Documents and Photos for the
East Hills Architectural Review Board
Meeting of January 9, 2017
See Extended Text Below

ARB meeting January 9, 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. 2 Helen Drive -- Official Documents An application to destroy 23 trees at Helen Drive, a small forested area off Glen Cove Road behind the State Department of Transportation depot at the corner of the LIE south service road. This is a rare wooded area in East Hills (apart from the Park) and is part of a roughly two-acre preserved area of brush and woods, obviously home to many animals. A massive new 7000 square foot new mansion type home is proposed to add to the five homes already built on the former woodland on Helen Drive. To our knowledge no review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) was done. The bulk of the tree removals are for patios, driveways etc. But the land will be complertely levelled, with significant environmental damage to this last-of-its-kind rectilinear wooded ecosystem in that area -- a remnant of what was there only a few years ago.

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!