Documents and Photos for the
East Hills Architectural Review Board
Meeting of August, 2016

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.

35 Deerpath Application Documents
The current house at 35 Deerpath
The tree proposed for destruction at 35 Deerpath: Tree

The owner seeks to completely change the appearance and character of this demure, classic Norgate house: to double its size, add another story and cut down a handsome healthy tree on the front lawn to accommodate a massive new driveway for three cars. This contradicts Village law requiring protection of the architectural integrity of the neighborhood by restricting construction of homes and changes in them to what is "in harmony" with the neighborhood and the site (Section 271-186). The law also mandates the "intent" of the Village code is "to protect the tree canopy for current and future generations" (Section 186-1). The application lacks a mandated "tree warden" report to evaluate the impact of the tree removal on neighboring properties. There is no such requirement for an architectural report.

55 Oak Dr. Application Documents

Resident wishes to destroy two healthy trees because 'the acorns fall on their cars'. They actually produced bills for 'car repairs'!(Interestingly the applicant letter is on letterhead of a car dealer...) It is shocking but not surprising that one more tree was already destroyed out of the public eye. In April the "tree warden" already permitted one large Oak to be cut down for much the same reason. In a scandalous quirk of Village law, the Village consulting arborist inspects trees coming before the ARB -- a relatively recent reform initiated by the author of this website -- the (upon information and belief) unaccredited Building Inspector alone has authority to permit trees to be cut down in the first instance, bypassing the public ARB process. We have advocated this practice should be changed -- and in 2013 we documented extensive abuses in the system. It has only gotten worse, from what we are able to see -- and the Tree Warden has amazingly blamed 'us' for his actions. (No kidding. Sadly.)

115 Sycamore Dr. Application Documents

Proposed new house of 6000 square feet and resident wishes to destroy two trees in good health because landscaper claimed incorrectly -- per official report -- that trees crowded other trees.

180 Redwood Dr. Application Documents

Proposed new house of 6000 square feet. Proposal to destroy 22 trees, many of which are found healthy by Village arborist -- and some the only defect is 'leaning' -- which is common in trees of perfect health and longevity. Just look around at the trees that survived Sandy etc.

80 Heather Dr. Application Documents

After getting permission to destroy numerous towering trees for dubious reasons of 'phototropic lean' etc. owner who rebuilt (?) an immense ostentatious home wishes to destroy two more trees, for similar dubious reasons accompanied by contradictory testimony from two arborists and neighbors (e.g. one arborist has a tree leaning toward the applicant property, while the neighbor has it leaning toward its property). No independent arborist report was included in the file we inspected last week (8/2/16).

      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 construction of large over-bearing new homes (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 we have been trying hard to oppose this policy.

      In a reflection of the current gold-rush mentality in East Hills real estate, the ARB will hold not one but TWO sessions in September 2015 -- Wednesday and Thursday, September 9 and 10, at 8 PM in the courtroom. The Village currently refuses 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 letters 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.

      This month we are trying to improve the process by putting some documents online for residents to readily see in advance what is at stake. See below for photos and info-packet in PDF form.

      Please help me fight for our environment, trees and neighborhood character. I grew up here; I went to Roslyn High School and Yale. I fight for the environment throughout Nassau County. I need your help. Call me -- 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.