Nassau County Supreme Court Judge George Peck dismissed a lawsuit from two Glen Cove residents suing the city and The Livingston Group New York over The Villa at Glen Cove project.
The plaintiffs, Roni Epstein and Marsha Silverman — who is running as a Democrat for Glen Cove City Council — live near the development and said they believe the city and developer have violated the State Environmental Quality Review Act and other laws and regulations. They were seeking to annul a December 22, 2015 resolution of the Glen Cove City Council and the January 5, 2016 resolution of the Glen Cove Planning Board — both SEQRA related resolutions.
“We have grounds for appeal and are exploring all of our options,” Silverman said.
But Patrick Hoebich, the attorney for the Flushing-based developer, believes that any appeal will fail and that construction will move forward. He said previously that The Villa was “a thoroughly vetted project by two municipal boards over many years.”
Peck dismissed the case citing that “the record demonstrates that the City Respondents examined and analyzed the impact of Livingston’s proposed project upon the character of the community and neighborhood; stormwater runoff, and potential soil contamination at the premises.” He also said their requests were untimely.
Amy Marion, of Garden City-based Barket Marion Epstein and Kearon, is representing Silverman and Epstein. “We’re very disappointed with the judge’s dismissal of the action,” she said. “The court said that since we challenged the master plan that we were too late, beyond statute of limitations — we weren’t challenging the master plan but the decisions that the city made approving this plan.”
Silverman said she was not surprised with the decision because Peck exhibited a bias against the defendant throughout the entire case. They had also requested for his recusal, which he refused.
“I’m totally disappointed because the decision shows that there is not a full and complete understanding of our arguments,” Silverman said. “This project circumvented standard zoning procedures, and through that circumvention, the city really avoided a lot of the scrutiny.”
Additionally, Peck granted Livingston’s motion to lift a temporary restraining order, which limited certain areas of the site from preparation work including the removal of certain trees, according to Hoebich.
“The claim by the opposition was that the city did not take a hard look, did not evaluate the project properly…” said City Attorney Charles McQuair. “I don’t know of a project that has been vetted or reviewed as much as The Villa. The only one that I would say would be more reviewed would be the waterfront.”
The Villa at Glen Cove is being developed on about four acres of blighted property along Glen Cove, Craft and Ralph Young avenues. It will comprise 176 condominium units in six buildings, with 16 units scheduled for affordable housing. The six buildings will be between two and a half and four stories.
Demolition of vacant buildings began in May and there are still several buildings that have yet to be torn down, including a strip mall.