Gavies Point as a Cautionary Tale

In 2011, the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Garvies Point Waterfront Development was finalized by RXR.  Although many individuals and organizations expressed concern over the cursory treatment of environmental issues–including treatment of contaminated soil and groundwater and lack of storm-water planning–the environmental impact statement was not challenged and the community’s window to do so expired. It was not until the developer submitted changes to the plans in 2015 (modifying building design and locations, and altering plans for stormwater management) that the Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront was formed to challenge this misplaced monstrosity of a development.

The Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront sought a supplemental environmental impact statement to study the adverse environmental impacts of the new plans. Unfortunately, however, the bar for success in such an action is high and we did not prevail in the Supreme Court (the lowest court in the state). Our challenge is pending appeal and we remain committed to exploring alternative courses of action to ensure that the development proceeds in a sustainable, law-abiding, and conscientious manner.

While researching the facts surrounding this process, and in the drafting of the arguments and comment letters to the relevant agencies, we uncovered a lot of information about the development. We will be sharing those findings over the coming months so stay tuned!

Further, we remain committed to fighting the overall scale of this development. There are still areas to challenge, it is a shaky project from every standpoint. From the adverse impacts on the environment to the shaky bond financing. It is important to note that the DEC/EPA and US Army Corp of Engineers have not yet issued the permits necessary for the project to move forward in its entirety.  We will be here, representing the community and the environment.

Thank you for your ongoing support,
The Committee For a Sustainable Waterfront

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Urgent: Quick Email Letter Writing Campaign

ALL NECESSARY PERMITS REQUIRED FOR RXR TO CONTINUE BUILDING

HAVE NOT YET BEEN ISSUED!

PLEASE JOIN OUR LETTER-WRITING CAMPAIGN…
 

Just last week, we once again confirmed that the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) & the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have not issued the necessary permits for RXR’s Garvies Point development. We need your support for a letter writing campaign using the following three sample letters. Feel free to copy, paste and email.

Just a minute of your time to send a few emails can make a difference!

Thank You!

Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront

 

1) Please copy and send the following letter to:

roger.evans@dec.ny.gov
heidi.dudek@dec.ny.gov

Subject: Wetlands and Glen Cove/Garvies Point Project

Dear NYS DEC,

I am writing in support of the comment letter(s) submitted by the Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront opposing the developer’s request for permit(s) for the Garvies Point project. I believe that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement should be prepared.

Additionally, I’d like to call attention to the fact that this project does not conform to the NYSDEC’s recently issued (8/31/17) Tidal Wetlands Guidelines (http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/dmrlivingshoreguide.pdf) nor with the NYSDEC’s recently issued (11/16/17) statement regarding wetlands smaller than 12.4 acres.

Thank you.
2) Please copy and send the following letter to:

naomi.j.handell@usace.army.mil

Subject: Project # NAN-2015-00962-EHA RXR Glen Isle

Dear Ms. Handell,

I am writing in support of the comment letter(s) submitted by the Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront opposing the developer’s request for permit(s) for the above referenced project. I believe that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement should be prepared.

Thank you.

3) Please copy and send the following letter to:Dderiggiwhitton@yahoo.com
lavinec@assembly.state.ny.us
Marcelli@nysenate.gov
lcurran@nassaucountyny.gov
kabrahams@nassaucountyny.gov
sbynoe@nassaucountyny.gov
csolages@nassaucountyny.gov
dford@nassaucountyny.gov
cwgaylor@nassaucountyny.gov
hkopel@nassaucountyny.gov
vmuscarella@nassaucountyny.gov
rnicolello@nassaucountyny.gov
ebirnbaum@nassaucountyny.gov
jkennedy@nassaucountyny.gov
ngonsalves@nassaucountyny.gov
lschaefer@nassaucountyny.gov
ddunne@nassaucountyny.gov
jjacobs@nassaucountyny.gov
rmwalker@nassaucountyny.gov
dmackenzie@nassaucountyny.gov
srhoads@nassaucountyny.gov
BosworthJ@northhempsteadny.gov

Subject: Glen Cove – Garvies Point Waterfront Development

Dear County Executive Elect Curran & Nassau County Legislators,

I am writing to inform you that the Garvies Point waterfront development planned for the City of Glen Cove VIOLATES recently issued state guidelines (http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/dmrlivingshoreguide.pdf) which are critical to the protection of vulnerable Nassau County shorelines. I implore you to adhere to the state mandates for the well-being and safety of all Nassau County residents.

