Saturday, May 27, 2006

EIS for GWL Waterfront Apartments Available at Gold Coast Library

If you want to know more about the apartment complex proposed for the Town of North Hempstead (TNH) portion of the Glenwood Landing Waterfront, you need go no further than the Gold Coast Public Library. Library Director Genellen McGrath reports that two copies of the Environment Impact Statement (EIS) for the development were delivered to the library yesterday. The document also is available online through the TNH website.

TNH will accept written comments on the EIS through June 8. The next opportunity for public input will be at a hearing scheduled when an application to rezone the property from industrial use to multi-family residential use is filed. The Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association expects a rezoning application will be forthcoming.

The civic association, Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, and Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor have been following the application and have commented at two previous hearings (see "North Hempstead Accepts Environmental Impact Statement for Waterfront Apartments in Glenwood Landing," May 23; "County Explains Role in Waterfront Sewer Line," May 10; "Sewer Line: Consider Glenwood Landing," March 19).

How the land proposed for this development is used will have a tremendous impact on Hempstead Harbor, Glenwood Landing, Glen Head, Roslyn Harbor, Sea Cliff, and the North Shore School District and will shape the character of the community and the waterfront for generations to come. The Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association urges residents to take full advantage of all opportunities to participate in the review process.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Glenwood Landing Bids Farewell to a Piece of History

Glenwood Landing lost a rare window on its past this morning, when a wrecking ball crashed into the Townsend House, a home that has stood at the corner of Glenwood Road and Kissam Lane for more than a century. Originally, the home overlooked a pastoral scene of rolling hills, farmland, and ponds. In more recent years, the view has been dominated by the Glenwood Landing Post Office, which is built over one of these ponds. For the last few decades and until recently, the home was occupied as a two-family residence.

According to a study commissioned by the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association, the Townsend House was an excellent example of vernacular architecture, a building form that is fast disappearing from the Glenwood Landing landscape (see “Subdivision Review Reveals A Pre-Colonial Past,” May 11). The study also identifies the original owners of the home as the Townsend family, who were among the area’s first settlers.

At many hearings, the civic association suggested that the building be preserved and its present use be maintained. Unfortunately, this goal could not be achieved. In April, after prolonged county and town review of a seven-unit subdivision proposed for the site, the Town of Oyster Bay issued a permit that cleared the way for demolition. The site plan calls for construction of five homes at the rear of the 2-plus-acre-parcel, two homes at the front, and a new cul-de-sac that opens onto Kissam Lane near the stop sign. Much of the existing slope will be removed to accommodate seven new structures and extensive retaining walls will be required.

Stormwater Controls Implemented at GWL Site

A commendable effort to contain runoff has been made at the construction site on the northwest corner of Glenwood Road and Kissam Lane, where a seven-unit subdivision is planned. Earlier this month, an absence of stormwater control measures followed by several days of heavy showers permitted a great deal of mud to escape from the site and wash into Hempstead Harbor via Glenwood Road and a nearby storm drain.

Construction runoff is a key component of non-point source pollution. The Hempstead Harbor Water Quality Improvement Plan identifies non-point source pollution as a major cause of contamination and silt build up in the Hempstead Harbor. The harbor is particularly vulnerable to the impact of construction activities at the Glenwood Road / Kissam Lane site because of the site’s slope, close proximity to the harbor, and close proximity to the nearest storm drain.

To help reduce the impact of construction runoff on New York State waterways, the state recently mandated implementation of certain stormwater control measures at all construction sites of one or more acres. The Glenwood Road / Kissam Lane site is just over two acres. Developers and property owners are responsible for implementing the measures. Local municipalities and the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation are responsible for enforcement. Noncompliance can result in heavy fines.

Containing runoff at the Glenwood Road / Kissam Lane site is challenging because of the site's slope and proximity to the storm drain. Nevertheless, less runoff can be expected from today forward thanks to the installation of straw bales in front of a silt fence and around several mounds of exposed soil. Most importantly, the straw bales have been trenched into the soil a few inches in compliance with New York State guidelines. Additional measures, such as seeding and mulching of the open soil piles are still needed, however. Experts say these measures are fast, relatively inexpensive, and highly effective.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend Fireworks in Hempstead Harbor

Fireworks are scheduled at Bar Beach on Saturday, May 27.

