Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino joined with residents of the Jericho and Old Westbury communities in demanding that Nassau County Executive Laura Curran abandon all plans for a homeless shelter in Jericho. Despite losing in court six months ago, Nassau County’s partners in the project filed a new lawsuit against the Town in March 2021.
Supervisor Saladino stated, “County leaders clearly refuse to drop their plans, and feel above the law when it comes to the Town Zoning Laws, which have been in place for decades. We have news for the County – this project will not happen on our watch! The project violates local zoning laws and the community opposes it. Recently, the Town returned legal arguments to the court. The Town of Oyster Bay will continue to enforce zoning laws. No one is exempt from, or above the law, not even Nassau County.”
Upon learning of this illegal proposal last year to house homeless at the former Hampton Inn in Jericho, the Town sent objections to the County Executive as her proposal violates local zoning laws and permits for this location. To uphold local zoning laws which were designed to protect the community, the Town issued a Notice of Violation and a Stop Work Order to the owner for violations of Town Code. The Town then sought New York State Supreme Court intervention to put an official stop to this misguided project. Approximately six months ago, a New York State Supreme Court Justice directed that a temporary restraining order he issued earlier in the year remain in effect, preventing the home shelter developer from renovating and moving families into the three-story former hotel without proper permits and zoning approval. Now, the County’s contract agency for homeless services has moved forward with a lawsuit of their own.
Saladino added, “The Town of Oyster Bay will continue to fully enforce local zoning laws. We will not allow for anyone to bypass the Town’s entire permitting, inspection, review, hearing and approval processes, and to bypass local code enforcement, building officials and our citizens. It’s time for Nassau County to stop wasting money in court, recognize Town zoning laws, and abandon their plans for a homeless shelter in Jericho!”
Current town zoning restrictions allow temporary stays of up to 30 days at the former hotel, and not long-term stays as planned by the homeless shelter. In defiance of local zoning laws, the developer failed to file for any building permits and/or seek a change of zone for the property’s intended use. While the developer has the right to request a change in zone for the property, and follow a legal process, they failed to do so and violated Town Code. The Town of Oyster Bay is obligated to apply the law equally to all property owners and enforce local zoning laws.