F.P. files for temporary restraining order against work at Belmont Park

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The legal team representing Floral Park filed for a temporary restraining order against the developers behind the Belmont Redevelopment Arena project to stop components of construction last Friday. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office)

The Village of Floral Park filed for a temporary restraining order on Friday against the developers behind the Belmont redevelopment project to stop some construction activities.

Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi said in a phone interview Monday that there is already a lot of increased traffic in the village after the “groundbreaking” for the Islanders arena in September. The main cause of increased traffic for the village is construction trucks for the project driving on Plainfield Avenue, he said.

Longobardi said that there is no court date for the two parties because it keeps getting moved.

“There are all kinds of activities going on,” Longobardi said.

The filing in state Supreme Court in Mineola was part of a lawsuit the village has filed challenging the project’s approval.

The request for a temporary restraining order does not ask for all construction to be halted, Longobardi said. He said the village is requesting a halt on construction trucks traveling on Plainfield Avenue and construction work going on in the park’s north lot, which is close to the John Lewis Childs school, he said.

In a court affidavit filed with the restraining order, Floral Park Police Commissioner Stephen McAllister said that the project “is presently resulting in greatly increased truck traffic” through Floral Park on Plainfield Avenue. Since commercial vehicles are not permitted on the Cross Island Parkway, Plainfield Avenue has become a notable route for commercial vehicles looking to access the project, he said.

The construction trucks for the project are also causing a health and safety concern for the village, McAllister said. During the week of Oct. 7-11, village police stopped four dump trucks carrying debris from the project. Three of the four trucks were deemed unsafe and immediately removed from service and 20 summonses were issued against the vehicles, including failing to stop at stop signs, bad brakes, broken safety equipment and improper licensing, he said.

“That was just a one-week period, but it is indicative of a general increase in the number of traffic and safety violations being issued by my officers since construction of the project began,” McAllister said.

The project includes a 19,000-seat arena for the New York Islanders, 350,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, a hotel with 250 rooms and parking on 43 acres of vacant state-owned property.

Jack Sterne, a spokesman for Empire State Development, the state agency overseeing the building of the project, said in an emailed statement, “This is nothing more than another attempt by the Village of Floral Park to thwart the Belmont redevelopment simply because the village doesn’t like the project.”

He continued, “The Belmont Redevelopment Project went through a transparent, public process that adhered to all requirements under state law and we will continue to vigorously defend it so we can deliver thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity to Nassau County.”

In a village newsletter Saturday, Longobardi responded by saying, “Neither I, the village board, the Belmont Task Force or our residents, from when the request for proposal was first issued to today have ever stated that we are against development at Belmont Park.”

He continued, “Do not be fooled by the massive public relations machine touting jobs and creating a new home for the Islanders. This is a development project to build an arena for many events (as many as 200 or more large events per year), not just the Islander games, a full-scale outlet mall, a 250-key hotel, as well as restaurants and other activities.”

 

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