Written by Corey Twibell Friday, 26 November 2010 00:00
The Carle Place Civic Association’s most recent meeting on Nov. 17 was standing room only.
Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and district residents packed the high school’s north cafeteria in response to Superintendent David J. Flatley’s letter to the Carle Place community regarding the “presence of registered sex offenders in and around our community,” as he wrote in the letter.
Flatley issued the letter in response to concerns from several residents, and noted that Nassau County Legislator Richard Nicolello has organized a community meeting set for Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Carle Place High School Auditorium.
Expected at the meeting are representatives from the Department of Probation, the Office of Social Services, the Nassau County Police Department and local elected officials, Flatley stated in the letter.
“The more people we can put in the auditorium on Tuesday to express that concern to our elected officials and officials from Nassau County and state agencies, the better,” said Flatley.
CPCA President Peter McDonnell said that there are 450 registered sex offenders in Nassau County, and that the Carle Place School District’s website (http://tinyurl.com/sexoffendercphs) was updated to “include access to the notifications the school district receives as to the relocation of sex offender.” Parents and residents can also add themselves to the email notification list.
According to several residents, one of the 450 registered offenders may have checked into the Holiday Inn in Carle Place.
“To our knowledge, the people that were notified who were at the Holiday Inn are no longer there,” said McDonnell.
“One of the people involved has been relocated, that’s the reason that parents got an email from us … the relocation was from the Holiday Inn to a Nassau County Jail,” said Flatley.
Two representatives from the hotel were present at the meeting and offered an update on the current situation.
“The only time we learned about any of this is when we got a letter from the school telling us about it,” said a representative from the hotel.
Many audience members spoke up regarding the situation, saying the hotel should not have to rely on members of the community to inform them that offenders are in the area.
The manager of the Holiday Inn went on to explain that while she has been receiving updates, it is a very difficult situation and much of the information she’s received has been what she called “incorrect.”
She said, “We are an institution that has always worked in the community. We are a presence in the community. My best interest right now is to find a solution.
“A lot of information, including by legislators, is wrong. I do not have any agreement with any agency to accept these people,” said hotel manager, who has held that position for 17 years.
“This needs to be taken to other agencies, this is not only my issue. I’m here to let you know that I’m working with this and I don’t have any arrangements with any agency and these people will not stay in the hotel. Some of the information, whether you believe it or not, is not correct,” said the manager.
Communication between the two parties went on for some time before McDonnell reminded all attendees, “The 30th is when we can get all these questions answered,” and then introduced TNH Supervisor Kaiman to answer questions from residents.
Many of the questions from the past CPCA meeting, where TNH Councilwoman Viviana Russell spoke, were repeated to Kaiman, including issues at John Fuschillo Park, the AVR (former BOCES site) property, road reconstruction, flooding problems and more.
Kaiman said that calling 311 is the best way to log concerns, including concerns regarding sex offenders living in illegally rented houses.
“In terms of specific properties: the AVR property, the immediate concern is the number of cars parking on that lot,” said Kaiman.
An employee on the site described the property as a “drop lot,” or a storage area for Rallye Motors, which is using the site for Mercedes Benz vehicles. Rallye could not be reached for comment.
“I would rather see Mercedes park their cars there than have a four-story hotel on that lot,” said one resident.
Kaiman noted that the hotel application was approved for the site plan, but the hotel has not submitted building permits yet, meaning the project may not have been financed. The property owners, Kaiman said, are still paying full taxes on the site.
The supervisor explained that 12 streets in Carle Place will be reconstructed to fix paving and drainage problems beginning in 2011, which some residents said is four years overdue. Resident Barry Dennis went as far as dubbing Carle Place the “stepchild” of the Town of North Hempstead.
As for the Albraco property, Kaiman said that the site requires extensive cleanup to prevent environmental damage and the owners of the site backed out of renovations due to the high cost of the job. The owners are still paying taxes, but the hope is that a private investor may someday come in and put forth the money necessary to properly clean the property.
The Avis property, Kaiman said, is under the Town of Hempstead jurisdiction, but McDonnell added that the property owners are still awaiting permits for demolition.
The Carle Place Seniors, who meet at Charles Fuschillo Park on the southern side of the train station, have been waiting on a $125,000 grant from the state to repair the building. Carle Place Seniors Director John Heslin showed the audience pictures of a past meeting, which featured members holding up umbrellas next to buckets of water to stay dry – inside the building – when it rains.
“It’s dangerous, the building is leaking. The sidewalk in front has buckled up. I took pictures. It took 163 days to get repaired. We truly are the stepchild,” said Heslin.
Kaiman said that the town is not allowed to spend the $125,000 until the state authorizes use of the funds. He said the state is “financially in disarray,” and that it will be hard to get any money released.
“I think Fuschillo Park is a great facility. The park I believe is generally in mostly great shape. The grant has been held up, and I anticipate once we get it, it will get done.
“Unfortunately it does take time,” said Kaiman.