The City Council recently amended an agreement with Uniondale-based Sahn Ward Coschignano to represent Glen Cove in a lawsuit seeking to block construction of an upscale condominium project near downtown.
The council last month hired the law firm to defend the city in a suit filed in January by Roni Epstein and Marsha Silverman, who live on a hill above the site where the 176-unit Villa is slated to be built. The suit asks the court to annul a December 2015 City Council approval of “density bonuses” that allow Queens-based Livingston Development Corp. to build more than double the number of units otherwise allowed under the city code.
Epstein and Silverman filed a second complaint last month asking the court to also annul city planning board approvals of the project in March and April.
The amendment to the retainer agreement with Sahn Ward Coschignano adds the second complaint.
The city is paying $190 an hour to the firm. Livingston signed an agreement last month to reimburse the city for legal fees associated with the first lawsuit. A similar agreement is being drawn up for reimbursement of expenses associated with the second suit, city spokeswoman Lisa Travatello said in an email.
Epstein and Silverman allege in their suits that city officials did not perform adequate environmental reviews and did not follow legally mandated procedures in approving The Villa, which is to include six buildings of two to four stories.
The suits, filed in State Supreme Court in Nassau County, asks for court injunctions to block the city from processing any applications linked to the project, and to prevent construction on the site until the court rules on allegations in the suit.