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.
This application was revised since the October meeting to modify the house-design. However nothing changed in the size of the house -- inferring from the absence of a revised "ARB Application" -- or the reprehensible proposal to cut numerous trees from the property. Furthermore the watercolor rendition of the house shows a much softer image than the simple sketch, from which it appears the house remains large bulky and overbearing. Our original comments thus stand: Once again a developer proposes to build a massive new house blatantly out of character with the neighborhood, roughly doubling the size and creating a bulky, garish, box-like presence that dominates the property and the streetscape. Norgate is characterized by houses that minimize their front-facing bulk and soften it by classic angular lines and modest front-facing windows. The prosed house turns all these architectural techniques on their head -- resulting in a house that directly 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). A canvass of nearby houses revealed there may be strong opposition to this application. Most of the neighbors may not know that in August the board approved a massive bulky make-over and tree removal located a half block away at 35 Deerpath, whose now-approved application we repeat below for reference and to show the potential cumulative effect of the new houses now creeping into 'Old Norgate'. The Revere Road application also calls for the removal of three or seven trees depending on which document is to be believed -- the Tree Permit Application or the Site Plan. After years of semi-abandonment, the greenery on the property is likely home to some local indigenous animals whose welfare should also be considered in this process. UPDATE: Approved as re-proposed. Tree removals permitted with no new review. We vigorously opposed as noted above. Feckless neighbors dropped their opposition and walked away.
(For Norgate Reference) -- Previous Nearby Application Approved August, 2016: 35 Deerpath
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. (APPROVED DESPITE OBJECTIONS RAISED)
Application Documents: 160 Redwood Drive
A HIGHLY destructive application to cut down EIGHTEEN trees, many of them magnificent healthy soaring trees, simply to expand the footprint of the house and grade massively, it appears. No tree permit application was present in the ARB folder we inspected so the actual "justifications" are not know. But as seen from the photos this proposal will remove an amazing and beautiful collection of trees that the prior owner obviously carefully tended and maintained. The new house is proposed for over 6000 square feet - but it is impossible to specify the change in size as the original dimensions are omitted from the application. It appears to be at least a doubling of the house. As we repeatedly tell the ARB, the trees are homes to wildlife and should be evaluated for their impact on local wildlife as part of the process. Surely these trees provide rich habitat for some local animals. The panoramic photo of the front of the house in the PDF (above) shows trees all along the roofline. It appears that every one of those trees are proposed for removal. In addition to the absence of the tree removal application there is no Tree Warden Report in the file, despite its requirement by the Village code. We have been told a report by the Village independent arborist Tree Health will be submitted by Monday. UPDATE: Blanket approval; approved the destruction of 15 trees, deferred three trees until Zoning Board pool variance proceeding; No neighbors appeared despite our canvass of over ten surrounding homes and conversations with a handful (others received detailed flyer and reference to this page); former home of the Golden family the late mother of which reportedly cherished these trees; the Tree Health (Village consultant) report argued for PRESERVING well over half the trees. In a peculiar twist the Board's attorney fed the resident the 'justification' for the massive flattening of the property -- though prohibited by Village law (Vill. Code section 271-186-A-4: new homes to be in harmony with existing "topography") -- by prompting them to say that they wanted to "play catch" in the backyard.
This property has already lost many beautiful trees. The ARB recklessly approved the removal of seven trees in 2015, and (we believe) another two trees in August (as indicated in the request, see PDF above. Now the applicant is back to finish off destroying almost every tree on the property, this time for a swimming pool etc. The Board is likely to refuse the trees for the swimming pool -- which is under the authority of the zoning appeals board (for a variance) -- but the Board has proved far too 'accommodating' to other such requests. Our arborist felt many of the trees previously removed were not properly reviewed and should have been left alive, including magnificent Tulip trees. There is no Tree Warden Report in the file, despite its requirement by the Village code. We have been told a report by the Village independent arborist Tree Health will be submitted by Monday. UPDATE: Approved except one Tulip tree preserved. Senior citizen long-time neighbor appeared and strongly opposed. The Board's attorney fed the resident the 'justification' for the massive flattening of the property -- though prohibited by Village law (Vill. Code section 271-186-A-4: new homes to be in harmony with existing "topography") -- by prompting them to say that they wanted to "play catch" in the backyard.
The applicant, who recently demolished a perfectly good house and destroyed two beautiful trees is now returning to destroy two more massive Oaks that appear to be in perfect health. There is no Tree Warden Report in the file, despite its requirement by the Village code. We have been told a report by the Village independent arborist Tree Health will be submitted by Monday. UPDATE: The Board aggressively questioned then DENIED the proposed removals after the Tree Health (Village consultant) report disputed their necessity. The tenor of the exchange was wholly different from that for 160 Redwood (above), at which **fifteen trees** were allowed to be destroyed with precious little scrutiny. Same for the below application for 80 Heather.
Application Documents: 385 Chestnut Drive
This application proposes a massive new house. UPDATE: Application deferred after senior-citizen next-door neighbors dramatically and adamantly opposed the size and design, and complained of un-ending construction at the site. They said their lives were being destroyed and hung in the balance. We will post the video of their presentation soon at our Facebook page: "East Hills Environment".
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!