The Oyster Bay Zoning Board of Appeals has approved Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino’s application for a variance at his waterfront home in East Massapequa.
The variance is required because his side yards don’t have sufficient setbacks to replace a wood deck and install a hot tub at the back of the house, according to the application.
David Purdy, a representative for Saladino, presented the application requesting a variance for a setback of 9.2 feet and 17.5 feet for both side yards combined. Under town code, the house is required to have a minimum 10-foot setback on one side yard and a total of at least 25 feet for the side yards combined.
Purdy, who declined to comment after the June 6 meeting, also presented 13 letters from Saladino’s neighbors consenting to the application.
The application passed 5-0. Rebecca Alesia, who served on the town board before resigning in February, recused herself from the vote.
“The Supervisor’s application followed the same process as every other resident, under an even greater level of scrutiny because of his position, and proves he does everything by the book to rebuild his home from the enormous damage caused by Superstorm Sandy,” town spokesman Brian Nevin said in an email Monday.
Three people spoke in opposition of the variance, including Ned Newhouse, who is running for town board, and Bob Freier, a spokesman for the Oyster Bay Democrats.
Freier raised the issue of previous alterations Saladino made to his home and the town board’s 2017 decision to extend an amnesty program for homes repaired because of superstorm Sandy.
“Mr. Saladino is point-blank saying in that July 11, 2017, meeting, the day he extended amnesty for people who were not in compliance, that he derived zero benefit from extending this amnesty,” Freier said to the board. “It’s just an outright lie.”
Nevin disputed Frier’s comment, saying that Saladino did not benefit from the amnesty extension.
In 2013, Oyster Bay did not require permits to repair damage from superstorm Sandy as long as the property was restored to its previous dimensions. But Saladino’s application in March 2017 to maintain existing work under a town amnesty program states the home was altered, including extending the attached garage, relocating a bathroom and altering the kitchen and dining area.
On July 11, 2017, the town board voted at its regular meeting to extend the permit amnesty program for six months. Saladino said during the meeting that he didn’t “derive any benefit from this program,” according to a transcript of the meeting.
A building department notice shows Saladino’s application to maintain the existing deck was rejected because it didn’t have proper setback and he needed to go to the zoning board by June 22, 2017. On Aug. 11, 2017, he was issued a permit for the existing work on the house, including the deck, with a deadline to obtain a certificate of occupancy by Nov. 9 of that year. He received three extensions and was issued a certificate of occupancy on Aug. 14, 2018. The deck was not included in that certificate and was applied for separately later.
In December, Saladino repaid $15,803.88 for Sandy disaster aid he received through New York Rising to help rebuild his home after a state agency sued him. Saladino was ineligible for the money because it was duplicative of insurance money. The suit was dropped after he repaid the aid.
“We all expect to follow the rules in Oyster Bay,” Freier said. “Just because he’s the supervisor doesn’t mean he should get special treatment.”
ZBA chairwoman Arlene Van Loan said in response that the board could address only Saladino’s variance for the deck.
“In answer to some of the questions that were posed about some open permits, I believe that we presented that there were [certificates of occupancy] on anything that was open and anything else would not be related to this matter,” Van Loan said.