By Gary Simeone
A public hearing was not scheduled for the Garvies Point Waterfront Redevelopment project at the Glen Cove Planning Board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 6, but it was the last item on the agenda and definitely was the main topic of conversation for the majority of attendees. The massive size of the proposed 11-story twin tower structure near the shoreline of Hempstead Harbor has many local residents up in arms, and the developer, RXR Glen Isle Partners, sought a special use permit for the amended planned unit development, master plan unit development approval and amended PUD subdivision approval. The planning board members stated that they would not allow a question and answer session between the board and the public, but allotted a short time frame for one designated member of the public to speak. That member was Glen Cove resident Grace Slezak.
“I am deeply concerned about the future of our town and about one outrageously huge structure after another being built,” said Slezak, who is a frequent attendee at the city’s board and council meetings. “This 11-story, oversized structure cannot possibly be approved and the public sector needs to be active participants in shutting this thing down, as well as other planned monster developments.”
Slezak said that she wanted to propose a future resolution that limits a maximum of three-story developments being built in nonresidential areas and two stories next to residences with no HVAC units attached to any rooftops. Her suggestion drew a loud applause from the crowd on hand.
Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy was also allotted time to speak at the meeting and gave his take on why the proposed development would be detrimental to his village.
“To have this 11- to 12-story structure booming over our waterfront would be an absolute sin,” said Kennedy. “The mass of this structure would not fit in with the bucolic scenery of the north shore, would cause unnecessary traffic and congestion at the entryway and entrance of our village and would really stick out like a sore thumb.”
Many Sea Cliff residents followed Kennedy to the meeting and many held with them a petition opposing the amended planned unit development application.
The petition stated that the massive size of the 11- to 12-story structure and its impact on the surrounding landscape would be difficult to imagine and unprecedented for Hempstead Harbor shoreline development. It stated that the new plan raises concerns regarding increased nitrogen runoff at the shoreline, an impact to the water supply system, an increase in traffic and a post Hurricane Sandy sea level rise and flooding issues.
Residents stated on the signed petition that a site tour with balloon markers to define the buildings’ mass must be offered to the public before the planning board or city council makes a final decision on the project.
The planning board voted eight to one in favor of approving the master plan amendment as well as the subdivision amendment. Board member John Perrone was the only member to vote no on the adopted resolution.
Planning Board Chairman Thomas Scott said that future meetings regarding individual site plans on the project would take place, but that there would be no more public hearings on the overall 11-story structure.