Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 07 June 2013 00:00
A New York State Supreme Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by East Hills resident Richard Brummel, one that attempted to reverse eight recent decisions of the East Hills Architectural Review Board (ARB).
“I am consulting with legal experts on whether or not to appeal,” Brummel told The Roslyn News. “The judge issued a pretty detailed decision, but it seemed to ignore recent developments in the law and seemed to take an overly conservative view of the issues and the legal arguments presented.”
Brummel noted that the judge, Justice Anthony L. Parga, had denied the village’s request for costs in the lawsuit.
“I take the denial of costs as a small victory,” he said. “The judge seemed to be acknowledging that my lawsuit was sincere, competent, and made in good faith. So he declined to burden me, let alone penalize me.”
“But this is a regrettable decision,” Brummel added. Citizens, he said, need to able to fight environmental policies, ones that he claimed left “no beautiful tree…safe and no neighborhood…sacred, despite laws explicitly claiming to protect them.”
Brummel said that his “single-handed legal effort” cost him at least $750 in costs and court fees and an estimated 50 or more hours of research, writing and other work.
“I see and read about this pattern of suburban environmental degradation everywhere in this area, and I will keep fighting it as hard as I can. My next goal is to rally Long Island residents to join together against over-development and destructive re-building,” Brummel said.
Village of East Hills officials, meanwhile, were pleased with the decision.
“From the outset we believed that the litigation lacked merit,” said Mayor Michael R. Koblenz in a written statement. “The Supreme Court has now denied the application for a stay and other requests by Richard Brummel and dismissed the petition against the Village. The financial commitment, however, to defend these types of actions has been significant. In this era of fiscal constraint, these funds could have been put to better use.
“The resident claimed a right to appeal every decision by our ARB to another village board, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA),” the mayor noted. “The ARB…decides issues of aesthetics and the removal and replacement of trees. This would mean, theoretically, that every resident in East Hills could…challenge every decision rendered by the ARB concerning someone else’s home and application. That result would tie the administrative system in knots. Although the village prevailed and the litigation was dismissed, it is still unfortunate because our taxpayers have to foot the bill.”