Saturday, June 2, 2007

Dirt pile destroys neighboring property's garage


Last summer, on August 19, a large pile of dirt fell from Cavagnaro Mason Supply property on Brightside Avenue in East Northport on to the garage located on the neighboring property causing a 3,000-square-foot one-story garage to be severely damaged.

The building on the Brightside Avenue property, currently owned by Dave and Margaret Weber who also own Seymour’s Boatyard, has served for 40 years as a sort of adjunct storage and repair facility for the waterfront boatyard on Bayview Avenue in Northport Village, even before the Webers owned the business.

Mr. Weber said that Cavagnaro Mason Supply owner Stephen Cavagnaro, a member of the same family that owns large parts of Northport Village’s Central Business District, was devastated when the incident took place.
“He was sick over it,” Mr. Weber said. “But the insurance took care of part of it and he is picking up the rest.”
Payment for a replacement building, then, is the least of Mr. Weber’s worries. Getting approval for the new site plan submitted in February and the necessary variances and special use permit is proving to be a bit more difficult. A boatyard is not a specified use for properties zoned I-5 General Industry. The property is near the parking lot for Gold’s Gym on Larkfield as well as parking for the Long Island Rail Road’s Northport station.
A four-feet variance is needed for the two-way driveway where 25 feet is required and the site plan shows only 21 feet. Another variance is required for a dumpster that will not have an enclosure. Also, the site plan shows that parking will be closer than five feet to the new building where that is not allowed. The Webers received certification from the East Northport Fire District’s Fire Marshal that the parking variance wouldn’t hinder access to the building.
A week after the deluge of dirt on to Mr. Weber’s property, the Town of Huntington Department of Engineering Services condemned the building and ordered Mr. Weber to apply for a demolition permit, which the department immediately granted. Only a small front portion of the southern-facing building remained after the demo and the Webers need their building back.
The couple’s attorney, Robert Flynn of law firm Flynn and Flynn, wrote in a letter to the planning department that the Weber’s seek to “resume identical use of property.”
A member of the Planning Department staff, however, wrote a memo to the Town Zoning Board of Appeals stating, “Although it would seem as if the site is a clean slate for construction of a fully conforming site plan after removal of the former building upon the issuance of a demolition permit by Engineering Services and the applicant may try to reason to the ZBA that the application is two replace a former facility and site should be reconstructed” the application requires careful consideration. The memo also urged the Board to consider the surrounding residential properties. The two residences appear to be multi-family rental units built in the first half of the last century.
The letter cites the Town’s code Section 198-106 that reads that, “no building damaged by any cause to the extent of more than 50 percent of the reconstruction cost of the total structure shall be reconstructed except in conformance with the regulations of the district in which it is located.”
Since only approximately 25 percent of the building was preserved and the boatyard repair and storage is not an allowed use, the special use permit is required.
The Webers are scheduled to appear before the BZA June 14.

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