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Oyster Bay has no plans to replace Frederick Ippolito

Former Town of Oyster Bay planning commissioner Fred

Former Town of Oyster Bay planning commissioner Fred Ippolito leaves federal court in Central Islip on Jan. 26, 2016. Ippolito pleaded guilty to tax fraud. Photo Credit: James Carbone

Oyster Bay has no plans to find a new planning and development commissioner to replace Frederick Ippolito, Town Supervisor John Venditto said at Tuesday’s town board meeting.

“There’s no urgency at the moment,” Venditto said in response to questions from a town resident.

Ippolito was forced out of his position after pleading guilty to felony tax evasion in federal court in Central Islip in January. His sentencing date has not been set.

Venditto said that the two deputy commissioners, Timothy Zike and Diana Aquiar, are running the department “very well.”

“So far we’re doing fine and we’re going to stay that course until we see the need to appoint a commissioner,” Venditto said. He said an appointment would be made in the future.

Venditto said that Councilman Chris Coschignano, the town board’s liaison to the department, was looking at its operations and would report his findings back to the board.

Coschignano said in an email that “at some point in the future . . . the supervisor and the board will address the long-range plans for the office of commissioner.”

Constance Goodwin, of Locust Valley, told the board it was important for the town to have a commissioner to make sure town codes are enforced.

“Without that person in charge I don’t see how you can continue to do what’s necessary and right for the community,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin has sued the town and the owner of a property adjacent to her house in a dispute over construction and town codes on the adjacent property. That suit, filed in state Supreme Court in Mineola in 2013, is ongoing.

A week after Ippolito’s plea, the town board approved an executive order by Venditto to suspend the site plan for a Sikh temple under construction in Plainview. The town justified the measure as a response to the temple allegedly not following a certain parking plan. The Sikh temple leadership has said the approved plan didn’t include that parking plan.

Town officials have made those plans available to residents near the temple site but not to Newsday, which on Feb. 9 filed a Freedom of Information Law request to review them. A town official said Tuesday that those plans would be made available to Newsday this week.

Residents living near the temple, who have complained about parking issues, and Sikh congregants, who have complained that the town’s actions have unnecessarily delayed construction, addressed the board Tuesday.

Venditto’s executive assistant Steven Marx said Tuesday he had met with both parties to resolve the issues, but that they were nearing an impasse.

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