The Urgent And Popular Struggle
To Save The Remaining Forests at 'Country Pointe Plainview'
The latest Public Petition to Save The Forests
See our extensive Legal Papers here
Our Financial Records
July, 2016 -- This fight is at a critical stage. There can be no denying that a tragic amount of shameful, sinful destruction of nature has just occurred, largely as a result of the fecklessness of the New York courts. But there remain at least fifteen acres of pristine woods to fight to preserve. And the community and concerned people all need to assist us if we are to expect to prevail. There is no point 'crying over spilled milk' when there are so many trees, animals and other living creatures remaining at dire risk -- but with a good chance to survive if we can succeed. Please Help Us! Furthermore we also need to continue working to vacate the unfair -- and crippling -- injunctions imposed by an ill-informed court. See below.
Contact Richard Brummel, (516) 238-1646, email 'rxbrummel AT gmail DOT com', see Facebook "Protect POB".
On the legal front the news is just 'denials and denials' from every court -- regardless of the clear merits (see our papers Here and Here).
But we are continuing the effort and trying to get some outside attention to this sad spectacle. It is becoming little more than the typical New York legal 'farce'we have experienced before -- in North Hills, at Christopher Morley Park, in East Hills. We were warned early on the state courts are imprinted by the worst of the state political system -- for which they are a combination retirement home and gilded cage.
At the Town Board meeting of July 12, 2016, Town officials provided additional assurances regarding the 'process' to determine the fate of the fifteen acres of 'Town-dedicated' forest at Old Country Road and E. Bethpage Rd. Those points were written up in a letter memorializing the assurances given, which we sent the Town and the developer's attorney by certified mail on Friday July 22.
Among other points raised by the Town attorneys and an environmental official whom Supervisor John Venditto directed us to speak with after the last Town Board meeting: the developer and Town agencies responsible to land-clearing and tree-destruction permits have been told to preserve the forest until the Town determines its plans; furthermore, Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia is the point-person for the Town-lands at Country Pointe Plainview; a public meeting will be held after the summer to hear points of view; and finally the land has not yet been transferred to Town ownership even a year after the 'covenant' foreseeing its transfer was approved by the Town -- on May 12, 2015.
The 'open process' may provide a valuable opportunity, but we cannot forget the Town also performed a 'due process' in deciding to rubber-stamp the rest of the disastrous development now underway -- despite massive multi-year local opposition; therefore so we must take everything with a large 'grain of salt', and prepare for a big fight -- in public and in the courts. Further we must remember, the soccer leagues were repeatedly promised the land of these forests, and they are very powerful. Not only are they families, but the leaders are prominent citizens -- and probably more. In fact the SEQRA "Findings Statement" specifically anticipates construction of new fields, with the remaining forests being (1) the only remaining space to use; and (b) mapped out as athletic fields on the Town's approved site Plan (see below for both documents).
In the Approved Site Plan of May 12, 2015, it appeared the woods were already promised to be cleared for new 'athletic' and soccer fields -- see left side middle of the Site Plan. In court filings the Town claimed the sketches were not binding -- anbd hence successfully wiggled out of one of the three or four principal legal arguments in the failed lawsuit.
In a prior Town Board meeting, on June 21, we submitted the petition to preserve the woods during the 'public speaking' period which -- in that evening session -- occurred after 1 AM. Legislators assured us at then -- at the public speaking period -- that the Town would be open to preserving the woods. Furthermore Councilwoman Rebecca Alesia, who is an attorney, publicly stated that she had obtained agreement from the Beechwood attorney that the developer would transfer the forests to the Town in "pristine" intact condition.
We thanked the Board but also pointed out that the "Restrictive Covenant" imposed on the project by the Town as it was approved on May 12, 2015 actually requires Beechwood to cut down the forests before it is given a 'certificate of occupancy' (Paragraph 25, middle). Mr. Brummel noted that 'Covenant' provision contradicted the environmental ("SEQRA") "Findings Statement" which promised (p. 21 middle, p. 4 Point (3) ) an open process to determine the use of the roughly 15 acres of woods Deeded Woods A and Deeded Woods B deeded to the Town. Supervisor Venditto promised to look into the issue.
By way of background: The judge issued a decision on the earlier lawsuit last December 15th, and the plaintiffs abandoned the appeal by a "settlement" on January 15th. A final 'settled' Decision waa issued in February. The Decision was seriously flawed, to the extent that the 'settled judgement' shockingly left out the key stated basis for the decision -- alleged lack of standing. In January and February two parties attempted to "intervene" to make the appeal, but were repeatedly rebuffed by the trial court -- and by the appeals court on technicalitiues. In late February, the trial court issued two separate injunctions to silence the intervenors -- and the state appeals court has refused to vacate them. The next stop is federal court.
