Manorhaven meeting erupts over discussion on Matinecock property

Manorhaven meeting erupts over discussion on Matinecock property
A Manorhaven residents addresses the board of trustees Wednesday night. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

The Manorhaven Board of Trustees meeting lit up Wednesday night with insults and angry exchanges between members of the public and board members after Trustee Jeffrey Stone asked for a public discussion on the development of 12-20 Matinecock Ave. – a property that has been the root of prior disputes.

The Matinecock property located along the Manhasset Bay’s waterfront is a mixed-use project development combining residential units and public spaces.

At the end of Wednesday evening’s meeting, Stone asked if the board could have a public discussion on the development of the property. He said this was inspired by multiple residents asking him for information on the property because they wanted to know the status of its construction.

“That might be a good thing to explain to them and myself,” Stone said. “I’m in the dark about what’s going on myself, maybe the board as well. But to present this to the public, let them know what the builders are doing here so that their concerns are taken care of.”

Stone said his asking for a discussion was not meant to signal support for or against the development. He said it would be for the purpose of transparency so that he and the residents could be better informed on the matter.

After Stone said he had not been able to attend all the prior meetings regarding the property and keep up with developments before joining the board last June, Mayor John Popeleski suggested he resign as trustee since it may be too time-consuming.

“This is the most transparent board that we’ve had in years,” Popeleski said. “We are an open door policy to anybody that walks in here and asks a question. And you turn around and you say that we’re not transparent? Come on, Jeff, I mean really?”

Stone said he had asked for the property to be discussed Wednesday night but that it was not added to the agenda.

“This is not about me as it’s about everybody in the know of what’s going on here so everything is being done good, well, whatever,” Stone said.

When the trustee said the discussion would ensure the property’s development was being done properly, the room erupted in chatter.

Multiple times residents and members of the board were asked to quiet down and allow people to speak one at a time throughout the meeting.

Trustee Khristine Shahipour said the property development is being conducted properly.

Multiple trustees disputed Stone’s claims that residents are inquiring about the property. Shahipour asked where the concerned residents were, to which one resident raised her hand in response.

Attorney Anthony J. Piacentini, who represents the property owners, questioned Stone’s motive in inquiring about the property’s development, asking if it was a ruse to create controversy before running for mayor. Stone denied this.

“You are indirectly challenging the authority of the Board of Ttustees who acted back in November of 2023, the Board of Zoning and Appeals that granted the permit to do the building here in December of 2023,” Piacentini said. “So why all of a sudden you come along challenging these people because you may have heard that some people are upset today? We always have people in the village who are going to be upset with development.”

Piacentini said he thinks Stone is acting discriminately against the property owners due to their nationality and said the trustee could be sued if he had any information proving this.

Member of the public Anthony Soldano yelled out during the discussion asking why Stone’s inquiry was only regarding the property owners Ed Mayourian and Michael Boroumand, who also own 59 Orchard Beach Blvd. This other property has also been discussed in meetings due to concerns expressed by Stone and residents.

“You only open your mouth when it comes to [Mayourian],” Soldano screamed out at Stone.

Popeleski said that while Stone was “attacking” the Matinecock property owners, he accused him of trying to help a business owner get rid of their violation fees. This was an allegation also brought forward by a resident earlier in the meeting.

Stone accused Popeleski of “making up stories,” which Popeleski declared was an attack to “belittle” him before Stone challenged him in the mayoral race.

Stone did not confirm whether or not he is running for mayor.

Popeleski told Stone that if he was concerned about the property, then it could be discussed at the board’s work session.

Popeleski said if residents have questions, they can reach out to him directly or get additional information at Village Hall through the Building Department.

Popeleski ended the meeting after Stone made a comment to the court reporter, who had asked for one individual to speak at a time for the record, saying: “I thought you were talented.” Stone said this was intended to be a joke but was called out by other board members for being disrespectful.

The Manorhaven Board of Trustees will convene again on March 6 for a budget hearing.

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