The event is offered by the Town of North Hempstead with funding from the Americana Manhasset and Wheatley Plaza.

The rain date is Sunday, May 28.

North Hempstead Accepts Environmental Impact Statement for Waterfront Apartments in Glenwood Landing

On Tuesday, May 23, the North Hempstead Town Council accepted an Environment Impact Statement (EIS) submitted by Glen Harbor Partners in connection with a waterfront apartment building proposed for town- and privately- held property in Glenwood Landing on Shore Road immediately south of the Glenwood Landing Power Station.

The property is commonly referred to as the Hinfin/Harbor Fuel site. The EIS can be viewed online and at the Town of North Hempstead (TNH) Planning Department and also may be available at Bryant Public Library. The Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association has requested that TNH explore the possibility of making the document available at the Gold Coast Library.

TNH will accept written comments on the proposal through Friday, June 8. Although the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association had understood that a hearing would be held at the time the EIS was submitted, this impression was incorrect: the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) does not require a public hearing at this stage. However, TNH has elected to accept written comments because of the public interest the project has generated.

TNH has held two previous hearings on the EIS: a "scoping session" designed to determine what the EIS should include and a hearing on the draft EIS. These hearings were widely publicized by the civic association and TNH. The next opportunity for a public hearing on the proposal is likely to occur if an application is made to rezone the property from industrial use to multifamily residential use.

The project would involve some 60 apartment units, a pool, and several stories. A varience would be required to accommnodate the height of the building; the number of units is contingent upon constructing a sewer line on Shore Road through the Glenwood Landing Waterfront to Sea Cliff, terminating at the sewage treatment plant in Glen Cove. The project includes a public esplanade with public access from the north and south and would involve an environmental clean up funded by the developer.

Glen Partners and the Village of Sea Cliff have been discussing the possibility of constructing the sewer line in a manner that would accommodate some Sea Cliff properties. Those reviewing the project have routinely discounted the suggestion made by the civic association that the possibility of accommodating some Glenwood Landing properties also should be seriously explored, particularly in view of the high water table and cesspool problems familiar to many people in or near the Glenwood Landing waterfront and the impact of these issues on Hempstead Harbor.

Although a great deal of the sewer line would be constructed through the Town of Oyster Bay portion of Glenwood Landing, Nassau County appears to be the only permitting authority with regard to this aspect of the project because Shore Road is a county thoroughfare. According to the county, issuing a road opening permit for a sewer line is routine and there is no opportunity for public input or notification. Last month, the civic association met with the Nassau County Department of Public works to emphasize traffic, pedestrian, and construction concerns should the project move forward.

For more information, contact the Town of North Hempstead Planning Department (869-7679).

Friday, May 12, 2006

Stormwater Runoff Controls Needed at Glenwood Landing Site

Heavy rains last night created a river of mud this morning that flowed onto Glenwood Road from a slope on the northwest corner of Glenwood and Kissam Lane, opposite the Glenwood Landing Post Office, where excavation in connection with a 7-lot subdivision is underway.

The mud will inevitably wash down Glenwood Road into Hempstead Harbor. According to the Hempstead Harbor Water Quality Improvement Plan, runoff from construction sites, roadways, and private yards is a significant source of silt build up and pollution in Hempstead Harbor. Experts agree that the problem is endemic in virtually all Long Island Sound waterways.

Effective measures are available

To address the issue, New York State has adopted regulations that require developers and/or owners to implement stormwater containment measures at all construction sites that disturb one or more acres of land. The Glenwood/Kissam subdivision involves more than two acres. Furthermore, a great deal of soil will have to be disturbed to accommodate the seven lots called for in the site plan.

The measures that can contain stormwater during the construction phase of this or any other project are generally relatively inexpensive and easy to implement, and they are known to be highly effective when properly executed.

This morning the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association contacted the Town of Oyster Bay (TOB) and the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation about the apparent lack of stormwater runoff control at the Glenwood / Kissam site. This afternoon a TOB building official said that an inspector had visited the site and that the town will insist on adequate stormwater containment.

Learning from the recent past

Glenwood Landing recently experienced a similar runoff problem early in the construction phase of a home on a steep slope located on Scudders Lane near the Swan Club opposite Glenwood Road in Roslyn Harbor. The site is in the Town of North Hempstead (TNH) portion of the hamlet. Eventually, containment measures were implemented—but not until after a great deal of soil had escaped.

