CSHH Supports Efforts to Obtain Supplemental Review of the Glen Cove Amended Waterfront Development Plan
Efforts to clean up toxic waste sites that were a legacy of Glen Cove’s industrial past began in the 1980s and were stepped up through the 1990s. As efforts progressed to clean up the waterfront along the north shore of Glen Cove Creek, the focus began to shift to redevelopment of the area. In 1998, Glen Cove was selected as one of 16 “brownfields showcase communities” across the nation, bringing in EPA funds to put toward the cleanup of the Mattiace, Li Tungsten, and Captain’s Cove sites. Development plans began to take shape and evolved from a Mystic Seaport-type scenario with a range of water-dependent and water-enhanced uses (no residential except for tentative plans for a hotel) to the high-density mixed-use development that is currently proposed and approved by the Glen Cove Planning Board (1,110 residential units and no hotel) and spanning 56 acres.
Throughout the environmental review process (2008-2011) for what is now referred to as the Garvies Point development (the “PUD [planned unit development] Master Development Plan” proposed by RXR Glen Isle Partners LLC), the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor has been on record expressing opposition to the density of this development plan, citing potential adverse environmental impacts as well as the dramatic effect it would have in changing the character of Glen Cove and surrounding communities.
Up until October 6, when the Glen Cove Planning Board approved changes to the master development plan, the plan included 1,100 residential units, 250 of which would have been for a hotel at the west end at Garvies Point. Last summer, RXR Glen Isle Partners submitted an application to the Glen Cove Community Development Agency (CDA) and Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to eliminate the hotel, change the massing of the buildings, add parking spaces, and amend the subdivision, among other changes. The agencies approved the amended plan, and it then went before the Planning Board.
CSHH submitted comments regarding the amended plan and read them during the public hearing on September 24, 2015, stating that the change from 250 hotel units to 250 permanent residential units would have an impact that deserved a closer look by the Glen Cove Planning Board. The public hearing brought renewed and vocal opposition to the density of the development and the manner in which the Glen Cove CDA, IDA, and Planning Board reviewed, publicized, and approved the amended development plan.
LAW SUITS FILED
Early last month, two suits were filed against the City of Glen Cove, the developer, and various related parties—one by the Village of Sea Cliff and one by a group of residents from Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, and Glen Head. The main focus of the Village of Sea Cliff petition is to enforce an agreement signed in 2000 between Sea Cliff and Glen Cove that would have limited the scope of the waterfront development. The citizens’ suit focuses on Glen Cove’s failure to take a “hard look” (as required under the State Environmental Quality Review Act) at the amended plan via a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, particularly in view of, among other things, (1) EPA’s release of its report on September 30, 2015, of the third Five-Year Review of the Li Tungsten Superfund Site and (2) the amended development plan’s “segmenting out” the Li Tungsten property from the eastern portion of the Master Development Plan.
CSHH agrees that the City of Glen Cove should have taken a hard look at the amended plan and not fallen back on arguments that all issues were addressed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement approved in 2011. For that reason, CSHH is working with the newly formed citizens group—the “Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront”—to provide a historical context for the Glen Cove waterfront cleanup, development plans, and environmental review process. CSHH has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront to work with the group to advance the mutual goals of both parties to ensure the public’s interest is represented in the RXR Glen Cove waterfront development project and to facilitate fund-raising to cover expenses specifically related to advancing further legal review of the waterfront development project. A dedicated account has been set up for this purpose. Residents interested in helping to defray expenses related to the legal review can send contributions earmarked for this purpose to CSHH. CSHH will continue to raise funds separately for our ongoing conservation activities as well, and we will continue to seek membership support for these and other needs.