On June 21, 2016 and again on July 6th, 2016, organizer and litigant Richard A. Brummel appeared at the Appellate Division -- Second Dept. in Brooklyn, and submitted a 600-page and then a 700-page legal filing, respectively, arguing that trial court judge, The Hon. George R. Peck, became "partisan" and imposed a "blueprint" on the case by which he (1) unjustly prevented outside parties from intervening -- as was their right -- to have his negative decision appealed, and (2) unjustly imposed injunctions that were either highly "defective" -- overbroad, over-strict, unfounded (Beechwood) or simply overly broad and baseless (Town of Oyster Bay) against the Intervenor(s), stifling our rights to pursue the case.
An immediate lifting of the injunctions was denied by two appellate judges, and the selected "four judge panel" assigned the outrageous Beechwood injunction denied the appeal (motion) filed June 21. The other appeal is outstanding.
It is notable that the four-judge panel hearing the first appeal denied EVERY request for relief they heard in that sitting, including a stay of guardianship etc. The panel was composed of three black female judges -- Hinds-Radix, Chambers and Hall, and who have a track record of sourness, and a 'military' judge, Maltese, who appears to be the relative of a former reactionary state senator from Queens. In other words a 'hanging' anti-environment, anti-plaintiff panel. This case will not be dropped, but it is a genuine struggle. We are also looking to the federal courts due to the improper injunctions that abridge our federal right of "access to the courts" -- as documented in our argument on Beechwood (below) -- and the overwhelmingly proven unreliability of the New York state 'courts' in assuring those rights -- and not just in this case.
We urgently need more funding for the next necessary legal steps Click-Here. In the past month alone, we have expended hundreds of dollars above and beyond the handful of donations generously provided.
Beyond finances, we also we need a mobilized community that can help fight to preserve the Town's fifteen acres. We have hundreds of signatures on the petition collected single-handedly, but we now also need letters, letters to the editor, testimony at Town Hall, testimony at the "athletic field" meeting if or when it occurs, and lots of help organizing. PLEASE DON'T SIT IDLY BY NOW!!!
Contact Richard Brummel, (516) 238-1646, email 'rxbrummel AT gmail DOT com', see Facebook "Protect POB".
Recent Legal Papers (June/July): Appealing The Injunctions
Affidavit in Support of Order to Show Cause vs. Injunction (Town of Oyster Bay, July 6, 2016)
Memorandum of Law in Support of Order to Show Cause vs. Injunction (Town of Oyster Bay, July 6, 2016)
Exhibits -- Town of Oyster Bay Injunction
Affidavit in Support of Order to Show Cause Vs. Injunction (Beechwood, June 21, 2016)
Exhibits -- Beechwood Injunction
Our March, 2016, paper refuting the alleged grounds for the injunctions intended to prevent any appeal of the Janaury 2016 Decision (below). (The same basic paper was used for both the Beechwood and Town motions for injunctions.)
The Original 'Article 78' Papers (below)
The Critical Next Steps in the 'Battle' (Summer/Fall 2016)
We are seeking very modest contributions at this point. But without them the well is dry and this work cannot proceed as it should. The expenses are documented here . Please help.
Contact organizer Richard Brummel, Tel. (516) 238-1646, Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Core Legal Papers in
'Country Pointe Plainview' Environmental Fight
The basic statement of the case (June, 2015).
'Smoking-gun' evidence of flawed environmental ("SEQRA") review. Zeroes in on deception and fraud in the environmental review. The Town Supervisor later repudiated that review (see article below) but later repudiated his quotations ("if I said it I misspoke...."). (Sept. 2015)
Overview of main issues of lawsuit and comprehensive rebuttal of counter-arguments of developer Beechwood, and the Town of Oyster Bay (Nov. 2015).
Justice George R. Peck's dismissal of the case -- prior to the efforts to intervene, appeal etc. (Dec. 2015). The Court inexcusably ruled that the Petitioners, who are *immediate neighbors* and *intensive users* of the CPP site, did not have 'legal standing' to sue. The Court ignored all precedent, as the plaintiffs documented repeatedly in the case. For example, the Court ruled the Petitioners failed to 'exhaust administrative remedies' etc. -- a doctrine repeatedly rejected for SEQRA lawsuits by appellate and other courts in other cases. The Nassau Court brushed away five air-tight affidavits establishing the Petitioners'standing. As to whether the Petitioners''had themselves individually raised the same arguments prior to their lawsuit -- a key issue in the Judge's Decision (later to be omitted from the 'settled judgement') -- the Petitioners thoroughly established that the question, argued by the Town and developer, was legally irrelevant, because among other reasons the same issues were indeed raised by other critics of the project, thus passing the test established in 2013 by the Second Department of the Appellate Division, the very same Court hearing the appeals, see Shepherd v. Maddaloni, 103 A.D.3d 901 (Second Dep't, 2013).