Opponents of Glen Cove's $850 million-plus waterfront redevelopment have filed suit to delay the proposal, alleging the city planning board broke state law by not requiring new environmental studies of what had primarily been industrial land.
An attorney for the city and an executive with the developer, Uniondale-based RXR Realty, which are named as defendants, said the suit lacks merit.
The planning board on Oct. 6 approved a special-use permit for the Garvies Point development, which would include 1,110 condominium and rental units, four parks, three marinas, stores, a restaurant, offices, an amphitheater and other amenities. The project has divided residents and was a key issue in the Nov. 3 mayoral election.
The suit, filed in Nassau County Supreme Court on Thursday, asks for nullification of the permit and an order that the board prepare an exhaustive supplemental environmental impact statement before issuing another permit.
Amy Marion, a Sea Cliff resident and the attorney for more than three dozen residents of Sea Cliff, Glen Cove and Glen Head who are plaintiffs in the suit, said parts of the site are so contaminated that she fears it could cause cancer in those who live in or visit the area. New information on the level of contamination that has emerged since the release of a state environmental review in 2011 must be studied, she said.
"What we're talking about here is life-threatening, radioactive material," she said.
Marion accused the city of "trying to push through" the project without thoroughly studying its health and environmental implications.
But Michael Zarin, a White Plains attorney advising the city on the project, said federal and state agencies have studied the site for decades and would not allow it to be occupied if it put people at risk.
"Everybody fully understands the environmental conditions on this site," Zarin said. "There is no new environmental information. . . . They're just trying to fabricate or create something to try to kill the project."
The state Department of Conservation said in a statement that parts of the project site have been cleaned, with soil removed, but further remediation is needed before it can be occupied.
Zarin said a parcel of land Marion singles out in her suit -- dubbed Lower C -- must be further analyzed, but he said officials always knew that it must be cleaned.
Construction on the site is scheduled to begin in early spring. Zarin predicted the suit would not delay the project.