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Great Neck developer wants to proceed without environmental review

The developer of a rent-controlled housing complex in Great Neck has filed a motion in State Supreme Court in Nassau County, asking that its project undergo planning board consideration without the requirement of extensive state environmental review.

The planing board is considering the application from Kings Point Gate LLC, which wants to replace the Middle Neck Road site, called Academy Gardens, with 62 market-rate condominiums.

The developer has submitted some environment impact study, but the planning board has declared the proposal "an unlisted action," which could mandate more exhaustive environmental reviews.

The developer disputes the characterization and said in the April 8 motion the application should be considered without the requirement of any environmental review governed by the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

Planning board chairman Charles Segal wrote in an email, "since the Board has declared the application an unlisted action, it can choose to require an environmental impact study, if it so desires. At this point, the applicant has filed one of the simplified versions of an environmental-impact statement."

Fred Pollack, attorney for the tenants, said in response: "the applicant is well aware there are serious environmental issues which will either require him to take expensive mitigation steps or drop the project altogether. . . . They don't want an environmental-impact statement because they don't want the people of the village to know what negative environmental impacts will be caused."

A spokesman for the developer declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

Tenants planned to protest Thursday night's planning board meeting, noting the market-rate apartments will force out minorities from the village. The developer has promised payments for relocations, but so far no permanent spots for current tenants in the new complex, Pollack has said. The board in March voted to seek a consultant to study the plan's "disparate impact of protected classes."

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