Northport trustee Tom Kehoe resigned from the position of deputy mayor last week after village officials said work on his Mariners Lane property was undertaken without proper permits, including building a foundation too close to the lot lines and building a set of stairs without permission.
Kehoe remains in his elected position as trustee. He said he applied for a permit but had not received it when work started. Kehoe also said the home's foundation was constructed in the wrong location.
"The foundation was put in the wrong spot," Kehoe said in a telephone interview Monday. "Ultimately it's my responsibility. I'm not the surveyor or the mason, but it's my house. As we found out, it was in the wrong spot, I was building without a permit. I had put the papers in but I hadn’t been issued a building permit. I should have not been building what I built."
"I know better. Shame on me," Kehoe added. "I was wrong and I apologize to my colleagues."
Kehoe said he wants also to apologize to his constituents at the next board meeting, May 7. "I felt I should step aside because it's too much of a distraction for the mayor and the rest of the board," he said of his decision to resign as deputy mayor.
In a note posted April 23 on the village website, Mayor Damon McMullen announced that trustee Jerry Maline was the new deputy mayor.
"Jerry Maline has served as a Trustee since 2008. I have worked with him and know firsthand of the dedication he has for the Village of Northport," McMullen said in the note. The mayor did not return calls seeking further comment.
Eugene Spivak, who lives adjacent to Kehoe's property, said his neighbor "should have known better -- he's a trustee. Everyone knows that you have to have a permit."
The construction on Kehoe's property was issued a stop-work order on April 17 after the village zoning board of appeals issued a decision finding the stairwell and foundation noncompliant with his submitted plans. Kehoe is appealing the suspension to the zoning board at a hearing scheduled for May 15.
Kehoe, who also served as a trustee from 2006 to 2014 and was the Northport police commissioner from 2008 to 2014, said he does not intend to step down from his trustee seat.
"I still think I have a lot of good things to do for the people of Northport," he said. "I have another three years on my term and I'm just going to concentrate on the things that I know I can do for Northport, as I've done in the past."