After going to Nassau Supreme Court on an emergency basis recently, three plaintiffs from the Roslyn area obtained a Temporary Restraining Order to protect the 33-acre recreational forest at Christopher Morley Park from any work on behalf of the air stripper for the Roslyn Water District.
The order to preserve the status quo in the forest was granted after an emergency hearing due to the imminent expiration of a Statute of Limitations on one decision the plaintiffs were challenging, from February.
In June, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation approving the air stripper, one that stipulated that the air stripper can be removed once it is no longer needed.
For several months, local officials have stressed that it is needed to remove toxic Freon and Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) from a water well in the Roslyn Water District.
The order is due to remain in effect until a court hearing, which was set for early July. Results of that hearing will appear in future issues of The Roslyn News.
The three agencies challenged are Nassau County, which owns and runs Christopher Morley Park, the Town of North Hempstead, and the Roslyn Water District. The water district is a Special Improvement District of the Town, which appropriates money for its capital budget, such as the air-stripper project.
East Hills resident Richard Brummel and two Roslyn Estates residents who live close to the Christopher Morley Park challenged various official actions as being in violation of numerous provisions of New York State environmental protection law.
The Sierra Club LI Group and the Green Party of Nassau County have also opposed the use of the Christopher Morley Park for the air-stripper.
The Water District claims the facility is perfectly safe for neighbors, pointing to dozens of such facilities in residential neighborhoods across Long Island, and had planned to locate it on its own property before a chorus of opponents pushed them to try to locate it in the Park.
Brummel in particular has argued that no air-strippers are safe because they pollute the atmosphere with chemicals such as Freon, even if the toxic gases don’t threaten the direct neighbors.
Local politicians all hailed the passage of the state legislation.
“I’m quite pleased to hear that Senator [Jack] Martins was able to lead the efforts in the State Senate to pass this important legislation. The vast majority of residents of Roslyn Estates came out expressing their concerns with the air stripper being placed in our village and wanted to see it moved into the Park,” said Village of Roslyn Estates Mayor Jeffrey Schwartzberg. “Our representatives in the state, the county, the town, our village and the Roslyn Water District all came together to make this happen. Although it is not finalized, this is a major step closer and I truly believe that if we all continue to work together we can make this happen.”
In early June, rallies were held at Christopher Morley Park, two of which featured speakers from the Sierra Club LI Group and the Green Party of Nassau County, as well as Bruce Piel from Parks and Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCNassau).
A petition with about 300 signatures of Park users opposing the project was gathered in the Park over three weekends. A petition with 150 signatures was submitted to the County Legislature before they approved the alienation Home Rule Message on June 2. The voice vote was unanimous.