The Glenwood / Kissam project has been under review for about eight years. At hearings held by TOB and the Nassau County Planning Commission, the civic association presented photographs of the Scudders Lane project before stormwater controls were implemented to underscore the importance of stormwater containment when and if the Glenwood / Kissam project moved forward. We are now confident that the cooperation of all concerned parties will be forthcoming.

Home measures also important

To increase awareness of the importance of reducing all forms of stormwater runoff and the contaminants it carries, the civic association is cooperating with TOB and Nassau County to mark storm drains in Glenwood Landing and Glen Head with medallions bearing the message "No Dumping / Drains to Waterway." Literature about stormwater runoff also will be distributed.

Note that if you live in Glenwood Landing or "lower" Glen Head, the storm drains you see on your street eventually open into Hempstead Harbor—even if the harbor is nowhere to be seen from your home. Thus, chemicals from your garden, soap from washing your car, pet waste that is left on the ground, and so on can and do make their way into storm drains. These pollutants are then conveyed to the harbor through an extensive network of pipes and tunnels under your feet. Eventually these pipes and tunnels open into Hempstead Harbor. Therefore, it is important to reduce the pollutants that enter storm drains from all sources, including our gardens and driveways.

Watch for storm drain markers and literature in your area. Attaching the markers is fun and a good activity for children, although some degree of adult supervision is required depending on the age of the children. If you would like to mark the storm drains on your street, send a message to the civic association at

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Subdivision Review Reveals A Pre-Colonial Past

Many generations of children raised in Glenwood Landing or Glen Head will recall combing the property at the northwest corner of Glenwood Road and Kissam Lane for arrowheads—and the thrill of coming up with a handful of mysteriously pointed stones. In fact, many of those presumed arrowheads were, indeed, authentic Native American artifacts.

The presence of artifacts used by the indigenous people of the north shore was recently confirmed by an investigation conducted in connection with a 7-unit subdivision proposed for the site that has been undergoing review for several years. The investigation was required by the Nassau County Planning Commission under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) at the expense of the developer (currently Anray Custom Builder of Sea Cliff).

Some of the items documented by investigators from the firm of John M. Milner Associates are relatively common artifact of fairly recent vintage. However, some of the items may date to the pre-colonial period. Known as pre-contact artifacts, such artifacts are prized by archeologists—although to the lay person they may often seem like nothing more than nondescript chips and chards.

Archeological experts say that no more sites of this type are likely to be diiscovered in Nassau County. One characteristic that makes the site so unusual, according to Charla Bolton, a preservation advocate for the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, is evidence of continuous human occupation for so long a period of time.

The Native Americans were succeeded by the Townsends, who were among the area's earliest settlers. According to a historic study conducted by a consultant hired by the civic association, the Townsends probably constructed the main building on the site sometime during the mid-19th century and used it through the first third of the last century. John Collins, architectural historian, preservationist, and member of the Town of Oyster Bay Landmarks Commission, has described the building as a good example of the vernacular architecture of the 19th century, which was once common in Glenwood Landing and surrounding areas. It also is one of the few reamining such buildings in Glenwood Landing.

Vernacular architecture is a term applied to structures that are usually erected by non-academically trained builders based on local traditions, building techniques, and materials. According to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, design and construction often occur simultaneously onsite; some of those who eventually use the building are often involved in construction, design, or both; and the shape of the building generally reflects local patterns that may be either centuries old or that reflect the technological advances of the time (such as the jigsaw, which made "gingerbread" embellishments possible during the late Victorian period).

The civic association commissioned the historic study with the hope that a mechanism for preserving the building, which was occupied as a two-family home until last year, could be found. The effort was unsuccessful, however. Last month, the Town of Oyster Bay issued a demolition permit, which includes removal of several structures and underground oil storage tanks.

According to a letter from Joel Klein, Senior Project Manager at John M. Milner Associates, submitted to the county Planning Commission, more than 50,000 stone and ceramic artifacts and animal remains were recovered and removed from the site as ordered by the commission and the state. The stone artifacts include “tools related to the procurement, processing and consumption of shellfish, fish, and mammals" and "numerous grinding and abrading stones, pitted stones, and debris resulting from tool manufacture.“ The ceramic artifacts include three reconstructable vessels and more than 11,000 fragments.

