Mayor's ties loom over controversial salt pile vote in Manorhaven

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Some Manorhaven residents are opposing a street-sweeping company's request for a variance to expand its salt storage near wetlands connected to Manhasset Bay.

They're also suspicious of the relationship between the company and village Mayor Jim Avena.

At the center of the controversy is a big pile of road salt sitting on the property of Dejana Industries.

Dejana has no permit for the pile and is asking the village's Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance.

Longtime resident Rudy Santo doesn't think the company deserves it.

"If I committed a crime, then wanted someone to come along and change the laws so now it's not a crime – well, that's exactly what's happening here. It's illegal, and they want to make it legal," Santo says.

Residents are also concerned because the company's property is near wetlands that connect to Manhasset Bay. They say they are worried that runoff from the salt could make its way into the water.

"I would like to see a full environmental assessment done by the Department of Environmental Conservation," says Caroline DuBois, another village resident.

A local newspaper says Avena is engaged to the owner's sister and is a paid administrator for a foundation the company's owner runs.

The company also wants permission to build a dome over the salt pile that would be nearly twice the height of what the village currently allows.

The village's Zoning Board of Appeals scheduled a vote on the company's application for 7 p.m. Tuesday, but the outcome was not immediately available.

News 12 reached out to the company for a comment but did not hear back.

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