Thank you.

Take a moment to send the third letter to the following elected officials:

  1. Contact Governor Cuomo’s Office using this link
  2. Contact Nassau County Executive’s Office using this link
  3. Contact Senator Marcellino’s Office using this link
  4. Contact Assemblyman Lavine using this link

Every email helps!

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Disappointing News on Article 78

Disappointing news…
By now you may have heard that we did not prevail in our most recent Article 78 against RXR, the City of Glen Cove, et al.

The Committee for a Sustainable Waterfront (CSW) respectfully disagrees with the court’s decision. We are exploring our options up to and including an appeal. This Article 78 was about the City’s approval of a completely different stormwater management system that was never subjected to an environmental review. The fact that the court found for the defendant does not alter the reality that there has not been an environmental review of this plan since 2011… that review was inadequate and is now stale. The court’s decision does not change the fact that as recently as this summer toxic waste was discovered spewing out of an outfall directly into Glen Cove Creek.

It doesn’t change the fact that the size and scale of this development will destroy the entire North Shore region that is already choking from traffic congestion. Many, many residents of the area are opposed to it. It doesn’t change the fact that the rosy financial projections are projections over 40 years. Projections are often wrong, especially that far out, and any miscalculation in revenue or costs could be a disaster for the City of Glen Cove. It doesn’t change the fact that the impact to the School District alone could be far worse than projected. They only account for 53 new students coming from more than 1100 residences. If more children enroll in schools than projected as a result of this plan, there could be millions of dollars of shortfall to the district which will have to be made up by the taxpayers of Glen Cove.

Although the court decided against us in this action, and we are weighing our options, we are confident that the pending appeals of the original Citizens lawsuit and the Village of Sea Cliff lawsuit will be successful. The fight for a more sustainable plan will not end with this setback.

Thank you all so much for your continued support and please stay tuned for further updates.

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CSW Updates on Garvies Point Waterfront

March 13, 2017

Construction Begins on Garvies Point Road and Parcel B of the Site.

 

April 5, 2017

Committee For A Sustainable Waterfront (CSW) files a second lawsuit based on the City of Glen Cove’s adoption of a different stormwater management system which was not subjected to environmentally required studies.

Just as we alleged in our new lawsuit, the development began to cause contaminated discharge into the Creek.

 

May 17, 2017

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was notified of heavy muddy discharge into Creek on the north seawall of Glen Cove Creek.

 

June 9, 2017

Preliminary testing of the discharge show contaminants above legal limits. Water samples from the discharge showed contaminations were present in excess of legally permitted levels.

 

July, 9 2017

CSW Issues a Notice of Intent to file suit under the Federal Clean Water Act against the City of Glen Cove regarding violations of the Clean Water Act and NY State law (“SPDES”). The purpose is to put the owners and/or operators of the development on notice of the ongoing and continuous violations of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems.

 

July 21, 2017

The DEC issues a stop-discharge Order.

 

August 3, 2017

The DEC grants developer RXR’s request to allow discharge of PCE (tetrachloroethene) limits above previously imposed limits “for the short term” during construction. However, the DEC makes clear that at no time can this discharge cause a visible plume in Glen Cove Creek.

 

August 21, 2017

RXR’s consultant states that six sampling events conducted from May 26 to June 8, 2017 indicated several consistent exceedances of the effluent criteria for lead, manganese, TDS, and tetrachloroethene (PCE). As a result of eight sampling events on the southern portion of the Site conducted from June 27 through July 20, 2017,

“Water quality was found to be like that of the French Drain System with slightly higher concentrations of chlorinated VOCs (CVOCs), TSS and PCBs.” The “discharge was ceased on July 21, 2017.” (This information and these quotes are from the developer’s “new” Dewatering Plan [and the emails between the Developer and the DEC contained therein]) that the Developer was required to submit to the DEC before construction could continue. While the DEC is looking at the contaminated discharge, the law requires the lead agency of the project, which is the City of Glen Cove Planning Board, to examine all of the environmental impacts of a project and not to push off that review to a regulatory agency, such as the DEC or the EPA.

