The former property owners of a Hicksville parking lot seized by the town of Oyster Bay through eminent domain are seeking $950,000 in damages, according to a court filing last week.
The town condemned the property, 47 West Barclay St., which it had leased from the owners for years for use as a parking lot, in order to guarantee that it remains a parking lot serving the Long Island Rail Road station, according to town officials and court filings. State Supreme Court Judge Vito DeStefano granted the town’s condemnation request on June 6 and gave the owners 120 days to submit a claim for damages following notification.
The owners’ attorney, Elisabetta Coschignano of Uniondale-based Sahn Ward Braff Koblenz PLLC, filed a notice of claim on Aug. 9 seeking $950,000 plus interest. Coschignano did not respond to requests for comment.
The owners — George Thomas, Barbara Grillo as trustee of the Rose McGeever Trust, Florence Gries, Michael Caruso and Alexander Caruso — did not oppose the condemnation when the town began the seizure proceedings in April.
Oyster Bay spokesman Brian Nevin wrote in an email Thursday that the former owners were offered $800,000 and that town officials disagreed that the property’s value is $950,000.
Last week, the town board approved paying an $8,187 tax bill on the property, the amount due for the second half of 2022. Oyster Bay is seeking state legislation that would retroactively exempt the property from taxes and result in a reimbursement from Nassau County.
Oyster Bay initiated the condemnation with an Aug. 17, 2021, hearing after town officials and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority failed to reach an agreement on the construction of a parking garage on the same street that was to be a key component of a larger plan to revitalize Hicksville. The original plan envisioned three parking garages, including one funded by the MTA, that would have freed up land used as surface parking lots to be developed for public and private use.