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Excerpted from "How Things Work In Sands Point", courtesy of the Sands Point Civic Association.

The Village of Sands Point, New York, which covers almost 3,000 acres at the tip of the Port Washington peninsula, was incorporated in 1910. (The Villages of Motts Point and Barkers Point were absorbed in 1912 and Harbor Acres in 1932). It is now home to more than 900 families, who enjoy its quiet rural atmosphere on the North Shore of Long Island less than 25 miles from Manhattan. Sands Point is a residential village: the only non-residential establishments permitted within the Village are houses of worship, primary and secondary schools, the Village Club, a nature preserve owned and maintained by Nassau County, a private golf club, and the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. All of Sands Point is zoned for single-family dwellings only, and no partial rentals are permitted.

Most municipal services are provided for residents by the Village. Sands Point has its own water and police departments. The Village supplies refuse removal through its contract with a private carter. Most of the roads in Sands Point are owned by the Village, which contracts with independent firms for cleaning, plowing, and repair services. Fire protection, school, library, post office, and ambulance services are provided to Sands Point residents through the Port Washington Fire Department, School District, and Post Office. There are no sewers in Sands Point; solid waste is disposed of by private cesspools maintained by each home-owner.

Village services are paid for with funds raised primarily through Village property taxes. Sands Point residents also pay property taxes to the Port Washington School District, which supports the public schools and the public library; to the Town of North Hempstead; and to Nassau County. (County taxes are included in the Town tax bills.) Sands Point receives other income from its various fees, and from the state and federal governments.

The Village budget is drafted by the Mayor and adopted by the Board of Trustees. The Mayor and Trustees are elected by registered voters in annual elections held in the Village Hall during the third week in June and are responsible for the enactment of all Village laws and the appointment of all Village personnel, including the members of all other Village boards and commissions. (see Village Boards, Officials and Staff)

The Incorporated Village of Sands Point is governed by the Mayor and four Village Trustees, all of whom are elected to two-year terms. The terms are staggered so the entire board does not turn over in any single election. The Village Justice is elected to a four-year term.

Customarily, each trustee is appointed by the Mayor to a one year term as either Deputy Mayor, Roads Commissioner, Water Commissioner, or Building Commissioner. All four present trustees are Police Commissioners with one-year terms. The Village Board of Trustees also serves as the Sands Point Board of Assessors. Other Village officials appointed by the Mayor, subject to approval by the Village Board, are: members of the Board of Zoning Appeals, Planning Board, and Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission; Village Clerk-Manager; Police Chief; Acting Justice (Village Justice is an elected position); Treasurer; Village Attorney; Village Engineer; Registrar of Vital Statistics; and Village Historian. None of these officials are paid except the Village Clerk-Manager, Attorney, Engineer, and Police Chief. Village employees include the Village Hall staff, hired by the Clerk-Manager on the advice and consent of the Board of Trustees; assistant building inspectors; police officers; Water Superintendent and two assistants. Village officials, with a few exceptions, must be residents of Sands Point; Village employees may not be.


Presides over, and is a member of, the Board of Trustees. Has one vote on the board and if there is a tie, casts the deciding vote. Is the Village's Chief Executive Officer, and takes many actions on behalf of the Village.


Made up of the Mayor and four Trustees, is the Village's legislative body. Meets monthly in public, with the Mayor presiding, to discuss and act on Village matters. Charged with providing good government and management to the Village, the Board of Trustees organizes itself by establishing its own procedures, all according to State and Village Codes. It preserves order, protects its property, and provides for the health, safety, and general welfare of all Sands Point residents. The Board originates and enacts Village local laws (see Section 15), approves appointments, deals with municipal problems and votes to establish solutions. The Board discharges its financial responsibilities by discussing and approving expenditures and overseeing the preparation of the annual budget and its eventual adoption (after public hearings). The Board of Trustees also serves as the Sands Point Board of Assessors.

The Board may also create and abolish various Village offices and agencies and delegate powers to those bodies, again as provided and regulated by State and Village Law.

Beginning in 1992, the Board has scheduled most of its meetings for the fourth Tuesday of the month, except for June, when it meets on the third Tuesday, which is Election Day (see Section 14, Village Elections). Grievance Day (see Property Assessment, p. 6-19) is in February. The Village calendar is set at the July meeting, which is also the annual organizational meeting. All meetings are open to the public and usually begin at 8 p.m. in the Village Hall.


Takes charge if the Mayor is absent or unable to act. Is appointed by the Mayor each year in July.


Is in charge of all Village-owned roads. These include all roads in Sands Point except for Middle Neck and Cow Neck Roads, which belong to Nassau County, and several private roads. Recommends road work to the Board of Trustees, which must approve the expenditure, solicits and awards bids for all significant projects, issues required permits, and supervises the actual work through the services of the Village Engineer. Regular Village road work includes snow removal, cleaning of gutters and catch basins, drainage, repairs and maintenance, road sweeping and resurfacing, tree work, and removal of vegetation and leaves.


In charge of the administration of the Water Department and its staff. Carries out this responsibility working with Water Superintendent, in consultation with the Mayor and other Trustees. Sets the water budget, oversees its implementation, and acts as liaison with federal, state, and county government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing, Education, and Welfare, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Nassau County Health Department. Is also responsible for current and long-range planning, including maintenance of wells, improving and updating the system, monitoring the quality and usage of the water, and providing information to residents and working with them to resolve any problems with water supply or water regulations.


