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Amityville faces two lawsuits over zoning board decisions

A view of HRM Tooling & Design in

A view of HRM Tooling & Design in Amityville on Wednesday. Credit: Michael Owens

Amityville is fighting two lawsuits involving decisions made by its zoning board.

The challenges, filed in Suffolk County Supreme Court, are referred to as Article 78 proceedings. The first case, filed in November, involves a decision by the zoning board to deny permission for HRM Tooling & Design, LLC to operate a fiberglass business at 45 Burch Ave. The second filing was made last month by Robert Glaser Jr. over a denial for a renewal of a special exemption permit for a two-family house at 51 Berger Ave.

On Nov. 13, 2017, the board of trustees unanimously approved a Hazardous Material of Operations permit for HRM, which is located in an industrial zone. After complaints from neighbors and being issued violations, HRM applied for a certificate of occupancy but was denied by the village, citing that fiberglass product manufacturing is prohibited under village code, according to the lawsuit.

The company filed an appeal with the zoning board, and at a Sept. 20 hearing, eight residents spoke out against the company, noting noxious smells and health concerns. They also presented a petition signed by 40 residents. The property owners stated that the chemicals used cause cancer only in large amounts, not the amounts used on site. The board voted unanimously to deny HRM’s appeal, noting a “detrimental impact on surrounding residential property,” according to the minutes from the hearing.

In the lawsuit, the company states it had been given clearance by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to manufacture fiberglass. Attorney Glenn Nugent of Amityville, representing HRM, and Phil Siegel of Hauppauge, representing the village, both declined to comment on the case.

In Glaser’s case, he states in the lawsuit that, starting in 2010, the zoning board gave the home, then owned by his grandmother, four two-year permits to be a two-family home. Upon her death, Glaser took over ownership of the house in 2016. Then, last year, Glaser sought to renew the permit for the house, in which he does not live. After a hearing in which six residents spoke out against the house, citing their belief that more than two families resided there, the board denied the application in September.

Glaser said in the lawsuit that there is “simply no valid reason or explanation” for denying his request.

Glaser’s attorney, Bruce Marx of Westbury, declined to comment. Siegel, who so far has been paid $4,127 by the village for both cases, declined to comment.

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