The organizer of an environmental lawsuit in Plainview-Old Bethpage said he will carry on efforts despite the case’s plaintiffs decision to walk away.
Richard Brummel, of East Hills, will continue to represent neighbors, trail bikers and walkers who use a 143-acre swath of land at Old Country and Round Swamp roads in a legal fight against the Country Pointe development slated for the site. Brummel said the development plan, approved last May by the Town of Oyster Bay, would lead to deforestation on the site, along with other environmental impacts not accurately disclosed in the town’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), according to a lawsuit filed last June.
It is that lawsuit that Brummel hopes to revive and appeal, despite the decision of the original plaintiffs to forgo any further pursuit of the case. An initial effort to reverse the Dec. 15 decision of Supreme Court Justice George R. Peck was filed earlier this month by Brummel, who asked the court to grant him “intervenor” status to make sure a “notice of appeal” was filed before the 30-day deadline expires.
“We have an excellent case, replete with a ‘smoking-gun’ of bait-and-switch forests-to-be levelled, and other omissions and deceptions,” said Brummel. “I understand the original plaintiffs got worn out and I applaud their involvement. Now we need to take over the baton and go to the appellate court. We have new plaintiffs who are equally aggrieved and I am hopeful the courts will follow the law and help us overturn the environmental review.”
Brummel filed an emergency “order to show cause” before Peck, arguing that his frequent visits to the Plainview site since April 2014 gave him legal standing to ask the court to protect his interest. Peck refused to grant the order and refused to hold a hearing on the motion, writing a note that the case was already concluded and that he determined the applicant had no standing.
At least two more users of the property are planning to appear before the court in the next weeks to both assure a timely filing of the notice of appeal as well as to seek to prevent any damage to the property while the appeal is pending.
“With a new review, all issues could be back on the table,” said Brummel. “This is an important case, for Plainview, for Nassau and for New York State. These plaintiffs were denied ‘standing’ by Justice Peck in a manner that flies in the face of legal precedent. Furthermore, these environmental laws are routinely flouted by developers and government, especially in Nassau County. We need to take this battle as far as it goes—and try to win it.”
Country Pointe, a housing and retail development by Jericho-based Beechwood Organization, was approved by the Town of Oyster Bay in May.