Plan to buy Manhasset parking, office space draws fire
The Town of North Hempstead is looking next door to its town hall in Manhasset for extra parking and office space. And Monday night neighbors spoke out, criticizing the town’s planned purchase.
Supervisor Jon Kaiman told residents the town had placed a bid for $625,000 on the property at 51 Andrew St., a residence adjacent to town hall, with the aim of using it for 10 parking spots and office space.
But residents expressed concern about the cost, whether there’s a need for more office and parking space as well as the destiny of the empty three-story house.
“Is that really in the best interests of the town – all of us?” asked Terri Riggin, who lives on the other side of the available house.
The house, owned by a bank, went back on the market for $599,000 a month ago after sitting empty for a year with an $800,000 price tag, according to Riggin’s husband, Bill.
Kaiman said he wants the town board to vote on the purchase within a month before the bank has a chance to sell the property to another buyer. The board next meets on Sept. 8.
Kaiman insisted that he will not tear down the house but said future administrations would have the legal authority to do so. “If we do acquire the house, we want to do it with the least adverse effect to the neighborhood,” he said.
Kaiman said code enforcement official would operate out of the house temporarily. He said he didn’t know how much eventual work on the site would cost, but said town employees would do the construction.
Others at the special public forum said the project is being rushed and alternatives should be explored. “There’s a lack of planning and due diligence,” said Ron Rainone of Manhasset. “It’s a cowboy approach.” Residents urged Kaiman and the town to explore options.
“There is no fire. You owe it to your residents and your constituents to be transparent and to do it in a level-headed way,” said George Faeth.