The Muttontown Village Board amended its village code last week to settle a long-standing lawsuit over a 107-acre plot.
The change allows Muttontown Acres LLC to gain two more lots from a potential subdivision of the property. The owner can now divide the land into up to 25 lots instead of the 33 it sought in a lawsuit, Mayor James Liguori said at the board’s Sept. 18 meeting.
In return, Muttontown Acres agreed not to file a subdivision application until June 2022. It also agreed not to begin building for another eight years, though it may install “roads, sewer lines, curbing, sidewalks and other necessary infrastructure” after June 2022, according to the settlement, which was filed in April.
The Woodside Club, a country club that includes a golf course, currently operates on the property off Muttontown Eastwoods Road.
“In essence we fought to prevent them from building today, and the only concession we gave was allowing them to get two additional houses in eight years,” trustee Chris Economou said at the meeting.
Megan Carroll, a Garden City-based attorney for Muttontown Acres, said in a statement that her clients were “pleased that this matter was resolved to the parties’ mutual satisfaction.”
Muttontown Acres sued in 2013 after the village adopted codes that restricted its development to 23 lots, Liguori said. The village settled in April shortly before the start of a trial scheduled in Nassau County Supreme Court, according to Village Attorney Keith Corbett.
The settlement called for the board to vote on two changes to the code. One amendment added that the 50-foot buffer, which is required of every lot, be included as part of the calculation of a lot’s total area. The “extra 50-foot strips” when added together “allow them to accumulate an extra two more lots,” Corbett said at the meeting.
The board also voted 5-0 to change its definition of “freshwater wetland” to exclude “artificially inundated” areas.
Some residents expressed concern that the code changes would open the door to more development in the village. Satbir Singh, who has lived in Muttontown for the past 20 years, said it was like “opening a can of worms.”
Matthew Guerra, an attorney for the Syosset Central School District, said at the meeting that the district didn’t oppose development but that it is “not in the position to absorb” additional students.
Liguori said the settlement saved the village potentially “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in legal fees and that it had already spent about $200,000 on the case.
“The village did an excellent job of protecting the taxpayers and maintaining a quality of life that our residents deserve,” Liguori said.
TERMS OF THE DEAL
- The Muttontown Village Board will vote on an amendment to include perimeter buffers in calculating a lot’s area for zoning regulations.
- The board will vote on changing its definition of “freshwater wetland” to exclude “artificially inundated” areas.
- Muttontown Acres LLC will not file a subdivision application until June 30, 2022.
- Muttontown Acres LLC will not engage in “vertical construction” for eight years. It may install “roads, sewer lines, curbing, sidewalks and other necessary infrastructure” after June 2022.