Landmark hearings on Elderfields Preserve delayed yet again

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Landmark hearings on Elderfields Preserve delayed yet again
Flower Hill Village Hall in the Village of Flower Hill on May 26. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

A decision on Flower Hill’s landmark designation of the Elderfields Preserve has been stalled once again after months of back-and-forth discussion with the county.

Mayor Randall Rosenbaum said at Monday night’s meeting that the county sent comments back to the village’s attorney, but the village is still not happy with all of the changes.

“I think we need to make some changes to bring it back more toward what it originally had been,” Village Attorney Jeff Blinkoff said.

The Elderfields Preserve, located in Flower Hill, is a four-acre parkland with a main house that includes the original 17th-century home on the property, one of the oldest structures on Long Island, according to the county parks department.

The county acquired the property in 1996 from Henry de V. Williams. The Art Guild of Port Washington currently occupies a space in the building for art studios, classes and shows.

Rosenbaum said the village is seeking to designate it as a landmark because the village wants to preserve the historical sites within its borders.

Landmark designation status prevents structures from being altered, repaired, moved or demolished. If a building permit is filed for the property, the village would then assess the proposal to ensure no harm would be done to the property. If the village designates the Elderfields Preserve as a landmark, the management of the preserve will not change and the county will continue to own it.

No county representative was present for the Elderfields Preserve landmark designation hearing, as Rosenbaum told the county they would not be discussing it at the meeting.

The village adjourned the public hearing, once again, to be continued at the next meeting.

The village also had planned to hold a public hearing to consider an amendment to its noise ordinance, but a stenographer was not present at the meeting to record the hearing. Due to this, the village opted to adjourn the hearing until next month.

Rosenbaum said during the August meeting that the village’s current noise ordinance makes it difficult for tickets to be served for noise violations. While he said this is true, he added that it’s not the village’s goal to ticket individuals but rather to foster peace and quiet for residents.

“Right now the code is close to unenforceable,” Rosenbaum said at the Aug. 7 meeting.

The mayor said noise has been a frequent complaint in the village and the code needs to be adjusted to address those concerns.

No discussion on the amended noise ordinance was held Monday night.

The board did approve requests to use the village’s park for events held by the Women’s Club of Flower Hill, including its annual tree and menorah lighting, annual Easter egg hunt and a newly added concert in the park.

The Christmas tree and menorah lighting will be held Dec. 3 and the Easter egg hunt is scheduled for March 24.

The couples-based concert in the park will be held on Oct. 14, with music from a country line band playing from 6-8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online.

The net proceeds of the adult-only concert will be donated to Mark van Schenkhof, a former teacher at Manhasset High School who was diagnosed with ALS.

Van Schenkhof, otherwise known as “Mr. V” to his students, was diagnosed seven years ago with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a nervous system disease also called Lou Gehrig’s disease that weakens muscles and affects physical function.

The Manhasset community has rallied to support the beloved chorus teacher, including the Women’s Club’s concert. A GoFundMe has raised $72,000 to cover his around-the-clock care.

The village voted to waive all fees for the three events.

The Flower Hill Board of Trustees will convene again Nov. 6, when the board will continue its public hearings on the Elderfields Preserve landmark designation and noise ordinance amendment.

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