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OpinionColumnistsMichael Dobie

Dobie: Subdivision wars in Munsey Park

The vacant lot at the southeast corner of

The vacant lot at the southeast corner of Manhasset Woods Road and Bellows Lane in Munsey Park is pictured Friday, April 25, 2014. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

The last time Munsey Park was in the news was in February when the board of trustees of the tiny village banned basketball hoops from village streets.

Technically, the law banned them from the village's right of way, and merely closed a loophole in a long-standing law that was exposed when a resident requested to erect a hoop on his front-yard grass. The rejection of his request sparked a bit of a media firestorm, with reporters from NBC and CBS joining Newsday in profiling the situation.

Well, the fun-loving village is back with another eyebrow-raiser. This time it's zoning, a bone of contention in municipalities big and small.

The Munsey Park controversy has to do with what the village says is the first subdivision proposal it has received in at least 30 years. A developer has applied to split a parcel that is nearly a half-acre into two nearly 11,000-square-foot plots and build a house on each plot.

Neighbors are not happy. They came in force to a planning board meeting on the subject in November. With another hearing scheduled for Tuesday night, they say they have 300 signatures (the village has 2,700 residents in more than 800 homes, many worth more than $1 million) on an online petition opposing the subdivision.

Their argument: two homes on such small pieces of property would not be in keeping with the character of Munsey Park and would compromise the integrity of the community. Alternate translation: our property values will go down.

There's just one problem: Munsey Park's own village code.

The section in question regarding Residence A zoning reads: "No building shall be erected, altered or remodeled on a lot of an area less than 8,000 square feet."

Which means the proposed 11,000-square-foot lots easily exceed the legal minimum.