F.P., Empire State Development to meet in court Oct. 24: Longobardi

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Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi said Tuesday that there has been no direct contact between Floral Park and Empire State Development. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi said Tuesday that the village and the state agency overseeing the Belmont Park redevelopment project are set to meet in court Oct. 24.

At a village board meeting, Longobardi said there has been no direct contact between the village and the agency overseeing the project, Empire State Development, except for that between their legal teams in preparation for the court date.

The village has gone to court to seek judicial review of the state’s approval of the redevelopment project.

“Everything is being done through our attorneys right now,” Longobardi. “We have not had any requests for meetings or anything like that. It’s all been done through our attorneys and their attorneys.”

The village had no contact with the Belmont Community Coalition when it filed a similar lawsuit against Empire State Development. Longobardi said that the village’s lawsuit is more concerned with security issues related to the project and the coalition’s is concerned with the state’s use of the land.

The Belmont Park project calls for a 19,000-seat arena to house the New York Islanders, 350,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, a hotel containing 250 rooms and parking on 43 acres of vacant state-owned property. Also being built with the project is the first new full-time LIRR station in 50 years.

Jack Sterne, a spokesman for Empire State Development, said that the agency cannot comment on litigation, but said that the agency has been transparent, open to public comments and has adhered to all state laws.

“This project has gone through a transparent, public process over multiple years, and has adhered to all requirements under state law,” he said. “We look forward to moving forward with this project, which will deliver thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity to Nassau County.”

The Village of Floral Park said Sept. 9 that it was seeking judicial review of the approval of the Belmont Park redevelopment project in state Supreme Court.

In a newsletter, the village said that the village “commenced an article 78 proceeding” in court into the project’s approval by Empire State Development.

An Article 78 proceeding is used to appeal the decision of a state or local agency to the New York courts, according to LawNY.

“The village was compelled to take this step because ESD failed to address the concerns of our residents and failed to mitigate the very real consequences to our village that will result from the massive size and scope of the project,” Longobardi said in the newsletter.

Members of the Belmont Park Community Coalition filed a joint lawsuit Sept. 21 challenging the review of the environmental impact of the project. According to court documents, the plaintiffs said the Town of Hempstead and Nassau County “have repeatedly misappropriated the Belmont Park for its private use by, among other things, attempting to take citizens property without the proper compensation and due process of the Law.”

“The State of New York plans to take up a major redevelopment project for our community. Unfortunately, the State has chosen to ignore the surrounding communities and our concerns about the current redevelopment proposal,” Lori Halop, a spokeswoman for The Belmont Park Community Coalition, said in a statement.

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