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Lakewood Board Talks Halloween, Paper Streets

The Lakewood Board of Trustees will allow trick-or-treating to take place this year — but at residents’ own risk.

Setting hours for trick-or-treating was one of several topics considered by the board during their meeting Monday night at the village hall.

“Ironically, at our last meeting we said we would let Governor (Andrew) Cuomo do it because he had been in charge,” Village Mayor Randall Holcomb said. “The next day he came out and said that every municipality would be in charge and make that decision. So, we’re back to us deciding.”

Holcomb is referring to a Sept. 15 statement by New York’s governor during a Sept. 15 phone interview with News 12 Long Island in which he said, “I would not ban trick-or-treaters going door-to-door,” Cuomo said during a phone interview with News 12 Long Island. “I don’t think that’s appropriate. You have neighbors. If you want to go knock on your neighbor’s door, God bless you.

The governor said he would not prohibit trick-or-treating.

“If you want to go for a walk with your child through the neighborhood, I’m not going to tell you, you can’t take your child through the neighborhood,” he said. “I’m not going to do that. I’m going to give you my advice and guidance, and then you will make the decision what you will do that night.”

Holcomb echoed the same to trustee members.

“I’ve heard that others have chosen to let it go and happen and let it be up to the families and parents,” he said. “I imagine it will be a neighborhood item rather than a family-by-family item.”

“I agree with that,” Trustee Ellen Barnes said. “People know what’s right for them and their families. It’s a holiday made for COVID because the idea is to wear masks. We can set the hours.”

The board approved, unanimously, to set the trick-or-treating hours from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

In old business, the board also discussed and eventually approved two separate motions concerning “paper streets.” Such streets are short roadways listed on the village’s map but not developed. The streets in question adjoin land owned by the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Company Inc.

Holcomb said that he has had discussion about paper streets with county tax mapper Brian Ellis.

“Paper streets throughout the county have been a huge issue,” Holcomb said, noting that streets known as Pleasantview and Woodlawn had already been abandoned.

“(Ellis) looked at our situation and he said that the streets that have been abandoned so far were abandoned property, but they were not transferred to the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Company Inc. in that process,” he said, asking that the board also abandon Glenwood and Harlem avenues and transfer ownership of all four streets to the fire company.

Jack Knowlton,company president, said that a similar measure was done in 2006 by former Mayor Anthony Caprino.

“The next step was not taken which is to deed the property to the fire company,” Knowlton said noting that the company would pay for the cost of the survey fees and the transfer fees.

“We will do whatever necessary to get that done,” he said.

Holcomb read a letter from Tom Turner, Century 21 Turner Brokers owner, who said: “these ‘paper streets’ are of no use to anyone but the adjoining neighbors which is the Village of Lakewood Fire Company and there is no market value beyond what the neighbors would be willing to pay to create a description and deed transfer.”

Turner said that the village has a long history of dividing the streets among the adjoining landowner when they are abandoned and used and that it had been done several years ago on Olive Avenue.

John LaMancuso, village attorney, suggested the board abandon the property first by way of a resolution before transferring ownership.

After further discussion about proceeding with the motions, LaMancuso also noted that the seller of such properties typically pays for any associated transfer fees.

“The fire company in this situation is agreeing to bare that cost so there is some compensation being paid to the village,” he explained. “According to Mr. Turner, the value of these streets doesn’t exceed that cost to the village and that’s why it sounds like we’re proceeding the way we are.”

The board voted unanimously to abandon the streets because “they serve no purpose to the village” and agreed to transfer the ownership to the fire department.

The second motion the board approved unanimously a motion to transfer ownership of those streets south to the First Street right-of-way to the fire department subject to the completion of a survey.

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