Waterfront Opposition’s Lengthy Past

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I am writing in response to the letter to the editor in a recent issue of the Glen Cove Record Pilot entitled, “If Nothing Else They’re Consistent.”

The writer opines that the voices in opposition to the current waterfront plan and the Villa are just a rag-tag group of naysayers that oppose change of any kind and “rail against everything regardless of its merits.” He believes that they don’t want the Piazza to succeed and that they are defeatists who have filed bogus lawsuits that seek only to delay, not stop the projects.

This letter misses the mark…and not by a little. The fact of the matter is that there have been many voices opposed to the CURRENT plan put forward by the developer of the waterfront since it changed from the original concept to an overly dense, all residential project sometime back in 2007.

I would like to share just a few quotes from the public record as they pertain specifically to the waterfront.

Here is one from a member of the city’s own Master Plan Task Force from way back in 2009:
“….Not only were some of our concerns ignored or omitted, the draft master plan seems to bolster the RXR Glen Isle contract and other high-density projects currently in the proposal phase. I am outraged that not only will a contract which was born under cover of darkness be allowed to stand, but will also be the foundation of a master plan for the future of our city and waterfront.”

This is ominous. This person didn’t just say “they didn’t consider my comments,” they said that they misrepresented what they were doing, and that they negotiated this contract under cover of darkness!

Here’s another comment from the public record:

“It seems, however, that the Master Plan . . . is being contorted to match the waterfront project instead of providing a long-term view of what is best for the city.”  Carol DiPaolo, The Coalition To Save Hempstead Harbor

And yet another “voice” in opposition: “Full residential use of the waterfront would not achieve many of the goals of the Master Plan. Further, broader residential development in the area . . . may result in a net increase in the City density in excess of the current baseline, which could result in significant adverse impacts to traffic, community services and utilities.”   – Glen Cove City Council’s response to the request for full residential development on the waterfront.

Can we now add the City Council to the rag-tag list of naysayers?

And finally:

“Over the past decade he has witnessed the unprecedented approval and construction of one high density development after another by outside developers who are given sweetheart deals for projects that are destroying the quality of life in Glen Cove… While Reggie understands that the waterfront area is in dire need of revitalization, he is committed to putting an end to this ill conceived over intensified development…” Friends of Reginald Spinello, 2007

Let’s now add Reggie to the list of naysayers as well.

The writer claims that this waterfront plan is Reginald Spinello’s vision when it is actually the vision of RXR, a $7 billion developer that seems to care nothing for Glen Cove, but only for further lining its own pockets. This same developer has given almost $200,000, to Governor Cuomo, $45,000-plus to Chuck Schumer and $5,000 (the maximum allowed) to Mayor Spinello. (Do you wonder why your local representatives have been largely silent on this issue? Follow the money!)

Contrary to what he states, the voices of opposition are not opposed to all development, just over-development.  These voices have included past and current residents of Glen Cove, Sea Cliff and the surrounding communities, and as evidenced above, even the current Mayor of Glen Cove and its City Council.
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hese voices of reason have been consistently ignored. The lawsuit filed on behalf of over 100 residents against the Waterfront project is not bogus by any measure. It seeks to reset the clock on this ill conceived plan and win a long denied voice for the people of Glen Cove, Sea Cliff and the surrounding communities.

Finally the writer incorrectly attributes a quote by George Patton (lead, follow, or get out of the way) to Ted Turner.

General Patton also wisely said, “If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”  Maybe it’s time to heed what reasonable people have been saying about this project all along… Common sense is that it is just too big, too dense and will cause permanent harm for our area.

—Roger Friedman, President, Committee For A Sustainable Waterfront

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