 

Specifically, the law states the following:

While a lead agency is encouraged to consider the opinions of experts and other agencies, it must exercise its own judgment in determining whether a particular circumstance adversely impacts the environment. Though the SEQRA process and individual agency permitting processes are intertwined, they are two distinct avenues of environmental review. Provided that a lead agency sufficiently considers the environmental concerns addressed by particular permits, the lead agency need not await another agency’s permitting decision before exercising its independent judgment on that issue.

The arguments that are presently before the court in the new lawsuit and that were also made in the first lawsuit challenging the City’s approval of the amended project plan, is that the City of Glen Cove never sufficiently considered the environmental concerns addressed by project’s particular permits, including the stormwater management plan and that is why the problems and contamination is continuing and is discharging into the Creek. Thankfully, we have been watching them and are on top of this, otherwise it could be a lot worse.

 

August 29 and September 1, 2017

The CSW apprises the Court of the Stop Discharge Order and submits additional legal briefs to the court in support of its lawsuit.

 

September 1, 2017

The CSW requests a hearing from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). We seek a hearing regarding RXR’s permit to evidence the alarming deficiencies in the Environmental Impact Assessment Process conducted by the City of Glen Cove Planning Board. This is also currently subject to an Article 78 hearing in New York State Supreme Court. The USACE was informed that the County of Nassau and the City of Glen Cove are in violation of the Clean Water Act for failing to adequately implement the “Minimum Control Measures” for the Garvies Point Development which are required by the State.

 

September 7, 2017

Appeal of the first Article 78 lawsuit filed by the CSW. A good part of the appeal is based upon the false statements made by the City which concern the clean-up status of several parcels of the Project Site. The City has falsely stated that all parcels of the land were in DEC clean-up programs. The DEC repeatedly, in writing, admonished the City for making these false statements.

In response, rushing to get the Project approved, the City changed the deed on those parcels of land. After the City then approved the Project, it changed that same deed again, this time citing errors in the boundaries and lot lines – proving that the boundaries and lot lines in the first changed deed, which were the basis of the City’s approvals, were erroneous. It also demonstrated the likelihood that the City changed the deed to circumvent the DEC who would not allow any more parcels into a clean-up program due to lack of funding.

All of this is shown to the court with the DEC’s written statements admonishing the City along with the deeds that specifically state that the first changed deed was “erroneous.”

 

On-Going Monitoring at Garvies Point by CSW and the Future

The CSW is investigating bringing a federal suit. We will continue to monitor and submit written challenges to all the State and Federal agencies who have to approve permits for this project and we will continue to issue Freedom of Information requests from all relevant agencies.

CSW has also shown up with many of its members at Nassau County legislative hearings when County approvals have been considered – we will continue to show up and to present our opposition to County approval of this project. The issues regarding sewer hookups, water, and coastal erosion, to name a few, are issues that the County has ignored with regard to this project.

Our on-going fight to protect our environment – both our legal efforts and our public outreach – is the best and only way to stop the overdevelopment and environmental destruction of our neighborhood. We ask you to pass this letter to your friends, neighbors, and family so more people can be informed about our cause. We ask you to write letters to the editor expressing the facts of the development and our legal efforts.

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RXR proceeding with development in an unlawful & dangerous way

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) has released the results of testing of discharges that were recently observed to be flowing from the RXR construction site at Garvies Point into Glen Cove Creek. They found:

  • carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (chlorinated solvents)
  • heavy metals
  • PCBs
  • suspended solids (particulate matter)
  • radioisotopes (radioactive material)

were being discharged into the creek in excess of legally permitted levels.

This contamination emanated from drains that were installed on the site during construction activities for RXR’s development.  Instead of seeking a solution to this troubling problem, RXR instead sought “relief” from the DEC and begged to be permitted to continue to poison our waters.

RXR has just been caught red-handed proceeding with the Garvies Point development in an unlawful & dangerous way. These impacts highlight the negligent approach of the City of Glen Cove and RXR – build first and ask questions later. How do you feel about that?


Take a moment to write or call our officials in opposition to this development – cite the news of these toxins.

