Neighbors have taken their campaign to the Oyster Bay Town Board to stop a woman from turning her childhood home in North Massapequa into a day care center.
Oyster Bay town officials say the project will not proceed, but state officials say there's little Oyster Bay can do to stop it.
"Towns and other local governments are prohibited from utilizing their zoning and land use authority to prohibit a 'family day care home' that has received an operating certificate from or is otherwise regulated by the Office of Children and Family Services, Division of Child Care Services," Edison Alban, spokesman for the New York State Department of State, said in an email.
Annette Genco, of Long Beach, said she is doing everything "by the book" to get licensed for eight infants. Her day care center would be run by Love Like Home Inc., a firm newly registered with the state. Genco said they have applied for a license from the OCFS, but a spokeswoman from the state office said it did not have an application from them.
At the town board meeting last week, neighbor Chris Shanahan said he was concerned that having day care on the street would affect his quality of life and change the character of the neighborhood.
"We're afraid that once this opens, we're not going to get it closed," Shanahan said.
The town supervisor hinted that the town would stop Genco. "The trail to this town board is filled with would-be business owners and developers who never saw the light of day," Venditto said. "As long as we follow the rules, we are fine and the story will have a happy ending."
Oyster Bay building Commissioner Frederick Ippolito went further. "My recommendation to the board is it's not going to happen," Ippolito said.
Genco said she thought neighbors would be happy with her plans and the $100,000 she's put into renovating the formerly rundown house on North Maple Street that her father purchased in 1953.
Alarmed neighbors called the town, which last month issued a summons for alleged construction on a second apartment at the house -- an apartment Genco said her father built for her brother about 30 years ago.
"It's beautiful outside now," Genco said. "It will be even more beautiful once my neighbors get off my back and let my contractor back in."
Genco, 62, said she wanted the day care center primarily to help her caregivers: She needs regular help after a debilitating stroke left her unable to move the right side of her body five years ago. "I don't need this grief when I'm so ill. I was trying to do a good thing."
A few weeks ago, she said she received an anonymous letter threatening lawsuits, but she said she wouldn't be pushed around.
This type of home-based day care center is common: State records show that 12 currently operate in the same ZIP code and more than 600 operate in Nassau County.
Oyster Bay spokeswoman Marta Kane said the town was "not aware of any complaints to any day care facilities."