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Roundup: Meeting on apartment rules

HUNTINGTON: Accessory apartment rule changes considered.

A public hearing is scheduled Tuesday to discuss tightening Huntington Town code requirements for an accessory apartment permit.

Town law requires that no new accessory apartments be allowed in homes that are not occupied by the owner. Town Board member Susan Berland said there have been cases where owners, who are renting their properties, have tried to skirt the law by claiming to give their tenant a 1 percent ownership stake so they can apply for an accessory apartment.

“We went through the code and put in sections that have a laundry list of documents that now need to be supplied to the accessory apartment hearing officer when a claim is being made of ownership,” Berland said. “Anytime the hearing officer has doubt of the veracity of the ownership of the person coming in asking for an accessory apartment permit they have to provide these documents.”

She said some of the required documents would include certified copies of the deed and title reports.

“We want accessory apartments available to people in owner-occupied properties,” Berland said. “A landlord should not be able to come into the Town of Huntington, buy a house and divide it up into as many units as they’d like. It’s wrong for communities, and it’s wrong for our town.”

She said the tightened law would prevent “phantom owners” from applying for accessory apartments when the property is clearly not owner-occupied.

The hearing will be held during the monthly town board meeting at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 100 Main St.  -- Deborah S. Morris

FARMINGDALE: Vigil, donations for the homeless.

The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless plans to host a candlelight vigil on Feb. 13, paying tribute to those living on the streets and in shelters.

The Garden City based nonprofit’s vigil, Have a Heart for the Homeless, is scheduled from 6  to 8 p.m. at Farmingdale State College.

“This winter, with some of the coldest temperatures on record, we especially need to remember those who have nowhere to call home,” said coalition executive director Greta Guarton.

Those in need will also have the opportunity to receive supplies donated by local volunteer groups, Guarton said.

Last year, 1,551 individuals were living in shelters in Nassau and Suffolk and another 117 living on the streets, according to a tally conducted by the coalition. This year’s figures are being tabulated.

“It’s amazing to see the outpouring of compassion from so many people in our community each year,” said Charles Russo, chairman of the coalition and co-organizer of the vigil.

This event is open to the public, and those looking to volunteer are urged to visit the group’s website at addressthehomeless.org or by calling 516-742-7770.
-- Laura Figueroa

NORTH HEMPSTEAD: Vacant council seat filled.

The North Hempstead town board has formally appointed an East Hills village trustee to fill an open council seat.

The board appointed Peter Zuckerman to serve the town’s Second Council District, in a 5-1 vote on Tuesday. The seat has been vacant since November after longtime councilman Thomas K. Dwyer resigned. An election will take place this fall.

“I have every confidence that Peter Zuckerman will bring great distinction to this board,” Bosworth said.

The plan is for Zuckerman, a real estate attorney and East Hills village trustee since 2003, to take his oath of office Friday at an assembly for the State of the Town address.

Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio cast the no vote. A Republican who opposed Democratic Supervisor Judi Bosworth in November for the town’s top post, De Giorgio said the vote was not personal.

“You seem very eager to do the job . . . I do wish you luck,” she said, but added: “The entire board did not participate in the selection process.”

Bosworth's office has said 10 candidates were screened. -- Scott Eidler

NORTH HEMPSTEAD: Arts center gets a new name.

North Hempstead’s oversized ceremonial scissors were put to use again Wednesday  as town officials marked the renaming of an arts nonprofit in Great Neck.

The Great Neck Arts Center will now be known under its new name, the Gold Coast Arts Center. The change was part of a deal between the nonprofit and the town, which spent $850,000 to pay off the center’s mortgage and debt and took ownership of its space. The town allocated another $150,000 last May for arts programming at the center.

“This is a signature moment, this rebranding,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said at the ribbon-cutting.

A mural by a Paris-based graffiti artist reflecting the new name already decorates the side of the building.

Regina Gil, executive director of the nonprofit, said the signage at the center will reflect the new name by early March. -- Jennifer Barrios

UPTON: BNL to use $1M to help tech businesses

Brookhaven National Laboratory officials plan to use a $1 million grant to expand a solar energy research facility that is expected to enable small technology businesses statewide to conduct research and development.

The funds, which the Regional Economic Development Council awarded in December for the one megawatt facility, will be reimbursed to the lab once the expansion -- the second phase of a $10 million project -- has been completed.

Small technology and research companies across New York State will develop and research renewable energy and smart grid technology, an effort to help get the businesses off the ground.

Technology companies must meet high performance standards when marketing to utility companies, and providing a facility to use data and perform safety research will help, Bob Lofaro, project leader of the expansion, said.

“We’re trying to help them get into the marketplace. It’s a chance to have companies demonstrate their technologies,” Lofaro said.

Advanced energy storage systems, which could help utility companies better manage the grid, is an example of new technology laboratory officials expect these small businesses to research. -- Deon J. Hampton

HEMPSTEAD: Extended hours for town tax payments.

Hempstead Town Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin is collecting payments for the first half of 2014 general taxes and reminds taxpayers that the Feb. 10 deadline is approaching.

There will be extended office hours, two satellite offices, a mobile tax office, drive-through payment windows and the option to pay online. “My office strives to accommodate our customers' needs by providing alternate payment sites, payment options and expanded hours,” Clavin said.

Hours of operation at the main tax office at 200 North Franklin St. in Hempstead will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10. Taxpayers can pay at the drive-through windows behind the main tax office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on those dates. Checks and money orders will be accepted.

Satellite offices at the Rock Hall Museum, 199 Broadway, Lawrence, and Levittown Hall, 201 Levittown Pkwy., Hicksville, serve communities more remote from the main office. Satellites offices will be open to receive checks and money orders from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10.

The Mobile Tax Office is set to visit the following locations from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Feb. 3, Elmont Memorial Library, 700 Hempstead Tpke.; Feb. 4, Town Parking Lot O-3, Davison Avenue, Oceanside, across from the library; Feb. 6, Merrick Senior Center, 2550 Clubhouse Rd.; Feb. 7, Franklin Square Senior Center, 1182 Martha Place.

When paying in person, bring the entire bill.

For a small fee to an outside processing agent, tax payments can also be made online via credit card or e-check by logging onto the town's website at www. TOH. LI. Follow the Receiver of Taxes link to Online Tax Payments, or call Official Payments Corp. at 1-877-306-6056.

For more information, visit the town’s website or call the Office of Receiver of Taxes at 516-538-1500. -- Sid Cassese

FREEPORT: Negative outlook for village credit.

Moody’s Investors Service has reaffirmed the Village of Freeport’s credit rating, but also assigned it a “negative” outlook.

The Manhattan-based service continued the village’s A1 bond rating, which affects $118.1 million in long-term outstanding debt. The rating is service’s fifth-highest, and reflects a low credit risk and an upper-medium investment grade.

However, Moody’s said in a statement, the village faces “sizable pressures” to reach structural balance, and it could face a bond rating downgrade if it shows an “inability to maintain balanced operations.”

Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy released a statement Wednesday that he believed the rating was “fair.”

Moody’s statement, released Wednesday, concluded Freeport should strive to restore its reserves and reduce its reliance on one-time revenue boosts.

The village also needs to be wary of losing revenue to tax appeals with several of its largest taxpayers, the statement reported.

Freeport’s bond rating could go up if the village’s tax base expands, Moody’s noted. -- Patrick Whittle

Tags: Long Island , towns

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