The Town of Oyster Bay has begun legal action to seize a privately-owned parking lot serving the Hicksville Long Island Rail Road station even as it seeks to eliminate other nearby parking spaces.
Oyster Bay attorneys filed a petition on April 1 in state Supreme Court in Mineola asking the court to condemn 47 West Barclay St. to “ensure that the public continues to have ample access to commuter parking within the Town of Oyster Bay.”
The town board approved the condemnation 7-0 at its Nov. 16 meeting.
The town argued in court papers that it needs the property to remain available for parking due to a “projected shortfall in the number of available commuter parking spaces” when the LIRR Third Track project is completed. The town and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority failed to reach an agreement to build parking garages to serve the station and to free up some surrounding surface parking lots to be redeveloped as part of a downtown revitalization plan.
The town has leased the 0.486 acre, 65-space parking lot for years. In 2020, it exercised a one-year extension for $49,612. The town said in its court filing that it leases the property month-to-month under an agreement that could be terminated at any time.
The lot owners’ attorney, Elisabetta Coschignano of Uniondale-based Sahn Ward Braff Koblenz PLLC, said the town’s valuation of the property was a non-starter for her clients.
“They rejected it,” Coschignano said of the town’s offer and valuation, adding that she didn’t want to disclose the amount of the offer “at this time.”
Coschignano, a former counsel to the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, said her clients were reviewing their options.
The town announced last month that it had reached an agreement with the LIRR that would allow it to proceed with plans to build a landscaped pedestrian walkway and expand Kennedy Park — projects that would eliminate more than 80 parking spaces that serve the Hicksville station by building on top of them.
Town spokeswoman Marta Kane wrote in an email Tuesday that the “cost” of the property “is still under negotiation” and that the “permanent acquisition of the parking spaces on West Barclay will help offset the impact of losing those spaces,” referring to the parking spaces that would be eliminated by the pedestrian path and park expansion.
The town has taken an interest in 47 West Barclay St. before, commissioning an appraisal of the property in 2009.