The Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations said goodbye to longtime President Richard Bentley Wednesday night as Rob Donno provided an update on the ongoing Plandome Road sewer project.
Donno, of the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, said the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District has requested a road opening permit from the town to install piping at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and Plandome.
“We are moving forward,” Donno said during his report. “We’ve got the team put together and it’s going to happen.”
The council, comprised of 12 civic and homeowners associations throughout the Manhasset area, held elections during their May 10 meeting, electing First Vice President Andrew Schwenk of the South Strathmore Civic Association to replace Bentley.
Replacing Schwenk is Rosemary Mascali of the Plandome Heights Civic Association. Susan Auriemma and Donald O’Brien are keeping their current roles as second vice president and treasurer, respectively.
“We have brought in a lot of good and you have definitely impacted the community,” said Schwenk. “On behalf of the greater council, thank you very much.”
Bentley, who was president for over 15 years and is part of the Bayview Civic Association, was in charge in 2018 when cannabis company MedMen was seeking to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Northern Boulevard in Manhasset.
Daniel Yi, MedMen’s senior vice president at the time, said fierce pushback was a big factor in their decision to look elsewhere.
“The opposition was obviously very vocal and they made it very clear they don’t want us there, so we’re moving on,” Yi told Blank Slate Media.
Bentley also spoke against a 2020 proposal to put a 7-Eleven in a long-abandoned location on Plandome, an issue that received over 1,200 signatures in an online petition.
The application was withdrawn in January of the following year.
North Hempstead Council Member Veronica Lurvey, who represents the unincorporated areas of Manhasset in the town’s fourth district, gave Bentley a special declaration on behalf of the town board recognizing Wednesday night as his official retirement as president.
Lurvey was joined by Supervisor Jennifer DeSena and Council Member Mariann Dalimonte, who each shared the impact Bentley has made on them.
“You’re a great role model for all of us,” DeSena said. “You inspire all of us to keep giving to the community. We’re all here because we have a leader like Richard.”
Dalimonte thanked Bentley for what she’s learned from him and said that she’s brought the roundtable discussions the civic has had to her district in Port Washington because of his leadership.
The North Hempstead Town Board in April allocated $3.1 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to the sewer project, which is based on cost estimates of $1.76 million allocated for up to 88 property owners at approximately $20,000 per connection, according to a press release at the time from Lurvey’s office.
The first part of the project, which includes installing the main sewer line, is funded by a $5 million grant secured last year by state Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti (D-Port Washington) and then-state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills).
The second half of the project includes connecting the businesses to the newly-installed sewer line.
Donno added a committee has been formed of all parties involved to monitor the progress.