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Oyster Bay seeks tougher stormwater controls for $1B project

The Town of Oyster Bay is pushing for a more aggressive stormwater management system for the $1-billion redevelopment planned for Glen Cove’s waterfront.

A May 16 letter town environmental consultant John Ellsworth wrote to city planning board chairman Thomas Scott said the Garvies Point project appears to lack sufficient measures to prevent contaminated soil from the former industrial site from ending up in the water or on nearby land after major storms. That could potentially endanger human health and shellfish beds, he wrote.

Ellsworth said in an interview last week that the town is monitoring the project in neighboring Glen Cove because it affects Hempstead Harbor — a portion of which is in Oyster Bay — and other waters and land under town jurisdiction. Uniondale-based RXR Realty is planning to build 1,110 condominiums and apartments, as well as parks, stores, restaurants, offices and other amenities, on a 56-acre waterfront site.

Brad Schwartz, a White Plains-based lawyer for the city, said the project has “a very rigorous stormwater management system” that the planning board has thoroughly studied and will continue to examine as it reviews Garvies Point site plans.

The 2014 board approval of the project’s first phase said the system “will substantially improve the quality and control of stormwater runoff.”

It notes that the city, Nassau County and the state Department of Environmental Conservation approved a stormwater system capable of storing up to 2 inches of rainfall, rather than the 8-inch capacity typically required.

Ellsworth said the town is concerned that the project has “only the bare minimum stormwater controls.”

The letter also asks Glen Cove whether traffic studies are dated and whether environmental remediation has been sufficient, but Ellsworth said “we were more asking them for an explanation” than criticizing the city.

Schwartz said previous traffic studies took into account future growth in the area and potential changes in Garvies Point, so new studies aren’t needed. He said state and federal environmental agencies will allow development only when the land is safe.

Amy Marion, an attorney for 105 area residents seeking to block the project, said the letter from “an independent body” such as Oyster Bay shows the need for the new environmental impact statement that the suit is seeking and “corroborates what we’ve been saying in the lawsuit.”

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