JUNE 1 SEA CLIFF VILLAGE BOARD CONFERENCE
PERMITS FOR USE OF VILLAGE PROPERTY AGAIN DOMINATE SC VILLAGE BOARD CONFERENCE
June 6, 2015 -- At this past Monday’s Sea Cliff Village Board Conference, as the four trustees and Mayor Bruce Kennedy considered requests by organizations to use parks, roadways, the beach, and other village venues for a variety of events, they once again discussed the need for developing a policy that would establish clear rules and guidelines for permitting use of village property by organizations, businesses and other entities. The requests included using Clifton Park for a benefit golf tournament, the roadways for a 5K running race, the triangle at the intersection of Summit and Sea Cliff Avenues for a Farmers Market, the Village Green for the Offbeat Artifacts sale, and the beach and performing arts gazebo for a Boy Scout fundraiser. Of the requests, only three were formally made with the appropriate paperwork filled out and signed, of which the Board only approved one - for the Friends of the Sea Cliff Library to hold its Offbeat Artifacts sale on the Village Green four times a year - although the board put off making a final decision on allowing a storage shed to be placed at the southeastern edge of Village Hall property (see below).
Mayor Kennedy said that the Farmers Market application had been withdrawn after its operator, Amy Peters, had come to an agreement with St. Luke’s Church in Sea Cliff to hold the market there this summer and fall. The golf tournament (which will use plastic “safety” golfballs) is being organized by the Good of the Village Association as a fundraiser, according to the Mayor, in lieu of the Antiques Sale, with two holes being played at Clifton Park, and the remaining 16 in residents’ yards. The board said it would like to see what the course would look like before granting approval to use the park.
As for request to the use of the beach and performing arts Gazebo for fundraisers and other events by groups such as the Boy Scouts, Trustee Elena Villafane expressed concern that various groups and individuals would be requesting use of the beach throughout the summer. “Are we going to go down that slope of opening the beach to more and more groups and organizations? The next thing we know, the entire summer is going to be booked.” Trustee Lieberman said that he believed that the Sea Cliff Arts Council had submitted a request for an August 15th event to benefit local charity Mutual Concerns and that the Village Code made distinctions between charities and private individuals. “Boy Scouts yes - weddings no.” Mayor Kennedy said he believed that the August 15th request had been made several months ago.
The four trustees and Mayor agreed that they ought to hold a separate meeting devoted to developing guidelines for granting permission to groups to use village property. No date for that meeting was set. Trustee McGilloway said that he believed it needed to be clear that any requests for the use of village property or facilities should not be entertained unless certain criteria were satisfied and that a full application was submitted.
BOARD DELAYS DECISION ON OFFBEAT ARTIFACTS SHED WHILE GRANTING PERMIT TO HOLD SALE QUARTERLY
The Village Board agreed to grant a permit to the Friends of Sea Cliff Library to hold its Offbeat Artifacts Sale/fundraiser quarterly as had been requested in the group’s application, but put on hold a decision to accept the group’s proposed donation of a 8’x10’ storage shed to be placed on the eastern side of the Village Hall property, south of the handicapped parking spot and next to the fire escape. The shed would be used to store items that are put up for sale during the Off-Beat Artifacts events. Since its inception, Off-Beat Artifacts has raised more than $25,000 for the Library. Board Trustee Kevin McGilloway, the Liaison to the Library Board and to Friends of Sea Cliff Library, stated that the shed would alleviate the difficulty of volunteers having to schlep from one house to the next during the early morning hours retrieving furniture and other items on the days that the sales are held. He said that with the sale only being held quarterly, there would be more items to put out each time, necessitating a single location for holding the items. The Friends of the Library had first proposed the idea of a shed this past winter.
On Monday, Mayor Kennedy, Trustee Ed Lieberman and Village Attorney Brian Stolar expressed concerns about accepting the donation of the shed. Mr. Lieberman said that he had no issues with Offbeat Artifacts but that allowing the shed to be placed on Village property “would set a precedent” and create a potential liability for the village. “It’s going to be one more thing that we’ll be policing,” he said. “It’s an inherent liability issue. There’s no control over what’s going in and what’s going out.” He said he had suggested using a single site on private property to hold the items.
“It may be unlawful,” Mr. Stolar said, “unless it can be used by others. The public has to have the same access.” Trustee McGilloway asked about the storage bins at the baseball fields used exclusively by the Sea Cliff Little League, noting that the situation seemed analogous. Mr. Stolar replied that there is a special exception, created by “interpretations of law” issued by the New York State Attorney General, for little league storage bins. He added a few minutes later that putting up the shed might require approval from New York State. He explained that there is a stipulation in the grant the village has received from the state for “phase II” work on Village Hall that requires the village to first get approval from the state before doing any exterior work at Village hall over the next 20 years. There were questions as to whether installing a shed would count as “exterior” work. Mr. McGilloway said, “then let’s do the research to see what we need to do.”
“I just think putting a shed on village property is a bad idea," The Mayor said. "I think it's going to be problematic for neighbors, for its appearance, for its maintenance for its potential for theft, a place for kids to hang out, as a precedent. . . . If it's a matter of fundraising there are other things that can be done that would be a lot less impactful, be just as much fun, and bring in even more money."
