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Nassau judge tosses lawsuits aimed at blocking Garvies Point project

Building A, a condominium building with two 11-story

Building A, a condominium building with two 11-story towers, is the most controversial part of Uniondale-based RXR's planned Garvies Point development in Glen Cove. Credit: RXR Realty

A Supreme Court judge in Nassau County has dismissed two lawsuits aimed at blocking construction of the giant Garvies Point development on Glen Cove’s waterfront.

The decision by Judge Antonio L. Brandveen is “an important milestone” in the two-decade effort to develop the formerly industrial waterfront, said Michael Zarin, a lawyer for the city, which was among the defendants in the two suits.

The last hurdle before construction is approval from federal and state environmental officials, who have said they expect the 20-year remediation of land where metal processing and disposal took place will be complete within the next few months.

Developer Scott Rechler said he plans to have equipment mobilized so “we’re starting construction at the moment” of environmental clearance.

Rechler is chairman and CEO of Uniondale-based RXR Realty, the majority partner in RXR Glen Isle Partners, which plans to build 1,110 condominiums and apartments;parks; marinas; restaurants; and retail and office space.

In November, the neighboring Village of Sea Cliff and 105 residents from Sea Cliff, Glen Cove and nearby communities filed separate suits against the city and RXR seeking to annul city planning approval for Garvies Point and alleging violations of environmental law.

Sea Cliff also alleged the city violated a 2000 memorandum of understanding that called for a significantly smaller project than the one approved in 2015.

Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello said Brandveen’s decision “validated the fact the lawsuits had no merit.”

Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy and Amy Marion, an attorney for the residents, said they are weighing appeals. They said the judge misunderstood or didn’t address key legal arguments.

Brandveen said the planning board complied with state law in its review of the impact of the project on traffic, tidal wetlands, marine life, schools and other matters, and that further environmental studies are not necessary, as the village and residents argued.

Marion argued that the project is far different from the one proposed when an environmental-impact statement was released in 2011. Zarin said the law doesn’t require a new environmental review every time a project is altered.

Brandveen said the memorandum of understanding between Sea Cliff and Glen Cove is not enforceable because the signatories “were not legally authorized to bind the respective municipalities.”

Kennedy insisted the memorandum is valid, and he criticized Spinello, who he said “refuses to keep the word of his predecessors. We’re talking about an agreement between two adjoining municipalities that have a long history of working together.”

Spinello said neither the city council nor any city agency approved the 2000 memorandum, and he said Sea Cliff officials have known for years about changes to the project. He said Kennedy is the one who is not being neighborly.

“The fact of the matter is neighbors don’t sue neighbors,” Spinello said.

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