Representatives of plaintiffs in two lawsuits against the Garvies Point development on Glen Cove’s waterfront say an appellate court should overturn a judge’s rulings allowing construction of the project because his decisions were based in part on false and misleading information supplied by the city.
An attorney for Glen Cove denied the charge and said the city would prevail in the appeals of Nassau County Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen’s August 2016 dismissals of the two lawsuits, one filed by the Village of Sea Cliff and the other by 105 Nassau residents.
One of those lawsuits included allegations of misrepresentation, but “the judge 100 percent found and agreed with our positions,” said Michael Zarin, who is representing Glen Cove.
The lawsuits and appeals seek to annul city planning board approval for Garvies Point because of alleged violations of environmental law and other matters.
In addition, Sea Cliff continues to assert that Glen Cove is violating a 2000 memorandum of understanding between the municipalities on project scope. Brandveen ruled that agreement is not enforceable.
Sea Cliff filed its appeal in the second department of the Supreme Court’s appellate division in Brooklyn on Aug. 24, while the residents’ group filed their appeal July 19.
A separate lawsuit filed in April in Nassau County Supreme Court by three of the 105 residents seeks to annul the March 2017 planning board approval for the second phase of the project.
Uniondale-based RXR Glen Isle Partners broke ground on Garvies Point in December. The project is to include 1,110 condominiums and rental apartments, parks, stores, marinas, offices and other amenities on formerly industrial land.
The residents’ lawsuit asks for an annulment of the planning board’s 2011 environmental findings that allowed the project to move forward, even though the statute of limitations to challenge them passed.
Amy Marion, an attorney for the residents, said the findings were not challenged at the time because “false statements and misrepresentations by the city and the developer,” misled residents on the extent and impact of contamination on the site.
Frank Haftel, director of the Garvies Point project for RXR, said Marion “continues to misrepresent RXR and the work at the site in an ongoing attempt to derail this project.”
Sea Cliff village administrator Bruce Kennedy said proof of deception is that “there have been findings of additional pollutants and toxins all throughout the site that the city claimed didn’t exist anymore.”
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year said soil samples showed continued contamination beyond permitted levels in isolated spots. After further cleanup, both agencies declared the site suitable for construction, with DEC and EPA oversight.
Zarin said the city planning board’s environmental findings were accurate and based not only on the city’s statements, but on data from the DEC and EPA, which have spent more than $100 million cleaning up the site.
Zarin said the city anticipated the discovery of some residual contamination after the environmental document was issued and alerted the public to that expectation in the findings.
The “concocted theory of lies and misrepresentations” was the only way the plaintiffs could explain why challenges weren’t filed against the environmental findings within the statute of limitations, he said.
“It’s just sort of made up, hollow hysteria that has no basis in reality,” Zarin said.