The board then voted to grant permission to the Friends of the Sea Cliff Library to hold the Off Beat Artifacts sale four Saturdays a year on the Village Green, from 8 am to 5 pm, with the group required to give the Village 30 days notice as to the precise date when those sales will be held. The decision on the storage shed was put off until a later time, as the board awaits information from the state.
“It’s been a tricky wicket,” said Trustee McGilloway to his colleagues.
STENSON LIBRARY RENOVATIONS FUNDING
The Board also discussed funding of the Stenson Library renovations that were completed earlier this spring. The cost of the initial proposal was covered by grants secured by the Village, but after demolition of the dropped down ceiling revealed the original loftier coved ceiling, there was a change to a costlier plan, with the Village deciding to restore the interior to more closely resemble how it would have appeared a century ago. Trustee McGilloway stated that the Fundraiser that was held at the Library this past April had raised $38,400 and asked what the current deficit was between the cost of the project and the funding that had been thus far secured. Mayor Kennedy replied that he would not call it a “deficit,” since, he said, the costs would be covered through contributions, and that they were very close to having the full funding in place. He continued that the Village had received assurances from the Sea Cliff-based Gottlieb Foundation and its director Robyn Maynard, that the group would make up the difference between the cost of the projects and the grants the village had received plus the funds raised. Additionally, he said that the Library Board had agreed to commit $5,000 towards the new flooring from its budget, and the Friends of the Sea Cliff Library another $14,700 - a $5,000 initial commitment to pay for half the flooring plus the cost of painting and plaster work ($9,700) which he said the group had agreed to donate. Trustee McGilloway replied that he “would not put that in the bank,” and did not think the Friends had made a “hard commitment” to the $14,000 figure. He said that his understanding was the figure was closer to $6,000. “I don’t think they can afford $14,000, knowing their budget.” He said that he would discuss the issue with Friends and report back to the board. Mayor Kennedy said that if Friends did not make the contribution, he would go back to the Gottlieb Foundation.
SEA CLIFF BEACH DISCUSSION
The board also discussed issues concerning Sea Cliff Beach - in particular the summer events schedule, an offer to donate sand and concerns by residents regarding activity on the Boulevard since the weather has warmed up.
In response to complaints about young people racing cars and engaging in other unsafe activities that have negatively "impacted public safety and the quality of life" for nearby residents and visitors to the beach, the Mayor said that the Village has stepped up code enforcement and hired a private security firm to patrol the area at certain times and that he has met with the Nassau County Police to discuss the issue. He continued that there was a significant police presence the previous weekend, and that tickets have been issued and license plate numbers taken down with drivers being given warnings. “The tenor of the problem should be going down,” he said.
As for events this summer at the beach, Trustee Lieberman, the Board-Beach Liaison, said that the Friday night Summer Sounds concert series would begin on July 10. It looks as if Sea Cliff Palooza, the annual all-day music festival and beach benefit that has been organized by the Sea Cliff Beach Committee and that showcases local talent of all ages, will not be held this year. Trustee Lieberman said that the Village had not received an application for the event which in the past has been held on or close to Fourth of July weekend. He continued that he has asked the Sea Cliff Arts Council if it could sponsor a music and arts beach fundraiser on Labor Day weekend. The Arts Council, he said earlier in the meeting, is also looking to sponsor a benefit concert for the local charity Mutual Concerns on August 15. Additionally, he proposed that artist showcases be held at the Beach Pavillion each Sunday morning during the summer, with local artists having the opportunity to exhibit and offer their wares for sale. Trustee McGilloway said that he believed it was a good idea and questioned whether those events would be subject to the facilities use guidelines the village board develops. There was discussion as to whether the showcases were “sales” or “exhibits.”
Trustee Lieberman said that the Sea Cliff Beach Committee wanted to donate fresh sand for the beach. Mayor Kennedy said that that request had to go through the Department of Public Works, and required approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Village Administrator John Mirando said that according to DEC regulations, the Village has to satisfy several requirements before putting down fresh sand, including the Village having to provide a new survey of the beach showing the high and low water marks. The application fee alone, he said is $200, and the survey at least another $1,000. He continued that DEC would have to do an analysis of the existing sand to make sure any new sand is similar in composition. Mayor Kennedy said that he appreciated the offer of the gift, but that it “It seems that the costs of accepting this gift would be too expensive.” There was some discussion about sifting the sand at the beach. The Mayor said that the Town of Oyster Bay and the City of Glen Cove each have a sand sifting machine and that perhaps one might allow the village to borrow it.
Trustee Lieberman said that 333 beach memberships have been purchased so far this season, and that the facility has collected $29,600 during its first two weeks - on pace to surpass last year’s nearly $100,000 in revenue raised.
BACK TO WEEKLY
The Sea Cliff Farmers Market was located on Village property on Central Avenue last summer (above), but this summer and autumn will be on private property at St. Lukes Church (below)
While the Sea Cliff Village Board agreed to grant the Friends of Sea Cliff Library a permit to hold four Off-Beat Artifacts Sales (see above), the Trustees and Mayor postponed a decision on whether or not to accept the donation of a shed (to be placed at the location below) to store items for the sales.