NORTH HILLS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Acres of trees — bulldozed!
Some Long Islanders are irate, claiming important environmental laws were circumvented to make way for upscale condos, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Friday.
Bulldozers for a Ritz-Carlton luxury condo complex in North Hills have been stopped in their tracks. Angry environmentalists went to court and complained to a judge that more than 10 acres of prime woodland was knocked down unexpectedly during the New Year’s holiday.
“We all have responsibility and we have to stop, dead stop, destroying the environment. I’ve called for a moratorium of development on Long Island,” said North Shore environmental advocate Richard Brummel.
Brummel claims developers violated state law by failing to update environmental reviews.
“In our own backyard where we have so much, we just can’t stop ourselves when it comes to seeing some dollars and cents,” Brummel said.
A judge granted a temporary injunction halting the tree cutting and clearing. Local arborists and naturalists call the 25 acres just off the Long Island Expressway and New Hyde Park Road an “oak-tulip forest” filled with rare plant life, red foxes, box turtles and chickadees, McLogan reported.
“All kinds of trees and shrubs in here, it was a natural forest area and as you can see they just bulldozed it down. Where are the animals going to go?” certified arborist Richard Oberlander said.
But developers call the legal complaints frivolous and unsubstantiated.
“This project has undergone years of review from all of the appropriate environmental and local government agencies and boards, including numerous well-attended public hearings,” they said in a statement.
McLogan reached out to the mayor of North Hills, who said he couldn’t speak about the trees due to pending litigation.
A hearing on the matter will be held at the Supreme Court in Mineola on Monday. Until then, the injunction to halt work remains.
The Village of North Hills granted developers permission to build the luxury condos and two office buildings on the site.
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