Court fight continues over Oyster Bay dog facility

Owner Melanie Nardiello stands outside with some of Owner Melanie Nardiello stands outside with some of the dogs currently at Two by Four dog daycare center in Oyster Bay on Friday, March 7, 2014. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

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A judge has blocked the Town of Oyster Bay from shutting down a dog day care and boarding center.

The order issued Thursday comes before resolution of a lawsuit over the town's refusal for more than a year to issue permits for the facility.

Attorneys for the town and Melanie Nardiello of Oyster Bay, owner of the center, Two By Four New York, will be back in State Supreme Court in Mineola Monday for a hearing.

Town attorney Leonard Genova said the town will present Nardiello's Oyster Bay attorney, Richard Hutchinson, for the first time with a written list of all the building code violations at the two structures at the facility that must be remedied in an effort to resolve the impasse.

Nardiello sued in January when she had not received a building permit she applied for in December 2012. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bucaria granted Hutchinson's request to prevent the town from closing the business while that suit was pending.

Hutchinson was back in court last week asking Justice Arthur Diamond to declare Planning Commissioner Frederick Ippolito in contempt after Ippolito wrote Nardiello last Tuesday that her leased buildings at 34 South St. in Oyster Bay "present an imminent danger to the occupants" and would be boarded up by Friday. Diamond on Thursday reaffirmed the earlier order that the town cannot close Two By Four pending resolution of the lawsuit.

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In the suit, Nardiello said that "rather than getting help from the town . . . the commissioner is bullying me." She said the town continually makes requests for new improvements, but won't issue a building permit that contractors need for the work.

Genova said: "We have told them what to do, and they have not done it. We have made every effort to try to assist them. We have given them verbally multiple times a list of things they needed to correct."

As for Hutchinson's motion for a contempt citation, chief deputy town attorney Frank Scalera said the original restraining order in January was based on information about the site at the time. He said Ippolito wrote the latest letter based on additional problems discovered in a subsequent site visit.

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Two By Four has been grooming, watching or boarding overnight up to 20 canines at a time in a former coal-yard facility. Nardiello said she started a dog-walking business after she and her husband lost their jobs in 2008. After walking dogs at customers' houses, she expanded and began day care at her house until neighbors complained to the town. So in the summer of 2012, she incorporated and leased 34 South St. and began working there last May.

In December, she applied for a building permit to renovate the office and for the construction of a prefab barn to house the dogs. The following month, after the barn was erected, Ippolito wrote that the structures were dangerous and would be boarded up.

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