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Mastic Beach and property owners association agree to transfer ownership of some waterfront

Ownership of a 6-mile stretch of waterfront in Mastic Beach Village will transfer from a property owners association to the village in the next two months, officials said.

The board of trustees, in a 3-2 decision Tuesday night, agreed to have the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association hand over the property along with a marina. The agreement comes after a settlement of a lawsuit between the village and the association.

As part of the agreement, the association will retain a second marina along with a clubhouse.

Mayor Bill Biondi said he expected paperwork laying out the terms of the settlement to be sent to State Supreme Court Justice Thomas F. Whelan in Riverhead in two months for certification.

Trustees Gary Stiriz, Maura Spery and Bruce Summa voted for the settlement, while Biondi and trustee Nick Busa voted against it.

"I spoke to more than 120 residents and people wanted this done and finished. The village needs to heal," Stiriz said in an interview minutes after the meeting.

The settlement ends a contentious lawsuit that Mastic Beach Village filed against the association on May 10, 2011, over the title to the waterfront and marinas. More than 140 residents attended the Tuesday night meeting, which was held at Paca Middle School instead of Village Hall because a large crowd was expected.

Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Jerry Garguilo, on July 7, 2014, denied both parties' motion for summary judgment, instead asking both sides to reach a settlement. The association agreed to the settlement last month.

A member of the association, Jennifer Griffin, who attended Tuesday's meeting, said she wanted the waterfront transferred to the village for public use.

"It should belong for all of us," she said in an interview. "It's not for any special little group."

Questions about the uses of the waterfront have split the village, as control over it was one reason Mastic Beach hamlet split from Brookhaven in 2010 and incorporated as a village.

Some village officials say the litigation, which began in 2011, has kept the village from getting nearly $1 million in federal and state funds to repair the waterfront and marinas damaged by superstorm Sandy.

Despite his vote, Biondi said he wants to village to move on.

"The voters are the ones getting hurt. The only way this village is ever going to move forward is to work together," he said. "I've never seen so much fighting and venom."

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