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Split decision: Property line dispute could alter former pol's voter registration district

Several properties, and the houses on them, straddle the municipal boundary between Glen Cove and an unincorporated hamlet in the Town of Oyster Bay.

On some properties, the boundary between Glen Cove

On some properties, the boundary between Glen Cove and Oyster Bay cuts through houses. Photo Credit: Newsday/Neville Harvey

Until last month, Michael Zangari was a city councilman in Glen Cove, even though most of his property — including the house he and his wife live in — lies in the Town of Oyster Bay.

Now the Nassau County Board of Elections is investigating whether Zangari even has the right to vote in Glen Cove elections, or whether his voter registration should be moved to the adjoining election district in the Town of Oyster Bay.

Representatives of the Nassau County Clerk's office don't have a record of how many properties straddle municipal borders. But the Zangari case is the first of its kind that elections officials in Nassau and Suffolk counties can recall.

“This is certainly, I think, unique,” Suffolk elections Commissioner Nick LaLota said.

The Nassau elections board launched a review of Zangari's voter registration after receiving a residency complaint against him in October. Only a triangular sliver of his property is in Glen Cove, county land records show. Zangari, a Conservative who ran on the Republican line, resigned his council seat on Nov. 19 because he is undergoing intensive cancer treatment.

The property directly behind Zangari also is split between Glen Cove and the unincorporated hamlet of Glen Head, as are several others in the neighborhood. On some properties, the boundary between Glen Cove and Oyster Bay cuts through houses, meaning residents may sleep in a bedroom that is in Glen Cove but eat breakfast in a kitchen that is in Oyster Bay.

Asked whether the board would investigate the voter registration of residents who live on those properties, Bonnie Garone, an attorney for Nassau Democratic elections Commissioner David J. Gugerty, said in a statement, “The Board looks into any address that potentially appears to be in the wrong election district."

No Nassau County statute specifies how to determine where a resident should vote when a residential property straddles municipal lines, Garone said.

When Zangari first ran for council in 2015, his eligibility was challenged by a volunteer for a rival’s campaign. The elections board in 2015 determined that Zangari was eligible to run for council because “he is a duly registered voter in the City of Glen Cove.” He lost that race but won in 2017.

Zangari declined to respond to the new complaint against him but said he pays a small amount of taxes to Glen Cove — which the city confirmed. He pays far more taxes to Oyster Bay, county records show.

Zangari’s house was built in 1952, according to Nassau land records. The location across the boundary likely wasn’t a major issue for the builder, Nassau Deputy County Clerk Eileen O'Donnell said.

“When somebody comes to subdivide, they’re not concerned with jurisdictional lines, they’re concerned with ‘how can we best subdivide this property to develop it,’ ” she said.

Garone said the house has been in a Glen Cove election district since at least 1956, which were the earliest records she could find, and long before Zangari moved into the house in 2009.

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