LOCAL GROUP SEEKS TO RAISE $250,000 FOR LEGAL EFFORTS TO BLOCK ELEVEN STORY GARVIES POINT REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT
February 1, 2016 -- More than 250 residents from Sea Cliff and surrounding areas packed the Metropolitan Bistro this past Sunday afternoon for an informational meeting and fundraiser organized by the Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront, a group that was formed this past fall in response to the Glen Cove Planning Board’s approval of a developer’s proposal to build an 1100 unit, 11 story residential development on Glen Cove Creek directly across from Sea Cliff.
“We oppose this development plan
because it is too big; it will add too many people, too much traffic and too much pollution,” declared Sea Cliff resident and Committee President Roger Friedman addressing the overflow crowd. “It is completely out of character with the North Shore landscape and will forever alter the quality of life in our area."
This past November, Mr. Friedman along with more than 100 residents from Sea Cliff,Glen Cove, Glen Head and other surrounding communities filed a lawsuit against the City of Glen Cove and RXR, the project’s developer, that would effectively enjoin the developer from breaking ground on the project by annulling the Planning Board’s October 6, 2015 approval of RXR’s most recent amended development proposal as well as the Planned Unit Development (PUD) Master Plan for the Garvies Point Mixed Use Development Project on the grounds that the City had not followed proper procedures during the approval process, including those outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding that was agreed to by the City of Glen Cove and the Village of Sea Cliff in 2000. Additionally the petitioners request that the developer and the City prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement that would, among other things, take into account residential development projects along the eastern shore of Hempstead Harbor and on Glen Cove Avenue that have been approved since 2011, when the initial environmental impact statement was prepared.
The same week the residents filed their suit, the Village of Sea Cliff filed a similar but separate article 78 petition. (see article to the right)
To effectively and vigorously carry out its efforts, the Committee is seeking to raise $250,000 to cover the cost of the litigation and with that the research that will require going through many years worth of documents of various agencies and committees. Thus far, just over $100,000 has been raised, said Mr. Friedman.
Philip "Flip" Pidot of Glen Cove, who made an unsuccessful bid running as an Independent candidate for a seat on the Glen Cove City Council this past November, then addressed the audience and said that “there are many reasons to hate this project," He focused most of his comments on the potential financial catastrophe he said the project could cause to Glen Cove, estimating that infrastructure costs in support of the development would more than double the City’s already $60 million debt. The city, he explained, as was also explained by Mayor Reginald Spinello at an October Budget meeting, would use $3 to $4 million from the sale of the property to balance the 2016 budget. “This is just bad budgeting,” said Mr. Pidot.
Those who addressed the audience on Sunday did not express opposition to any or all development, but rather emphasized the importance of appropriate development. Glen Cove resident Amy Peters after describing the new projects that have either been approved or are near approval along Glen Cove Avenue and along the eastern shore of Hempstead Harbor since 2011 when the original SEQR findings were adopted, stated that a supplemental environmental impact statement needed to be prepared. “Development is good for the city of Glen Cove,” she said, “but we need smart development that is in keeping with the suburban character of this area.”
Mr. Friedman in his earlier remarks likewise emphasized that the goal was appropriate development - not "no development," saying, "we need a plan that makes sense not just for the developer, but for all of the current and future residents of our communities."
Declaring that "this is not a Glen Cove issue, this is a regional issue," Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy also offered remarks.
The City of Glen Cove, he said, had disregarded the 2000 Memorandum of Understanding it had agreed to with the Village of Sea Cliff, which not only provided for the creation of an intermunicipal commission that included representatives appointed by the Mayor of Sea Cliff, to review development proposals and offer recommendations, but that also stated that the Glen Cove Creek waterfront development would be limited to 700,000 square feet (as opposed to the 1.7 to 1.82 million square foot development) and not include buildings exceeding three or four stories in height.
“We had a deal,” the Mayor said. “What happened? We are asking that they abide by their agreement. Include us in the process.”
The original development proposal was for a commercial and visitor destination - a sort of Mystic Seaport type of attraction, Mr. Kennedy continued, “but somewhere along the line, somebody lost that vision - and it [the proposal] has grown and grown and grown.” Like Ms. Peters, he argued that a supplemental environmental impact statement was required. The original study, he said, not only failed to take into account subsequent development, but did not adequately address concerns that had been raised in 2011, including looking at the impact on traffic congestion on Glen Cove Avenue in front of the High School and Middle School. “Every step of the way, we objected,” he asserted.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Friedman cited the many people who had worked in support of the Committee's efforts - in particular Sea Cliff resident Amy Marion, a founding member of the Committee who has spearheaded its legal efforts, and the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization group that since 1986 has worked to improve the water quality of Hempstead Harbor through a variety of efforts and initiatives, and that has offered its assistance by accepting tax-deductible contributions that donors can earmark for the Committee's efforts.
Concluding his remarks on Sunday, Mr. Friedman was cautiously optimistic about the group's prospects. "While there are no guarantees - we now have our best opportunity to stop this ill-conceived development and have our voices heard," he said.
To make a tax deductible contribution in support of the Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront’s efforts, checks should be made out to the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor. Indicate Glen Cove Waterfront on the memo line.
Click here to link to Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront Website
Click here to link to the Committee's donation page
BACK TO WEEKLY
GC PLANNING BOARD APPROVES DEVELOPER'S AMENDED GARVIES POINT PROPOSAL AS RESIDENTS PROTEST DECISION (October 8, 2015)
SC MAYOR EXPRESSES CONCERNS OVER GARVIES POINT PROJECT AT GC PLANNING BOARD MEETING (September 18, 2015)