Plandome Manor parking issue won’t go away

Plandome Manor parking issue won’t go away
Plandome Manor trustees approved in July an extension of the existing no parking, standing or stopping law to include all of Circle Drive, Circle Lane, Colonial Drive and Janssen Drive. (Photo courtesy of Google Maps)

By Samuel Glasser

The new parking restrictions on streets near the Plandome LIRR station were brought up again at the Plandome Manor village Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night even though adoption of the budget and reorganization for the new fiscal year were the principal items on the agenda.

During the time for public comments Jesse Rubens and Michael Gilbert, both of Circle Drive, objected to the new neighborhood parking restrictions that took effect in February and the proliferation of “no parking” signs. The large number of new signs is unsightly and the new restrictions “are a remedy in search of crime” that “reduce the quality of life,” Rubens said.

“I’m a homeowner,” Rubens said. “I should be able to stop in front of my own house.”

Village officials have said the restrictions are necessary to ward off commuters parking on the neighborhood streets, which are walking distance to the railroad station. “We have had complaints. We have issues of traffic,” said Mayor Barbara Donno.

Parking restrictions had been under consideration for more than a year.

She said that the village board promised to revisit the new rules three months after they took effect. Parking at the station is at a premium and many of the people parking are from outside the Manhasset-Plandome area, she added.

The new rules, passed by the board last July, prohibit parking, standing and stopping on all of Circle Drive, Circle Lane, Colonial Drive and Janssen Drive from 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The restrictions previously applied only to the section of Circle Drive closest to the railroad station and Colonial Drive and Janssen Drive.

Donno also said that the Town of North Hempstead’s planned repairs to the culvert under North Plandome Road that drains Leeds Pond into Manhasset Bay have been delayed again. The culvert is a piece of critical infrastructure and its deteriorating condition was recognized in 2009.

If it collapses it could block one of two principal evacuation routes out of Port Washington, Donno said. Parts of the road are dipping and part of the adjacent sidewalk has collapsed. “We had a hard winter so the culvert probably sustained more damage,” she noted.

A $1.5 million state grant for the repairs was obtained for the town by former Sen. Jack Martens several years ago, and Donno said she fears that the state could pull the money back due to inactivity on the project.

The Town of North Hempstead built the culvert in the 1950s and in the 1970s promised to maintain it “in perpetuity,” Donno said.

Just over a year ago the town awarded a $200,000 contract to Sydney B. Bowne and Son of Mineola for engineering services for the reconstruction of the culvert. Donno said she understood that the firm was working on a request for proposals that was to have gone out in February with work starting in June.

Bowne, however, has since been acquired by the LiRo Group of Syosset. The town now says that LiRo is working on the proposal which will be issued “sometime in calendar 2018,” Donno said.

The board also adopted the budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year that begins on June 1.

Deputy Mayor Matthew Clinton, who also serves as the budget officer, said the village’s “financial condition remains healthy and liquidity is strong.”

Appropriations total $1.25 million, down from the $1.29 million for the fiscal year concluding in May. Through “efficient use of state grants,” the village essentially held the line on taxes, with a $27 increase per household, Clinton said.

The village also expects to receive two state grants of $100,000 each for the current year ending May 31, and two grants totaling $150,000 for the year beginning June 1.

The board also reported that the village did not exceed its $50,000 snow plowing budget in the winter.

The village appropriated $12,000 in grants to civic associations for beautification. This restores the funds that were reduced during the fiscal crisis about 10 years ago.

The key mayoral appointments approved by the board for one-year terms included:

Matthew Clinton, deputy mayor and budget officer; Tony DeSousa, road commissioner; Ed Butt, building inspector; Robert Rockelein, code enforcement officer and deputy road commissioner; Susan Katz-Richman, associate justice; Stanley Kopilow, village prosecutor; Ira Ginsburg, member, North Shore Cable Commission.

Marie DePalo was named treasurer, completing Phyllis Nowakowski’s term ending March 31, 2019.

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