Oyster Bay tries to seize properties in eminent domain claim
Town wants to take four properties for downtown public parking
The Town of Oyster Bay is pursuing another eminent domain claim in its hamlet of Hicksville.
The Long Island municipality moved to seize four properties in Hicksville’s downtown area near the Long Island Rail Road station, Newsday reported. Town board members passed a resolution last month to set a public hearing on the seizure, set for Tuesday.
Matthew and Kathleen Koinis are the owners of the properties at 4 Herzog Place, 10-12 Herzog Place, 30 Herzog Place and 3 Jerusalem Avenue. They are occupied by an auto repair shop, a hair salon and a tire store, all of which are on month-to-month leases, according to a town spokesperson.
The buildings would be razed to make way for public parking, the latest attempt to spur the downtown revitalization of Hicksville, a hamlet situated in the larger town of Oyster Bay. A 189-unit mixed-use development next to the train station is in the works.
The town offered $1.32 million for the properties based on an appraisal, according to the spokesperson. But the owners are looking for more, leading to the eminent domain fight.
Eminent domain is the governmental power to take private property for public use, paying fair market value to ownership for whatever it takes. The town will likely condemn the properties after Tuesday’s hearing and governments in the state typically face little issue in eminent domain seizure, but the battle over the value ultimately owed to the owners could drag on.
The case has echoes of a similar eminent domain move a couple of years ago, when Oyster Bay also sought to seize land near the train station. The town wanted to take a 65-unit parking lot that was privately owned, expecting to pay $800,000 for land it leased for approximately $50,000 annually.
The two sides reached an agreement in July, granting the private owners $880,000.
— Holden Walter-Warner