Supervisor May Newburger announced with regret today that the Village of Manorhaven has refused to comply with a final deadline for performance of a 1993 contract to purchase a piece of Town-owned waterfront land, bordering Sheets Creek opposite Manhasset Isle, known as Lot 7. The land sale was to have been part of a long-standing plan to acquire a continuous strip of waterfront property for a Village wildlife preserve along Sheets Creek. Closing on the contract of sale had been delayed for years by a lawsuit filed by Dejana Industries, but that lawsuit was recently concluded.
Supervisor Newburger said, "Now that the Dejana lawsuit is concluded, I had hoped that the Village would honor its contractual obligations and proceed with the purchase, so that this environmentally worthwhile project could be realized. Unfortunately, the plan was derailed when the current Village Mayor and his predecessor insisted on modifying the original development concept to allow part of Lot 7 to be sold to Dejana Industries. Dejana wanted the piece of Lot 7 for expansion of their current industrial facility bordering some sensitive wetlands at the waterline. I considered such a modification of the plan to be environmentally irresponsible."
Supervisor Newburger continued, "It is ironic that the Dejana proposal was supported by a number of environmentally-conscious people, several of whom are prominently connected with Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington. They supported the Dejana plan because Dejana had offered, as part of the contractual modification, to donate a small strip of land that would have enabled a shoreline trail to be built connecting Lot 7 to another parcel of parkland that Manorhaven already owns. That is perhaps the first case of the "trail" wagging the dog. The Village could easily create a shoreline trail, if it wished, by condemning the trail corridor. In that way, a shoreline trail could be created without further diminishing Lot 7, which from the standpoint of the environment would have been a far more responsible way to proceed."
Supervisor concluded, "I am very disappointed that the Village has not seen fit to honor its contractual obligations, purchase Lot 7 "as is," and create a trail corridor if that is what the Residents want. Rather, the Village has chosen to default and forfeit its $40,000 contractual deposit. The Town and the Village are now faced with two choices. Either they can litigate this issue and waste even more of their respective taxpayers' money, or they can use their resources to try to salvage something environmentally worthwhile. That is why I have offered to recommend to the Town Board that the Town construct a trail on Lot 7, using as much as necessary of the $40,000 fund that the Village has forfeited, provided that the Village will obtain (by condemnation if necessary) the trail corridor to connect Lot 7 to the existing Manorhaven parkland. In that way, at least the environment will come out of this situation a winner."