however, has never repealed the LWRP, in fact you have passed two enabling laws for the LWRP, Chapter 151 for the Waterways and a law amending section 155-2 "Purposes" of the Zoning Code which states (11) "To ensure that the Village's commercial maritime heritage will be maintained and enhanced." The LWRP eliminated all industrial zoning in the village but allowed existing industrial uses, many of which are non-conforming, to remain and eventually fade away. The plan calls for marine related uses for the area instead of heavy industrial as this applicant has applied for. The former Mayor Musselwhite in 1986 decided that I-3 should not abut residences.
It would be illegal to proceed with this application without a positive declaration and a full review process. When this has been completed, this application must also meet the criteria set forth in the LWRP.
There is only one thing you should vote on this evening and that is to require the applicant to proceed with a full environmental review and a draft environmental impact statement. Any other action would be a threat to this community's health and safety and would certainly be challenged.
Former Mayor of Manorhaven