By Mike Lednovich
With their real estate agent listening via a cellphone, Ocean Highway and Port Authority commissioners squabbled for 30 minutes Wednesday over the potential sale of three parcels of port land with no clear majority of how many properties should be sold.
The fractured OHPA commission has been debating the port property sale since last May when it approved hiring a real estate agent to handle any possible transactions. They settled on Crane Island Real Estate LLC, also known as Cabana Lane, for the properties’ listing and a proposed contract was on the agenda for review. Broker John Hillman listened to the OHPA discussion on his cellphone.
According to the proposed contract, the three properties could be subdivided into seven residential parcels with a market value of $2.4 million.
OHPA Attorney Patrick Krechowski told commissioners he put the broker agreement on the agenda as a discussion item only. “There are things in this listing agreement that I would not recommend and I do not like for lack of a better term,” Krechowski said. “This thing needs some work. I have not received any direction back from commissioners on the agreement itself.”
Before Krechowski’s comments, commissioners weighed in on their positions regarding the possible sale of the properties and how any proceeds from the transactions would be spent by OHPA.
Vice Chair Miriam Hill maintained that the property should not be sold. “Our charter says we should act in the best interests of the citizens of Nassau County. Currently, this land is entrusted with OHPA for the benefit of the public. It serves as a buffer to the community. Any sale must include a plan and restrictions that demonstrate how this sale and its proceeds will benefit the county and the state.”
Commissioner Justin Taylor said he would not support selling all three properties. “I’m not in favor of selling three properties. I would support selling one property,” Taylor said. “I think we need to identify that one property and approve a listing agreement on that.”
Commissioner Mike Cole asked if OHPA could sell just one of the subdivided parcels on a property instead of the entire lot. “I’m asking because I need clarification,” Cole said.
Chairman Danny Fullwood supported the sale of two of the properties.
Commissioner Ray Nelson backed selling only a single property. “I’ve said all along that I’d elect to sell one piece, I’ve never been a proponent of selling all three. I don’t think that would be a wise decision.”
Hillman, who is brokering homes on Crane Island, terminated his cell phone call at some point during the debate. He did not offer any comments during the discussions.
OHPA eventually voted to table the proposed broker agreement and placed the matter on the district’s November meeting agenda.