Plandome Manor BOT Plans to Vote on 2 Motions (including spending $64k) To Relocate Historic Home & Village Office to Circle Drive, at 1/18/22 Meeting
The Residents of Circle Drive, Colonial Drive, Janssen & Plandome Manor request full transparency from the Plandome Manor Board of Trustees in regard to saving the historic home located at 149 Circle Drive and its plan to relocate it to the village owned Circle Drive lot with the path to the LIRR train platform, and to relocate its office to this home/lot, including details on the following:
- Detailed information and complete transparency regarding:
- The “historical” home located at 149 Circle Drive and why it is deemed “worth saving”
- The Village owned lot on Circle Drive, when it was purchased, from whom, for what purpose and what attempts have been made to use change the current use of the lot and when
- The possible relocation of the historic home to the village owned lot
- Intentions for use of the historic home by the Village
- Reasons for wanting to relocate the Village office, including deficiencies of current location, requirements of new space, and when the Village first began speaking about moving offices.
- Timeline of what has transpired since learning about the historic home possibly being demolished.
- Detailed timeline for plans moving forward, including cost for each line item.
- Information regarding the Village owned lot being updated on the Nassau County Land Record Lookup from 41 Circle Drive to 90 Gristmill Lane. When? Why? How?
- Adjourn all discussions regarding this matter until all questions are satisfied with proper documentation.
- Adjourn the meeting until it can be conducted in person, since there are currently extenuating circumstances - Omnicron.
- Mirror the process that residents of Plandome Manor must adhere to, code § 136-4 Designation of sites and structures, section D, which requires ample notice, and public input in order to proceed with the proposal.
- If the meeting is not adjourned:
- Call upon every person who wants to speak on the record about this matter
- Do not impose time limits on the overall discussion.
- Read all communications from residents regarding this matter during the meeting so that they are entered into the record, including phone messages, this petition and two legal from attorney Richard Lerner at Mazzola Lindstrom LLP, dated and emailed January 17, 2022
- Delay Delay the Board’s approval of the two additional recommended motions outlined in the January 18, 2022 BOT Agenda, as well as any other related decisions, approvals or votes until the community has the opportunity to get all of the information / documentation needed to satisfy all questions, including those posed at the meeting
HOW/WHY WE HAVE GOTTEN TO THIS POINT
Since the Clerk of Plandome Manor sent an email late Friday January 14, 2022 regarding January 18, 2022 BOT meeting / agenda, the Board has conducted itself in a manner that calls into question it’s intentions and actions regarding the relocation of the “historical” home located at 149 Circle Drive to the lot it owns on Circle Drive and using it as their office.
The Village emailed some residents regarding this matter, not all. Only after residents began discussing it on a previously established Circle Drive group text that includes Pat O’Neill, Circle Drive resident, Board Member, and local architect who is responsible for work done on the “historic” home being discussed, did the Village send an additional email with “some facts about the home and the proposed move,” dated Sunday, January 16, 2022. And on Monday, January 17, 2022, Pat O’Neill distributed copies of the email in some residents’ mailboxes.
The board’s lack of transparency, along with consistently sharing inaccurate, partial, confusing and/or untrue information. conjures up even more questions.
BELOW IS A LIST OF SOME OF THE INACCURATE, PARTIAL, CONFUSING AND/OR UNTRUE INFORMATION THE BOARD PROVIDED:
Tuesday’s meeting will be “the FIRST time the BOT is meeting to discuss this proposal.”
→ This is simply untrue. Immediately following this statement in their email, the Village lists numerous actions already taken. They have also informed select residence of other actions taken, including:
- Engaging in conversations with the developer who purchased 149 Circle Drive and coordinated plans for the move, including cost to purchase the home for $1 and a timeline.
- Planning the design of the village owned lot with 4-6 parking spots behind the home.
- Conducting surveys of the village owned property.
- Determining what work must be done to the historic home once it is relocated (Ie: making sure it has a handicap accessible bathroom).
- Taking preliminary steps to register this structure as an historic landmark
- Researching and/or engaging in conversations about possible grant monies to cover project costs and maintenance.
- Presumably spending an unknown amount of our public funds.
- Presumably retaining engineers, architects, attorneys and/or accountants
The board became aware of the possibility to relocate the house at their November BOT meeting (held on November 5, 2021) and continually state that time is of the essence, insinuating that there isn’t time to go through the proper channels.
→ Aside from the fact that there is no mention of the relocation project in the minutes for the November BOT meeting, special meetings can be held (as the BOT does for other important items) and a meeting doesn’t have to take place in order to inform residents, the board chose to first inform residents about the meeting to discuss this matter late Friday of a holiday weekend, just days before the meeting. Plus, they included little to no detail about the relocation project, reasons, costs, etc. Note: the dates of meetings are determined at the beginning of each calendar year, so why didn’t this get sent out at least a few weeks in advance?
It has been 10 weeks since the November BOT meeting, yet the Village did not follow the same standard process that village residents must follow when asking for consideration of designation of a site or structure.
→ As per code § 136-4, D, residents must file an application. And it is required that “owners of all property within a radius of 300 feet of the boundary lines of the affected area be notified by certified or registered mail with details about the nature of the application,” as well as the time and place of the meeting. Additionally, “at least 30 days…prior to the date of the meeting” shall be given. Tenweeks is ample time to follow this process.
The Board would like to “gather feedback and suggestions from residents.”
→ If the Board truly wants to hear from residents, why is only “15 minutes maximum” allocated for “Public Comment” on ”any items of interest?” (as per the meeting Agenda)
There will be additional meetings on this topic.
→ If the BOT’s intention is to “gather feedback and suggestions” and meet in the future to further discuss, why is it necessary to vote on two recommended motions? And why are these motions omitted from the Village’s follow up email “facts about the home and the proposed move,” sent on Sunday, January 16, 2022?
- approve the proposal for architectural and historic preservation services in an amount not to exceed $63,456.
- authorize the Mayor to enter into an agreement to take ownership of the structure?
There was no cost to the village for a variety of listed work performed.
→ For many of the action items that have taken place, the above stated email called out that there was “no cost to the village.” leading residents to believe no monies have been spent. However, the emeil also mentions that the lot size was confirmed by a licensed land surveyor, yet it does not say it was at no cost, It begs the questions: Was there a cost associated with this survey and if so, how much? Have there been other expenditures and if so, for what and how much?
The Village repeatedly states that they want to save the “historic Richardson House,”
→ The historic house was on the market for three years. If the board felt that saving this historic home was critical, why didn’t they purchase it? This would have given them ample time to figure out next steps. Also, if this home was deemed to be worth saving for its historical value, why didn’t others try to save it, such as organizations dedicated to projects like this that have monies and/or can seek grant monies to cover the expenditures?
The Village references a NYT article about a historic home in Plandome Manor and provides a link, without stating why it is relevant to the Richardson home,
→ This approach caused much confusion. Some residents believe that the article was actually written about 149 Circle Drive. Additionally, the Village fails to provide any information about the characteristics they believe the home possesses that are necessary to receive this designation and make it worth saving, versus simply being an “old” house.
Thank you. We appreciate your time and attention to this critical and timely matter.
----- Circle Drive Homeowners for Maintaining our Residential Neighborhood