  1. Contact Governor Cuomo’s Office using this link
  2. Contact Nassau County Executive’s Office using this link
  3. Contact Senator Marcellino’s Office using this link
  4. Contact Assemblyman Lavine using this link
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Read our Legal Appeal

Congratulations to all CSW members who worked so hard over the past six months in fundraising and of course the legal and technical experts who assisted with our new legal appeal. We just filed and invite you to read it:


New York Supreme Court Appellate Division – Second Department
In the Matter of the Application of
Docket No.: 2016-10030

Our favorite part? The verbatim quotes from Glen Cove’s own Planning Board Members:

  • It “is three times bigger in the footprint;”
  • “everybody is worried about the complete mass of the westerly building. It just seems overwhelming;”
  • “[i]t just looks very, very big;”
  • “the building to the west is a lot bigger;”
  • “I understand the twelve-foot story — the twelve-story building on the waterside creates the greatest amount of views, but it’s creating the greatest amount of views for people living there, not the people who have to look at it;”
  • “as you are so close to the water, you are on top of it;”
  • “holy cow that western building is going to be huge right on the Point.”

 

Also read our new Notice of Intent to File Suit under the Federal Clean Water Act

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Newsday: “Nassau launches new study on contamination at Glen Cove beach”

FROM NEWSDAY:

 

Nassau County is conducting a study on what is causing the water contamination that has kept Glen Cove’s Crescent Beach closed since 2009.

But don’t expect the beach to open this summer. The study likely won’t be complete until the end of June. Even if the source of contamination is found, cleanup could take months or years, said Brian Schneider, assistant to the deputy commissioner of public works.

The county health department will decide when the beach is safe.

The main reason swimmers and bathers have been barred from wading into Long Island Sound from Crescent is high levels of bacteria. The county has tried before to determine the reason for the contamination, but it’s still a mystery.

“This is like finding a needle in a haystack,” Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello said at a recent City Council work session discussion on the problem.

Schneider said the current study, by Woodbury-based D&B Engineers and Architects, is more detailed than previous ones.

“We’re looking at pathogens and bacteria, and we’re looking at nitrogen,” Schneider said. “We’re looking at any potential contaminant that would reduce the water quality.”

D&B will begin taking groundwater samples this month. Samples will also be taken from a stream after rainstorms. Holbrook-based Long Island Analytical Laboratories will analyze the samples.

The $51,000 for the study is from $12 million in bonds the county approved in 2014 to look into expanding sewer systems on the North Shore. Schneider said the problems in the Crescent Beach area could stem from groundwater that has been contaminated from septic systems that are faulty or not properly maintained.

Even if that is not the source, the septic systems may be causing other contamination or could do so in the future, Schneider said. That is why the county is looking into alternatives.

A sewer system in areas near Crescent Beach would cost about $37.5 million for 152 homes — or $247,000 per home, plus homeowners’ costs to connect with the sewer system, Schneider said. The high cost is due in part to the neighborhood’s hilly topography.

“That’s just not economical,” Schneider said. “There have to be other — and there are other — mechanisms that are being explored.”

One much cheaper potential alternative the county is examining is installing technologically advanced sewage-treatment equipment in residents’ basements or garages, Schneider said.

 

Read article on Newsday.com

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Garvies Point Contaminants – notes from DEC Application

(3) SVOCs

Fifteen (15) of the samples analyzed had results that exceeded the Protection of Groundwater SCO, with some results also exceeding the Restricted Residential Use (RRU) SCO. Protection of Groundwater exceedances were noted for benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, chrysene, and pentaclorophenol. RRU SCO exceedances were benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(g,h,i)perylene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, and indeno(1,2,3-cd) pyrene. These SVOCs are typical of petroleum related compounds, with concentrations generally increasing to the east.

 

Metals

Metals were detected above the Protection of Groundwater SCO in thirty-four (34) of the samples, and above the Restricted Residential Use SCO in seven (7) samples. Exceedances included arsenic, cadmium, chromium (III), manganese, nickel, and selenium.

 

(5) Pesticides / Herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides were detected above the Protection of Groundwater SCO for alpha-BHC in two samples, LT-T-007 and LT-T-008. Samples LT-T-002 through LT-T-012 all exceeded the RRU SCO for aldrin.

 

TOGS 5.9.1

In addition to analysis of samples in accordance with Part 375, analysis was performed in accordance with the NYSDEC Technical & Operational Guidance Series (TOGS) 5.9.1: In-Water and Riparian Management of Sediment and Dredged Material. Forty-five (45) of the forty-seven (47) samples had exceedances that result in classification of the sediments as Class B: Moderate Contamination – Chronic Toxicity to Aquatic Life. Twenty-seven (27) of the samples had exceedances that qualify those sediments as Class C: Acute Toxicity to Aquatic Life.

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