My family and I moved to Sea Cliff in 2012. We love our beautiful town and especially our waterfront. We enjoy swimming at Sea Cliff Beach and watching the amazingly beautiful, ever changing light of the sun as it sets over Hempstead Harbor. We also enjoy the bucolic nature of life on the North Shore, even though getting in and out can be a challenge because of the traffic on the already crowded roadways.
In June we became aware of the Glen Isle/RXR plan to develop the land along Glen Cove Creek, directly across from Sea Cliff Beach and simply could not believe that a project of this scale had been approved by the City Of Glen Cove and its agencies (IDA, CDA, Planning Board etc).
My wife and I got involved and started learning about the history of the site… the Superfund status, the ever changing plans and how the project morphed from a lovely “Mystic Seaport” type of destination to a massive 1110 unit residential development with 125-foot tall buildings!
We attended the GC Planning Board meetings and the City Council meetings where we heard public officials say in essence “where has the public been all these years? Why are you just coming out now to protest this?” Needless to say, I was troubled by this lack of involvement from the community and went back through the official documents including the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).
It didn’t take long to figure out that there have been voices of protest against this project since at least 2007, right about the time that RXR got involved. These voices (private citizens, the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, public officials) of protest were cogent, well informed and intelligent responses to the out of scale proposals put forth by the developer/planning board et. al. It is very apparent that these voices were consistently ignored or sloughed off. As it was then, so it is now!
There is still serious opposition to the size and scope of this project but individual citizens have consistently been ignored and their comments brushed aside because the developers had a vision and they would not be deterred.
There are very few avenues available to residents who oppose this kind of development. Public comment periods are one and litigation is the other. Litigation is prohibitively expensive and is literally a David and Goliath scenario.
The $7 billion development company has unlimited resources to throw at lawyers while citizens do not. So really, the public comment period is the only recourse that residents have. When those comments are ignored completely it leaves no means for public input. That is the case here. In every instance public comments were disregarded completely or explained away. One of my favorite responses in the FEIS is to a comment of the height of the buildings… the answer is essentially “well, there are only two, 12-story towers…” “ONLY”? In my opinion one 12-story tower is too many.
I will close with a comment submitted in 2009 by over 100 Glen Cove residents through the Landing Pride Civic Association whose president told me they did not have the money for litigation and that there comments were ignored. They are as relevant today as they were then.
“I believe it’s fair to say that you cannot add 3 ,200 parking spaces and the cars that will fill them to an area, and not feel a significant change in traffic impacts…Will the dubious benefits of this high-rise high-density project be worth the loss of quality of life that it will cause? A dramatically scaled-down version of this project is the only solution for the true benefit of the community and environment.”
—Roger Friedman, Sea Cliff