Temporary Injunction Issued to Protect Christopher Morley
Forest;Judge's Order Overturns Nassau Ordinance Used to
Block Rally There
On June 25, 2014.
After going to Nassau Supreme Court on an emergency basis Tuesday, plaintiffs
from the Roslyn area obtained a Temporary Restraining Order to protect the
33-acre recreational forest at Christopher Morley Park from any
work to install an "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. The emergency also dealt with the
imminent destruction of dozens of trees in the forest.
The order is due to
remain in effect until the next court hearing which is currently scheduled
before assigned Justice James P. McCormack, next Wednesday July 2, 2014. Justice
F. Dana Winslow signed the present TRO as a Special Term judge for the day.
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.
Meanwhile, a Nassau County ordinance used to prevent protests and
demonstrations at County parks was overturned by a State Supreme Court judge in
an order dated June 13, after a challenge by environmental activist Richard
Brummel, who was initially denied a permit to protest the plans for Christopher
The Nassau County Legislature may act on the Roslyn Water District
project at its next meeting Monday, June 30 at 1 PM. The State Legislature has
approved the loss of parkland, and the law is awaiting Governor Cuomo's
Planet-In-Peril.org and two residents of Roslyn Estates who live very
close to the Christopher Morley forest challenged various official actions up to
June 22, 2014 as being in gross violation of numerous provisions of NY state
environmental protection law.
The Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCnassau), 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.
The air-stripper project in Roslyn would involve cutting a 320-foot road
through a vibrant forest and walking trail, leading to a half-acre compound with
a 30-foot tall building that would emit a constant hum, as well as putting toxic
chemicals into the atmosphere 24/6.
The proposed site of the facility is only 150 feet from a camping area
used by Boy Scouts for overnight camping, and the project would involve the
destruction of about 50 healthy, towering trees including Tulip-trees and Oak
Despite many serious environmental impacts such as those, the project was
essentially 'waved through' by local officials and not subject to any
substantial, complete environmental review by any of the government agencies, in
violation of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the lawsuit
Information and legal papers on the Christopher Morley lawsuit are posted
online at Planet-in-Peril.org, under "Environmental Action Update June 24,
In an earlier action over the protest permits, environmental activists,
who are also part of the second action, sued the County to hold some rallies in
Christopher Morley Park to draw attention to the water project, which many park
users are not aware of.
When the County denied the permits, the courts were asked to force the
permits. Justice Anthony Parga refused to grant an injunction, but the County
relented anyway and issued several permits.
Later after an argument outlined that the County was violating freedom of
speech and freedom of assembly guarantees under the state and federal
constitutions. Justice Roy S. Mahon approved the relief he sought because the
order was "unopposed."
After Nassau issued permits, rallies were held at Christopher Morley Park
on four days in early June, two of which featured speakers from the Sierra Club
LI Group and the Green Party of Nassau County, as well as Bruce Piel from the
Park 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.