A developer recently submitted an application to the Nassau County Planning Commission (NCPC) to obtain permission for the subdivision of an approximately 5.21 acre parcel into five residential lots to allow for construction of single-family dwellings and associated amenities. The project is located on the north side of the intersection of Woodbury Road and Syosset-Woodbury Road, west of Whitney Lane and immediately south of the Long Island Railroad in Woodbury.
NCPC determined that the proposed Woodbury Hills Residential Subdivision may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and now a Draft Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared. As part of that process, a public scoping session was held on April 1.
The proposed development sits immediately east of the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail, which is a 20-mile long National Scenic Recreation Trail and Nassau's only long distance hiking trail and is a component of the National Trail System.
Approximately ten people requested to speak at the recent scoping session regarding the impact this development will have on the Greenbelt Trail.
"This threatens the continuity of the Greenbelt Trail, which runs north to south from Cold Spring Harbor to Massapequa," said Michael Vitti, from the Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists (CLIMB) and Stillwell Woods trail steward.
Other concerns from residents dealt with the nearby Long Island Rail Road tracks. Trees are scheduled to be removed and those who live in the area are concerned that demolition will increase the noise level as the trees currently conceal it.
According to members of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference, the development of the property would involve stripping a hilly, deeply forested area of vegetation by removing 86,000 cubic yards of soil. "The Greenbelt hiking trail is already confined in this area to a very narrow corridor, which it shares with a parallel mountain bike trail," said Richard Schary, board member for the Long Island Greenbelt Trail Conference.
Another concern stems from the developers plan to excavate the hill that exists in the area. "The proposed site is a steep hill of sand covered by a very thin layer of topsoil. The hillside is already severely eroded along its entire length where it towers precariously above the LIRR tracks," said Schary. "There have been a number of flash floods and washouts along the tracks below the property, most recently on August 14, 2001 when over 200 feet of track were swept away."
Other residents brought up traffic and safety concerns, stemming from the proposed location - adjacent to the intersection of Syosset and Woodbury Roads, an intersection with a bad reputation and the location of many accidents.
Other environmental concerns were raised at the meeting. "Groundwater is Nassau County's sole source for our aquifer. Ground water protection areas are getting smaller every year," Vitti said in a letter he wrote to the Planning Commission. "Your action to deny building on this environmentally sensitive land will preserve this property, benefiting residents of Nassau County and future generations. Building in this diminishing corridor of the Greenbelt Trail, now known as Trail View State Park, should be stopped. If it were allowed, it would threaten natural habitats, the outdoor experience and the continuity of the trail. There are over 5,000 members of various outdoors clubs that use these trails and will be offended by the destruction of this precious green space."
Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs wrote a letter to the Nassau County Planning Commission expressing her concern pointing out the flooding problems on Whitney Lane and the close proximity to the Greenbelt Trail. "I certainly hope that the Planning Commission recognizes the dangers to the residents on Whitney Lane in the review of the application," said Jacobs.
Those opposed to the project are encouraged to attend a meeting at the home of Lynn Bonaventura at 235 Woodbury Road on April 12 at 8 p.m.
Residents have until the end of April to submit their comments on the subject. Send all correspondence to Michael Levine, Nassau County Planning Commission, 400 County Seat Drive, Mineola, NY 11501 no later than April 30.