Nassau County Supreme Court Judge James McCormack dismissed the last of three lawsuits filed against the Garvies Point Waterfront Project on Monday. The latest suit focused on Phase Two of the project, and the condominium building known as Building B.
The suit was filed by the Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront, David Berg, Roger Friedman and Amy Peters against the City of Glen Cove, the Planning Board, the City Council, the Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency, the Community Development Agency, RXR Realty and others. The CSW describes itself as “a group of concerned Long Islanders who have joined together to fight the overdevelopment of the Garvies Point Waterfront project.”
The plaintiffs’ main argument was that the project’s amended master plan to update a storm water management system was a significant change, and should require a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.
In its complaint, the CSW claimed to use the beaches, public areas and amenities near the waterfront project site. But in his rulings, McCormack noted that nothing in the plaintiffs’ statements indicate that they use the waterfront “as currently situated.” He went on to write that none of the plaintiffs “have established they live close enough to the site of the project to suffer direct harm from the project’s alleged infirmities.”
McCormack added that the court “found that the project has met all necessary environmental thresholds and that an amendment to the stormwater management system would not result in any significant adverse environmental impact.” He also wrote, “Defendants have established all environmental requirements under [the State Environmental Quality Review Act] have been met. Simply because an amendment was made, an SEIS is not automatically triggered.”
In addition, McCormack compared both sides’ expert witnesses. Of the plaintiffs’ witness Frank Piccininni, he wrote, “The court does not see how any of his past experience, impressive as it may be, entitles him to comment on the environmental impact of stormwater, stormwater design and technology.” In contrast, McCormack wrote, the defendants’ witness Robert G. Nelson offered an “expert affidavit” as a “professional engineer …”
“We’re obviously very disappointed by the dismissal, and we respectfully disagree with the court’s decision,” said Amy Marion, the plaintiffs’ attorney in all three lawsuits against the City of Glen Cove over Garvies Point.
“No one has taken a harder look than the city, just the number of years that it’s been in front of the planning board,” Mayor Reggie Spinello said of the project. “I think that the city and the agencies have done a very good job in analyzing this and making sure things are done the right way, and it tells you that the court agrees with our procedures and how we handled it. And the project continues to move forward.”
Friedman, the president of the Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront, said the organization would continue to oppose the development, in the belief that it is too large for the North Shore. He said that the group would continue to advocate for a safer environment and less development, to avoid creating more traffic.
“They’re touting all of the financial benefits that this project is going to bring over 40 years … you can’t project 40 years out what’s going happen,” Friedman said. “There is room for an alternate vision here, but that’s not what the city or the developer want us to believe. So we’re advocating for that.”
The first lawsuit filed against the Garvies Point project was by the Village of Sea Cliff over the city’s failure to abide by a 15-year memorandum of understanding, under which the village would be able to advise the city’s Industrial Development Agency on Glen Cove Creek developments. The second was filed by more than 100 residents of Glen Cove, Sea Cliff and surrounding areas over environmental concerns and overdevelopment. Both were dismissed last year. Marion filed appeals in both cases, but said she had not yet decided whether to appeal the latest decision.