A new moratorium will halt all construction within the Village of Manorhaven for the next six months to give officials time to address and update building codes and laws.
Trustees unanimously approved the local law during a village board meeting Wednesday. Manorhaven will also not accept or process any special permit, site plan approval, demolition permits or building permits during this period. No person or entity may subdivide any property in the village, either.
Mayor John Popeleski said the village took the action to “preserve what [Manorhaven] has left.”
“We’re going over all our codes and laws and we want to see what’s right,” Popeleski told The Island 360. “We do have a lot of antiquated codes that need to be updated.”
Trustees also passed another six-month moratorium on free-standing or ground-mounted cell node installation systems. The village will fine anyone who violates these laws between $500 to $1,000. Every day the violation persists will count as a separate offense.
“I can’t stop a builder from building a house,” said Popeleski. “But the village can turn around and say ‘Okay, look, you want to split your house? No problem. But these are our new laws.'”
Some spoke out against the moratorium during the meeting’s public hearing session.
Joshua Brookstein, a partner with Sahn Ward Braff Koblenz PLLC spoke on behalf of his client, MBA-Manorhaven LLC. He said the village’s timeframe for sharing the then-proposed law with the public was too short.
“My client learned about the proposed legislation earlier today and was not provided with a copy of the draft local law prior to tonight’s hearing,” said Brookstein. “As such, [MBA-Manorhaven LLC] respectfully urges the board to continue this matter. To give it and the general public an opportunity and sufficient time to study the proposal and submit comments to this board for review and comment.”
Village Clerk-Treasurer Sharon Abramski posted a legal notice for the law’s public hearing on Oct. 14.
Manorhaven imposed a similar moratorium in 2016. Brookstein referred to it and condemned it along with any others that might be implemented in the future.
“If the intent of this law is to address the concern proliferation of multifamily residents,” he said. “Why then is my clients’ property, which receives approvals from this board to develop its property, included under the proposed moratorium when such approvals remain in full force and effect?”
Kevin Boroumand, another lawyer and developer in the village, expressed a similar opinion. He said nobody gave him a copy of the proposed law nor notice of it prior to the hearing.
“This will have a significant impact on not just people who are planning to develop in the village,” said Boroumand. “But actually people who have already expended considerable sums to develop in this village and by its terms.”
Not all comments were negative. Elizabeth Clarke, a resident, said it is time to review the village’s zoning laws and building codes.
“I’m so in favor of [the local law],” she said. “The destroying of homes and the construction that’s going on here for the last four years has been ridiculous. It seems like every street and house has gone down and it’s time to put a wall up.”
The village is passing both laws under Village Law, Municipal Law, Home Rule Law and the State Environmental Quality Review Act and its implementing regulations, the meeting agenda said.
The village used a similar justification in September when they expanded their zoning and planning boards to seven members.