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Tree cutting on Glen Cove hillside for condo development halted

Nassau County Supreme Court Judge George Peck, center,

Nassau County Supreme Court Judge George Peck, center, in the green polo shirt, leaves the site of a Glen Cove luxury condo development on Sept. 15, 2016, to follow up on an emergency order from preventing the cutting down of some trees on the site. Many trees were cut before his arrival. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Livingston Development Corp. has agreed to stop cutting down trees on part of the Glen Cove property it is developing for luxury condominiums until a lawsuit that aims to halt the project is resolved.

A tree-removal company hired by Queens-based Livingston chopped down about 50 trees on a hillside south of downtown until Nassau County State Supreme Court Judge George Peck on Sept. 13 ordered a stop to the tree removal until he could rule on a request for a preliminary injunction against the tree-cutting.

Roni Epstein, a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the project, had asked for the injunction. She and fellow plaintiff Marsha Silverman live above where the trees were being cut down.

Their attorney, Amy Marion, argued the permit the city issued for the tree removal is not valid.

Livingston and the city, which also is named as a defendant in the lawsuit against the project, say the permit is valid and argued against an injunction.

But at a Sept. 28 court hearing, Livingston agreed to cut down no more trees of any size on the section of hillside where the previous tree removal had occurred.

In return, the plaintiffs consented to allowing Livingston to cut down eight trees of an eight-inch diameter or greater, along with an unlimited number of trees of a smaller diameter, in other parts of the development site. City law generally only requires permits for trees of at least an eight-inch diameter.

The permit authorizes Livingston to remove 87 larger trees.

Patrick Hoebich, an attorney for Livingston, said the agreement doesn’t change his client’s belief that he has the legal right to cut down another three dozen trees.

“It was done to not get involved in a protracted litigation unnecessarily,” he said.

Hoebich said Livingston plans to start demolishing apartment buildings below the hillside after the last tenants leave, which likely will be within about two months.

Epstein and Silverman filed suit in January to block construction of the 176-unit Villa condominiums and annul Glen Cove City Council and Planning Board approval of the complex.

Livingston plans to construct six buildings of two to four stories at Glen Cove and Craft avenues.

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