Neighbors of Madison Stone & Tile Design in Glen Head complained to the Town of Oyster Bay Board that the local interior design company has been polluting neighboring properties with no concern for the effects on the children who live and play their. Glen Head resident Joanna Tang took spoke at the April 18 board meeting to relay her complaints with the company, which she alleges lets stone dust blow from their property to those of her and her neighbors.
“Just in short, they cut (stone) non-stop,” Tang said. “We are getting dust clouds rained down on us. You can smell it, I’m wiping it off my kids’ playground.”
Representatives from Madison Stone & Tile Design were not in attendance at the meeting, and subsequently declined to comment when the Herald reached out. Tang asserted that she was particularly concerned since she and her husband both work and can’t monitor the children all the time, and fears that her youngest daughter, who was only 10 months old when they moved to Glen Head, is particularly at risk.
Tang added that when she and her family moved there in 2019, several of her neighbors were well aware of the problem and had been complaining to the company to several years to no avail. She brought a letter that she said was signed by 20 neighbors, although none spoke to the Herald when reporters tried to reach out.
Tang further alleged that the company has acted in bad faith in the past, ignoring court summons and refusing to change their practices. She added that this was an issue of public health, and called on the Town Board for help with addressing the issue.
“They never show up to court, they don’t seem to listen to any of the rules and have multiple tickets. It just keeps continuing,” Tang said. “I just need this to stop. My 4-year old has been in this home since 10 months old, so she’s been breathing this for years.”
Stone dust can have serious effects on those exposed to it, particularly over an extended period. The most dangerous effect it can have is causing silicosis, a fatal and long-term lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust, a chemical compound present in stone dust, soil, granite and many other minerals.
Silicosis is incurable, as it causes irreversible damage to the lungs as microscopic grains of stone rip away at the lungs’ lining. It can also cause further health complications such as lung cancer, tuberculosis, heart failure and arthritis.
Tang added that she had spoke with several representatives from the town earlier that day, including Michael Esposito, the bureau chief of code enforcement for the town.
Joseph Saladino, the town supervisor, informed Tang that he and his fellow board members took the allegations very seriously. He added that inspectors had already been assigned to look into the issue, and would hopefully be able to address and deal with the problem soon.
“We’re going to use every power we have to ensure that the community is safe, including your children,” Saladino said. “We take this very seriously and are taking every action we can possibly take.”
Saladino also said that unfortunately it can be frustrating for residents and politicians trying to address problems regarding a business’ practices, as it will often be battled out in court and can take an extended period of time to deal with the matter.
Harold Mayer, commissioner of planning and development for the town, also said that this problem was a high priority for his department, which is charged with the enforcement of all codes, rules and ordinances pertaining to building and zoning in unincorporated areas of the town. Mayer echoed Saladino’s sentiments that the issue could take an extended period of time to resolve in the courts, but that he and his department would help however they could.
“The court system is such that only way we can shut them down is with a (state) supreme court order and the justices of the supreme court are very hesitant to order that, not just in this case but in general, unless there’s been convictions for the violation in district court,” Mayer concluded. “It’s very difficult to get that, but I’m not trying to make excuses. I’m just trying to explain what’s going on.”
The town obtained a temporary restraining order against Madison Stone & Tile Designs’ operations in court on May 8, which prohibits them from manufacturing and stone-cutting operations while the case is ongoing. This is the first step in the legal process, and the county’s supreme court will hear the case beginning on June 15 later this year.