Forum for Consumer Questions in Farmingdale

• Overwhelmed at the thought of purchasing a home or renovating your current home?

• Concerned about improving credit or avoiding identity theft?

• Trying to find high quality child care?

• Wondering about child ID cards, how to find out about recalled toys, or the best criteria to use when selecting a school or school district?

Representatives from more than 20 state and local agencies will be on hand to offer tips about these and other consumer-related topics at “Consumer Action Day” on Saturday, May 13, in Roosevelt Hall, SUNY Farmingdale, 2350 Broadhollow Road, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is hosted by the NYS Consumer Protection Board (470-2954).

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

County Explains Role in Waterfront Sewer Line

Three area civics met today with County Legislators Diane Yatauro and Craig Johnson and Nassau County Acting Commissioner of Public Works Joe Davenport to learn more about the county’s role in a sewer line that may be constructed under Shore Road in Glenwood Landing. Jim Antonelli, an engineer with Sidney B. Bowne, the Town of North Hempstead’s (TNH'S) consulting firm, also attended.

The sewer line would carry waste from a waterfront apartment complex that may be constructed immediately south of the Glenwood Landing Power Station (on the site known as the Harbor Fuel/Hinfin property) to the sewage treatment plant in Glen Cove. The site is located in the TNH portion of Glenwood Landing. While some of the property is privately owned, a portion of the site is held by TNH; the project also includes a lot across the street.

A 40-unit apartment building or a 60-unit apartment building have discussed for the site. The plan also includes a public waterfront esplanade with access at both the southern and northern ends. The developer would fund the environmental cleanup at no cost to taxpayers.

TNH has mounted an active public outreach campaign and has held several hearings in connection with the proposal. The Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association, Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee, and Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor have provided comments at every opportunity. The Final Environmental Impact Statement is expected shortly. At that time, the town will hold another public hearing.

The sewer line would be installed under Shore Road, a county throughfare, and proceed through Sea Cliff. Two Sea Cliff routes have been discussed. One would run under certain village roads; the other appears to be entirely in the county right of way. It may or may not be possible for some commercial businesses in Sea Cliff to hook into the line. Officials have thus far dismissed the possibility of hooking up any part of Glenwood Landing to the sewer as financially and technologically unfeasible.

The number of apartment units constructed is largely dependant on the construction of a sewer line. It is the Glenwood / Glen Head Civic Association’s position that if a way to accommodate sewering at least a portion of Glenwood Landing cannot be found, then maybe the applicant should be limited to the 40-unit proposal, which would probably treat waste in an on site system. In any case, the civic association believes that the footprint of the building is too large, the height of the building is too tall, and the public space is too limited for this project to be feasiable in Glenwood Landing, especially along the waterfont. Interestingly, the renderings of the 40-unit alternative and the 60-unit alternative both seem to show a building with the same footprint and height.

Should the project be approved with a sewer line, road opening permits will be issued by the county. There will be no opportunity for public participation or notification at that point in the process. Rather, if the project moves forward, the opportunity for public comment about the sewer line and other matters will be through hearings held by TNH in connection with the Final Environmental Impact Statement and an application to rezone the property from industrial to multiple residential. The Nassau County Planning Commission also will review the application and hold a public hearing.

It is important to recognize that participation in the review process can help shape the project. If you do not participate, you forfeit your right to complain! TNH has done two mailings to all of Glenwood Landing and parts of Glen Head to announce previous hearings, and the civic association has moutned a massive education campaign at considerable effort and expense. If you have been unaware of this project, it isn't for want of trying. There is every reason to believe that TNH will continue to encourage public input, and the civic association certainly will continue to do so. For more information, contact the TNH Planning Department (869-7679), watch this site for updates as information becomes available, and please inform neighbors about the situation.

Another Scudders Lot Possible

It appears that the lot on Scudders Lane adjacent to the six-unit subdivision on the southeast corner of Scudders and Lincoln Avenue currently under construction may be subdividable. The sloped parcel currently contains one blue house. If so, two homes are likely to rise on two smaller, newly created lots, bringing to 8 the total number of new homes to appear on that corner. Some of the new homes face Cleveland Ave in Hill Terrace.

