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Oyster Bay or Babylon? Boundary confusion over dog park halts vote on sale

Oyster Bay officials want to sell the East Massapequa dog park and build a new one next to it. Park users say they prefer the wooded area to be left alone.

The Oyster Bay Town dog park in East

The Oyster Bay Town dog park in East Massapequa, seen here on Monday Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Oyster Bay wants to sell the town’s East Massapequa dog park and build a new one next to it in Suffolk County, town spokesman Brian Nevin said Thursday.

The Oyster Bay Town Board on Tuesday tabled a resolution that would have declared the town’s dog park and wooded areas on the north, west and southern side of the block to be surplus property that would have made it possible for the town to sell it for a minimum of $5.88 million.  

“The town of Oyster Bay will be constructing a new state-of-the-art dog park on the eastern end of the property,” Nevin said in an email. “The remaining property will be returned to the [tax] rolls to help reduce the current tax burden on homeowners.”

The town bought the land — an entire block cut by the Suffolk-Nassau county line — in 2008 for $5.7 million from Engel Burman Senior Housing of Cold Spring Harbor LLC, Nassau County and town records show. The Nassau portion of the block is 4.47 acres and the Suffolk portion, in Babylon Town, is 0.82 acres, according to the counties’ records. The town built the dog park on the Nassau portion of the property.

Nevin said the new dog park would be built on the portion of the block that is in Suffolk, which is currently a wooded area.

The Thursday announcement was a reversal from information posted on the town’s website Monday and administration statements made ahead of what was supposed to be a vote on Tuesday.

An Aug. 31 memorandum from the town attorney’s office stated that “the Suffolk County portion of the property houses the dog park and the Nassau County portion has not been used.”

“The dog park is not in Nassau County,” Oyster Bay special counsel Thomas Sabellico said Monday. The “dog park is in the town of Babylon."

But Nassau tax maps showed the dog park in Nassau County and on Tuesday, before the vote, Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia said in a text message about the land sale that she had “conflicting information on it and am going to ask for it to be tabled.”

Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino then announced that the resolution, and several others related to town land, would be tabled.

“We would like more information on these, as well as our process to look at overlays that are still being prepared, so we can look more holistically across the town,” Saladino said.

Dog park visitors and nearby residents on Thursday said they opposed selling the land for development.

“Leave it alone,” said Jon Romano, 38, who lives a half block from the dog park and works in cybersecurity. “It’s nice to have some kind of woods around here.”

Romano said he would rather see the wooded area developed into a park than residential or commercial buildings.  

“I like it the way it is,” said Charles Sollecito, 31, a correction officer from Lindenhurst who took his German shepherd to the park Thursday. “The trees are good for everyone.”

“This place is kind of put together perfectly,” said Sean Ryan, 23 a chef from Massapequa who was with his Labrador mix at the park. With “the tree line it’s kind of secluded,” he said.

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