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'They have spread like an infestation,' says one condo resident suing village, car dealer

Village of Amityville Town Hall

Village of Amityville Town Hall Credit: Google Map

The residents of a condominium complex are suing the Village of Amityville over a decision to allow a nearby auto dealership to expand.

The Snug Harbor senior condominium complex and residents are listed as plaintiffs. They are suing the village and Security Dodge over the 4-1 June vote by village trustees to grant Security special-use permits to legalize 335 Merrick Rd. as an employee and customer parking lot and to build a one-story, quick-service shop with six bays at 339 Merrick Rd.

Snug Harbor residents, who live in 176 homes near Security, have long complained about late-night noise and speeding by employees. At an August 2019 hearing on the special permits, several residents spoke in opposition.

"They have spread like an infestation," Snug Harbor resident Laura Gribbins said of Security during the hearing, according to a transcript filed in the case. "All of this expansion diminishes the appeal to future homeowners, investors and it ravages the home values of our current residents." Gribbins is a named plaintiff in the case.

Security sued the village after its request for a site plan review for 335 Merrick Rd. was rejected in 2016, based on a 2006 village law that bans further automotive uses in the area. A state Supreme Court judge struck down the lawsuit in 2018, stating that the parking lot is a nonconforming use under village code. Security is appealing that decision.

The Snug Harbor lawsuit states that trustees lacked the authority to grant the special-use permits because under village code the permits could only be granted if the proposed automotive use is permitted within that area or the use was authorized by a variance from the zoning board. The lawsuit further maintains that Snug Harbor residents "will sustain direct and immediate injury" if the Security expansion is allowed and asks for preliminary and permanent injunctions against Security.

In its response, the village denied the assertions of the lawsuit and asked for it to be dismissed. Security, in a response filed on Thursday, also denied the lawsuit’s declarations and stated that the trustees have "full authority and jurisdiction" to issue the permits and that "no use variance is required."

The village is being represented by Siegel & Sitler PLLC of Hauppauge, the same firm officials recently chose to take over in the Security appeal. The village had previously been using former village attorney Richard Handler in the appeal and has so far paid him $26,836 and Siegel & Sitler $12,175 for the cases.

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