Cedarhurst residents unhappy with Lawrence school district seawall plan


Cedarhurst village residents packed Village Hall and crowded into a downstairs anteroom on March 14 to express their anger at the Lawrence school district for the proposed sewall to be built on the Lawrence High School campus.

Community members also directed their displeasure with the $75 million project at the Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives present at the three-hour public heating.

Residents of the immediate neighborhood by the high school believe that the sewall will exacerbate the recurring flooding in the area.

Cedarhurst trustess also conveyed their annoyance at the school district and its Board of Education for a lack of accountability and transparency.

The school district's architect said that the points made at the meeing would be addressed.

Village Mayor Ben Weimstock said public comments could be submitted to Cedarhurst until March 24.

The seawall would surround the high school campus on Reilly Road, to safeguard the property from the impacts of future severe weather events and avoid a repeat of the damage the building sustained in Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The district applied for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency  after Sandy, when then President Barack Obama declared parts of the northeast a major disaster area.

The bulk of the funding would come from FEMA, Lawrence Board of Education President Murray Foreman previously said.

Village officials urged the community to attend the public hearing and voice their opinions on what they are calling “this significant development impacting our community.”

Cedarhurst representatives said that despite requests to FEMA, the state’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and the Lawrence Board of Education for a public hearing, village officials are taking a “proactive stance” hosting the meeting. FEMA officials have said it is the school district’s responsibility to hold a hearing.

“FEMA has committed to attending, emphasizing the importance of your input,” Cedarhurst officials said in a news release prior to the hearing. “Invitations have been extended to the school board and Homeland Security, underling the village’s commitment to fostering an open dialogue that reflects the concerns of residents and neighboring communities.”

Comments can be submitted to mayor@cedarhurst.gov

An expanded story will appear in the March 21 Nassau Herald.