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Frederick Ippolito did not violate permit on property, DOT says

An Oyster Bay official who has stored boats on unpaved state property did not violate a state-issued permit, a state Department of Transportation spokesman said Tuesday.

A state permit allowing Oyster Bay's building and planning Commissioner Frederick Ippolito to use an acre behind his Syosset home requires him to follow local law, but the onus of enforcement is on the town. Town code prohibits off-street parking on unpaved surfaces in residential districts.

"NYSDOT has found Mr. Ippolito has not violated the terms of his permit, as far as the state portion is concerned," spokesman Beau Duffy said. "The permit does require that he follow all local laws. . . . If the town finds that Ippolito violated local ordinance, the department would expect to be notified as owner of the property."

Ippolito appeared to fall within a loophole, as the state deferred to the town, and the town deferred to the state.

"We have no jurisdiction over state property," Tom Sabellico, an attorney with the town, said Tuesday.

The state began its investigation after receiving complaints from Massapequa resident Robert Ripp, whom the town prosecuted for a misdemeanor offense of storing his boat on unpaved property at his home.

The town's code enforcement bureau, which is part of the building and planning department that Ippolito heads, cited Ripp and would be responsible for citing Ippolito.

Ippolito pays $150 per month for the permit for "beautification" and two storage sheds at the secluded, grassy clearing, state documents show.

"There is no specific provision in the permit that prohibits parking vehicles on the property," Duffy said.

Town officials are withholding a report given to the Nassau County district attorney that Supervisor John Venditto said shows no wrongdoing by Ippolito. Venditto said Sabellico is researching whether state Freedom of Information Law would allow its release.

Robert Freeman, executive director of the state Committee on Open Government, said FOIL did not prohibit its release. "Records may be withheld in accordance with the exceptions appearing in . . . [the law] but there is no requirement that records must be withheld, even if there is authority to do so," Freeman said.

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