Unfortunately, Edwards Super Food Stores, in its recent mailing to Roslyn residents, shows no more inclination to provide all the facts to the public than its predecessor, Stop & Shop. Edwards' letter conveniently overlooks the following:
1. Three successive court decisions, the last one heard at the state's highest level, the Appellate Court in Albany, confirmed that Stop & Shop had failed to submit a full or supplemental environmental impact statement as required under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). The courts declared the Stop & Shop project "null and void" because it erroneously bypassed rigorous environmental review.
2. Contrary to information touted at public meetings, the Stop & Shop project did not have approval from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to build up to a 115,000 square-foot shopping complex. In fact, the DEC had approved a maximum of 85,000 square feet for a previous project - 2,000 square feet fewer than the proposed project. The DEC also specifically required that all drainage be contained on the site, i.e. no stormwater runoff into Hempstead Harbor. Stop & Shop's new plan not only ignored the requirement, but requested special permission from Nassau County to reduce its catch basin retention capacity and thereby allow even more runoff into Hempstead Harbor. In other words, the Stop & Shop plan, in these and many other significant ways, did not comply with the DEC approval they claimed to have had.
3. When Stop & Shop started work on the site and on the bulkhead along the creek, they did not have:
a. a building permit or Historic District Board approval;
b. approval from the Army Corps of Engineers to do construction in federally-regulated waters. Stop & Shop applied for a retroactive permit from the Army Corps after they completed construction and were notified of their unapproved activity.
So, despite Edwards' claim that they spent $3,000,000 for site preparation "pursuant to that approval," they, in fact, did not have all the necessary permits and approvals for their project and were repeatedly warned that they were building at their own risk.
4. Finally, how does building a supermarket of that size in that location "make sense...environmentally" when the following are considered:
a. increase in traffic and consequent air pollution
b. destruction of wetlands, increase of runoff into the creek
c. permanent loss of the waterfront for public use
d. cumulative impact of the project in light of other local developments, e.g. Morewood property
3. impact on the historic and aesthetic quality of Roslyn Village and on pedestrian safety.
We, too, would like to see Edwards "stop the enormous economic drain on all parties" as they state in their letter - but not by allowing a deep-pocketed, corporate bully to intimidate the public. Their overt threats are misguided at best and tacky beyond belief. Let us put all the facts on the table, and then maybe we'll have something to talk about.