Documents and Photos for the
East Hills Architectural Review Board
Meeting of March 6 , 2017
See Extended Text Below

ARB meeting April 3, 2017 at 8 PM in the Village courtroom, in the Village Park, 209 Harbor Hill Rd. Open to all. Public comments are taken verbally and in writing up to and at the meeting.

IF YOU AGREE ... in this age of Global Warming and species collapse, East Hills -- and elsewhere in our region -- needs far better environmental and ecological stewardship, please attend the hearings and/or provide me written testimony expressing your desire to preserve the trees and halt the over-building to: Richard Brummel (516) 238-1646, Email: rxbrummel [at] gmail [dot] com. Other assistance is also welcome. Thank you.

  1. 20 Heather Drive -- Official Documents An application to destroy seven trees, none of them an imminent danger, for the general purpose of expanding the backyard. While these trees are small there are three troubling issues in this application: The applicant's arborist came up with many reasons not validated by the Village's consulting arborist (e.g., roots exposed by erosion); the plan to expand the backyard is something not endorsed by the Village code, which calls for the topography of houses to be respected (Village Code Section 271-186(A)(4)); there is no required Tree Warden report; and the loss of ANY trees in East Hills should be disfavored given the global ecological crisis now at hand. It requires ALL of our 'sacrifice'. Unfortunately, the ARB members -- recently re-appointed with no public notice or scrutiny -- have been over-ruling the Village's own expert and allowing massive deforestation throughout East Hills in the past months -- 10 trees at 25 Spruce Dr., 10 at 5 Westwood Circle, 15 trees at 160 Redwood Dr., 12 trees at 185 Elm Dr., two healthy Oaks at 55 Oak Dr., etc.

  2. 2 Helen Drive -- Official Documents This application will require the destruction of an acre of so of rare undisturbed local woodland and 23 mature trees off the LIE South Service Road near Glen Cove Rd. (behind the state DOT salt depot). We oppose any such destruction of nature. The original "short form" environmental review, courteously provided to us by the counsel to the ARB, Mitchell Cohen Esq., was conducted in 2002 with **no** evident consideration for the ecology of the area. It blithely covered somewhat under ten acres of woods. As such it should be invalid. Where that leaves the present application -- to continue the destruction -- is a good question at this point. This January, the ARB members objected to the style of the house but not to its natural impacts, so it is back with a new design.

  3. 145 Deerpath -- Official Documents A request to be relieved of the requirement, **SEVEN** years after the fact, to plant three replacement trees after cutting down six trees around a house along Westwood Circle. Evidently the applicant severely mis-complied with the required condition of the Tree Removal Permit, and East Hills was denied the benefits of SEVEN years of growth of the 'replacement' trees that went unplanted. Permits issued in East Hills have been extremely 'accommodating' in the first place, and the alleged "dead" trees are **unlikely** to have been unsaveable. This type of request should be denied to protect the integrity of the tree protection process such as it is. If it is permitted the requirement should be for the equivalent of the 'tree-mass' that was originally required **AND** what would have accumulated in the past seven years had the trees been planted as required, seven years ago.

  4. 61 Planting Field Rd. -- Official DocumentsA modest renovation and expansion of about 1000 square feet.

  5. 71 Willow Gate -- Official Documents A modest renovation and expansion of about 1000 square feet.

Documents for tree removals and proposed house at 2 Helen Dr.


      The East Hills Village Code contains provisions to protect the local environment: to preserve the tree canopy (Section 186), to preserve the architectural harmony of the community (Section 271-185), and to halt the rampant demolitions *and* rebuilding of large over-bearing massive new houses (Section 271-225). The Architectural Review Board (ARB) is the de-facto front-line environmental regulator of the Village. The Zoning Board of Appeals has a role but it hears far fewer cases, and does not deal with multiple demolitions and rebuildings, and proposed tree 'removals-by-the-dozen' each month, as the ARB does. Anyone passing through East Hills will notice that the ARB has been grossly failing in its environmental duties, voting in favor of the real-estate speculation that the Village administration now favors. But for a few years now, we have been trying hard to oppose this policy, including by taking the Village to court.

      One key problem is that the members of the board are appointed by the Mayor after no public application or review process, except maybe a cursory description and rubber-stamp vote by the trustees. This is the result of a pure crony/one-party system, which tries to discredit, wear-out, or co-opt critics. Dissenting members of the board like founding members Hilda Yohalem and Richard Oberlander are shown the door. Jana Goldenberg quit last year in disgust over a large house built on Chestnut Drive, by a resident later appointed to the board, in a true irony. However, neighbor testimony can be effective in some cases in forcing some limited modification of plans.

      The Village currently continues to refuse to post any documents from the applications being heard by ARB on its website -- DESPITE state law requiring that it make a good-faith effort to do so (Open Meeting Law: NY State Public Officers Law, Article 7, Section 103(e)).

      Therefore most residents are in the dark and have difficulty making sense of the vague notices they *may* receive about the proposal to rebuild a house nearby and/or "remove trees". The fact is, every month the ARB approves massive, ugly and inappropriate new houses and the destruction of dozens of healthy trees -- with no real oversight or public accountability. The Board is appointed in virtual secrecy with no open application process or public hearings on the nominees of the Mayor. The trustees are a rubber stamp. The media does not pay any attention.

      The ARB utterly fails to uphold the tree protection law or the architectural preservation law. Visits to streets like Poplar Drive and Birch Drive reveal the extremes of the current reckless over-development policy; and many other streets bear the ugly sterile imprint of the same trend of over-sized houses on denuded lots too small for the massive 5,000 to 6,000 square-foot homes being routinely approved. Animals are losing trheir shelter and sources of food, and this community is being degraded -- like so many others on Long Island. Conscientious people have resigned from the ARB, the most recent one quietly this winter.

      Since last year, we have been trying to improve the process by putting some documents online for residents to readily see in advance what is at stake. We also give neighbors more detailed letters about what is at stake, time permitting.

      Please help us fight for our environment, trees and neighborhood character. The organizer of this effort, Richard Brummel, grew up here in Norgate; went to Roslyn High School and Yale. We fight for the environment throughout Nassau County. We need your help. Call Richard Brummel at (516) 238-1646 to express your support and share your ideas, and attend the meetings generally the first Monday at 8 PM in Village Hall. Thanks!