Reviews all applications for building permits to be sure they meet State and Village safety codes and the Village Zoning laws. No Construction Permit is granted without the approval of the Building Commissioner. Through Assistant Building Inspectors, monitors ongoing construction to insure conformity with codes, laws, and the approved construction plans, answers questions and explains requirements to arrive at acceptable construction plans. As are all Village officials, is charged with protecting the health, safety, and general welfare of Village residents.


As Police Commissioners, the Village Board works with the Deputy Mayor in general supervision of the Police Department. The executive administrator of the department is the Chief of Police, a Village employee who is appointed and hired by the Village Board.


As the Board of Assessors, the Village Board hears appeals of those assessments. Also may grant exemptions to Village taxes, such as those for veterans. The Village uses assessments established by Nassau County.


A quasi-judicial body established under the New York State Village Law, charged with maintaining the integrity of the Village Building Zone law without unfairly restricting the rights of property owners. It considers requests for relief from the laws and hears appeals of building and zoning decisions, usually those of the Building Department. Has original jurisdiction over requests for permission to build tennis courts, docks and satellite antennae. Grants variances from zoning laws. Reviews site plans for home additions which will increase the size of an existing house by more than 50% and for new construction. It is generally the lead agency on environmental issues. In addition, it hears appeals for relief from Coastal Erosion and Flood Plain Management Laws. Usually meets on the second Monday of each month in open public sessions. Announcements of meetings and public hearings on appeals are published in the official Village newspaper and posted on bulletin boards in Village Hall and other locations in the Village. Residents' questions regarding any specific application and the review process itself should be directed to the Village office. Has five members , one of whom is the chair, all appointed by the Mayor to staggered three-year terms. The Mayor may also appoint an alternate. The presence of three of five members constitutes a quorum. Three yes votes or three no votes are required to grant or deny an application. Village law permits as few as three members on this board. Village Trustees are prohibited from being members.


Major responsibility is making sure land development conforms with Village zoning law and State codes. Preserves the natural terrain; protects the environment and vegetation; plans for road and land use safety and for esthetic continuity. Also controls impact on neighboring properties. Purview includes subdivisions, lot size and shape, roads, drainage, and environmental considerations as mandated by Federal, State, and Village law. Conducts preliminary hearings on plans for development, in consultation with the Village Attorney. There are five members of the Planning Board, one of whom is the chair, and all are appointed by the Mayor for staggered three-year terms. The Mayor may also appoint an alternate. Usually meets on the second Tuesday of each month in open public sessions.


Is charged with nominating sites for designation as Landmarks by the Board of Trustees and protecting sites and structures of architectural and/or historic significance in Sands Point. Designation of a structure as an Historic Landmark under Sands Point's Historic Preservation Ordinance provides both recognition and protection against haphazard alterations or modifications of the exterior and unwarranted demolition. The Commission has five members, including a chair, a vice-chair, and three commissioners, all appointed by the Mayor for staggered three-year terms. Usually meets on the third Monday of each month.


Attend meetings but do not have a vote except in the absence of a regular member. May be appointed by the Mayor to any board or commission except the Village Board of Trustees.


Administers most Village Office services, which include initiation of Village actions, billing, maintaining Village records, and serving residents' needs in the Village office. Also keeps a record of written notices of defective roads and is responsible for reporting them to the Board of Trustees. Is clerk of all Village boards. At the direction of the Village Board, collects taxes and orders the treasurer to pay claims. Oversees and directs the other employees of the Village office.


Prepares all bills and checks, oversees investments with the advice and consent of the treasurer.


Is the administrative head of the Sands Point Police Department. Reports to the Chief Police Commissioner, who is a Village Trustee. The department constantly patrols the Village, giving special attention to empty houses, cooperates with residents in crime prevention and reporting, investigates non-felony crimes, enforces parking and speeding regulations within the Village, and works with Nassau County police in investigating felony crimes in the area.


Presides over the Village Court, which holds regular sessions usually on Thursdays twice each month, one night for arraignments and one night for trials. Is elected for a four-year term. Hears violations of Village laws and traffic violations (except for Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired). Has the full authority of any court of law, and is part of the N.Y. State court structure. An Acting Village Justice may be appointed at the discretion of the Board of Trustees for whatever term it deems appropriate, usually one year. The Acting Justice serves in the absence or inability of the Justice.


Is chief fiscal officer of Village, in charge of Village funds. Keeps accounts, deposits funds, issues checks, and prepares the annual financial reports. Also assists in budget preparation, reviews and signs Village bills, and signs checks. If the treasurer is unavailable to sign checks, they may be signed by the deputy treasurer, or Mayor and one trustee, or any two trustees.


Represents the Village in legal matters and provides legal advice to the Mayor, the Board of Trustees, and other Village boards and commissions.


Consults with Village boards and other Village officials and employees on engineering matters.


Consults with Village boards, the Building Commissioner, and other Village officials and employees on Building Department matters; makes inspections of projects under construction and review building permit applications and plans.


Is appointed to a four-year term, and is in charge of issuing blank birth and death certificate forms; reviewing, keeping track of, and transmitting certificates after filing; and filing burial or cremation permits.


Documents the history of the Incorporated Village of Sands Point. This post is an annual appointment by the Mayor.


Is the Port Washington News.

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