TOB and Area Civics Discuss Knockdowns

The presidents of the Glenwood / Glen Head, Todd Estates, and Hill Terrance civic associations met with Town of Oyster Bay (TOB) Planning Department officials last Wednesday to discuss mechanisms that can be used to better manage a growing trend: replacing perfectly sound homes with the largest new structures permitted under the current zoning code and, sometimes, subdividing the property to create several additional lots—often in neighborhoods where the average existing lot size is much larger and the average existing house size is much smaller than those created by the new construction.

“The practice is visible throughout the town,” Commissioner Jack Libert said. “In fact, you can’t miss it almost anywhere you go.” The situation can be difficult to address. “We thought about upzoning,” Deputy Commissioner Leslie Maccarone said. “But then in most places there would be so many nonconforming lots that practically everybody would have to appear before the zoning board to do almost anything.”

Nevertheless, mechanisms to balance the demand for expansion capability with the desire to preserve community character do exist. Commissioner Libert said that TOB has hired Frederick P. Clark Associates, a planning firm that the town has used on many previous occasions, to analyze the situation with respect to TOB and to make recommendations.

The commissioner and deputy suggested that the department furnish the civic associations with copies of the Fredrick P. Clark report when it is completed and requested civic feedback. In addition, a public hearing will be held. The department also has provided the civic associations with a map that clearly delineates the various zones in Glenwood Landing and Glen Head.

According to Jack and Leslie, one key measure being considered for inclusion in the code is floor-area-ratio (FAR), which takes into consideration the amount of living space relative to lot size. Although FAR is included in TOB's commercial code, it is currently not in the residential code. Other measures being evaluated are the amount of pervious surface (such as a lawn) to non-pervious surface (such as an asphalt driveway), as well as maximum height and roof pitch.

All of these measures can work together to permit the expansion of existing homes or the construction of new ones in a manner that does not overwhelm a neighborhood. The civic associations have requested that the town examine some additional zoning techniques that are also designed to accomplish this goal, including:

• requiring subdivided lots and/or new construction or additions to conform to the average lot and/or building size in a neighborhood rather than be limited only by the conditions set forth for a particular zone (a measure that has been adopted by the Town of North Hempstead);

• protections for structures that are architecturally or historically desirable from a local perspective or that are essential for preserving community character;

• stricter controls on variances granted to nonconforming lots;

• special protections for slopes, the defining geographical feature of the north shore;

• restrictions on creation of oddly shaped lots, which are sometimes carved out only to maximize yield;

• application of cluster housing and conservation subdivision concepts to large and small parcels (with the proviso that these concepts are not intended to increase yield);

We have also suggested the town demand that relatively small lots comply with state stormwater requirements, which apply only to construction-related disturbances of an acre or more but can be extended by local municipalities to include smaller disturbances.

Tent Caterpillar Alert

Over the weekend, a sharp pair of eyes spotted a cocoon loaded with tent caterpillars on the young cherry tree in front of 98 Glenwood Road. The branch surrounded by the cocoon was quickly clipped, sealed in a plastic bag, and discarded in a trash can. Be on the lookout for these potentially destructive pests on any trees—especially the saplings planted along Glenwood Road last winter by Nassau County (see Adopt a Tree on Glenwood Road, April 8; On Your Mark, Get Ready, Start Watering, March 26). If you see a cocoon, don’t stop to ask—just cut off the branch that supports the cocoon, seal it in a plastic bag, and toss it in the trash.

Demolition Permit Issued for Glenwood Road Subdivision

The Town of Oyster Bay Building Department confirms that on April 26 the Building Department issued a demolition permit for structures located on the northwest corner of Glenwood Road and Kissam Lane opposite the Glenwood Landing Post Office, where a 7-unit subdivision has been proposed. The permit includes removal of underground oil tanks.

The subdivision has been under review for several years. An environmental review found that the site contained significant Native American artifacts. Demolition of structures and excavation was delayed until the applicant removed the artifacts to a location where they would be preserved. Proof of removal apparently has been submitted to the satisfaction of the appropriate authorities.

The existing buildings have stood on the site since the 19th century. They were originally owned by the Townsends, one of Glenwood Landing's earliest families. The civic association commissioned a historical study of the site and submitted it to the TOB Landmarks Commission with the hope that it would be possible to preserve the structures. Unfortunately, no mechanism was found.

The civic association has participated in review of the subdivsion and proposed several alternatives, including a cluster plan and a five-structure/six-unit plan.