PARCnassau

Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau. A coalition of 150 park advocacy and/or user groups with a combined membership of over 250,000 county residents.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Court stops the installation of Air Stripper in Christopher Morley Park, Roslyn


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 Morley Park.

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 signature.  

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 trees.

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 charges.

Information and legal papers on the Christopher Morley lawsuit are posted online at Planet-in-Peril.org, under "Environmental Action Update June 24, 2014".

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.



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Stop Water Stripper being built in Christopher Morely Park


Statement in Opposition to the proposal to locate a "Water Stripper" in Nassau County's Christopher Morley Park, Roslyn, NY

June 11, 2014
The Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCnassau) opposes the placement of a "water stripper" in Christopher Morley Park by the Roslyn Water District and urges the County Administration, County Legislators, County Park Officials and NYS Legislators to stop this overt theft of public parkland to address a trace contaminant found in a well outside the park

Over the last 3 county administrations, the county park system, has been decimated. by wholesale give-aways of parkland by leasing and permitting private use and occupancy for up to 20 years by various organizations looking to profit at the taxpayers' expense. Private companies do not pay real estate taxes on public lands.

The 600 acres of county parkland including 18 parks, preserves and museums have been systematically looted by the very public officials charged with the protection and preservation of these facilities.

Enough is enough!

The following county parklands have been gifted, leased and/or privatized over the past several years. It  is time to stop!

Facility                                                  Beneficiary                                            Acreage

Roosevelt Preserve                                 Coleman Camp                                      4 acres
Tanglewood Preserve                              Centre for Science & Learning                 11 acres
Hempstead Harbor Park                         Huntington Coach Co (Bus Storage         290 acres
Manhasset Valley Park                          TONH   (Inter government favor)               230 acres
Whitney Pond Park                                TONH               "                                   24 acres
Herricks Park                                        TONH              "                                                2.4 acres
Albertson Memorial Park                        TONH              "                                                2 acres
Sagamore Ballfield                                 TONH             "                                     1 acre
Roslyn Road Park                                  TONH             "                                     1 Acre
Plandome Park                                      TONH             "                                     1 acre
Cantiague Park                                      Westbury Jeep  (auto storage)                2.5 acres
Christopher Morley Park                         C. Morley Tennis LLC (privatize)              5 acres
Christopher Morely Park                         Ice Rink (Privatize)                                 1 acre
Christopher Morely Park                         Roslyn Water District                             2 acres
Eisenhower Park                                    Private Pool(Dave Ferris                          2 acres
Eisenhower Park                                    Private Tennis Facility                            6 acres
Bay Park                                               Molloy College                                       20 acres
Mitchell Field                                         Molloy College                                       10 acres
Mitchell Field                                         Pro Soccer                                            10 acres
Old Bethpage Planting Fields                  US Armor Museum                                10 acres
Sterling Woods                                      TOB      (Forest into ball fields)                15 acre
Millburn Park                                         Coral House                                          2 acres
                                                                                                                        649.9( acres

Bruce Piel
Chairman
Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau
516 783-8378

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Private Pool In Eisenhower Park
Doesn't Hold Water


The current county administration continues to destroy our public parks for questionable financial gains. The latest is to allow a private company to build a private pool behind the Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park. The reason? Allegedly, Deputy County Executive Rob Walker has stated "The land is just lying there and not making any money". This administration doesn't know that  It's parkland and not supposed to be "making money".  Its only function is to provide low or no cost recreations to Nassau  taxpayers and citizens

Instead this "new pool" will be in competition with the "county pool complex" while depending on that Center to provide, lockers, rest rooms, showers, etc. etc. Something like a remora attached to a shark.
How did this come about? Well Dave Ferris, former Parks Department director of the Aquatic Center was cashiered in 2003 for questionable activities there.  Under his management the Aquatic Center had  deteriorated to the point where it needed $25 million dollars in repairs and upgrades. In 2011 Mr. Ferris proposed to build a private auxiliary pool next to the Aquatic Center to  continue his competitive swimming classes.
 
He asked PARCnassau to meet him to explain what he was asking. We did and advised Mr. Ferris, we could not support his proposal. His claim that the aquatic center was too crowded and its pool overbooked were found to be wild exaggerations.  The Aquatic Center is 80,000 square feet with a 223 foot pool for competition, training and lessons, plus  diving pool and a full health spa. That isn't cramped!!

PARCnassau supports the Democratic minority in the county legislature's request for the Nassau Interim Finance Authority  to review this proposal with a view to forbidding it. While they are at it, perhaps they could look at the private tennis courts being built in Eisenhower and Christopher Morley Parks and stop these other  "thefts" of public lands.

PARCnassau further asks State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman to prosecute Nassau County for violations of NYS Case Law on the Alienation Of Municipal Parkland!  It is time to stand up, taxpayers, and save our county parks. No transient politicians should be permitted to privatize them and deprive the residents who paid to acquire, develop and maintain these facilities for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

Bruce Piel, Chairman

Thursday, October 31, 2013

PARCnassu Endorses Tom Suozzi for Nassau County Executive

After  long discussion with Tom Suozzi about the Nassau County Park system, we found he understands the underlying issues of the parks belonging "to the people not the politicians". He supports our opposition to the unbridled privatization of our public parklands and open spaces.

Tom is comitted to forming an advisory committee of park advocates to monitor and consult with the county on all park issues to insure the public access and needs are met. His understanding, that parks are an integral part of the suburban lifestyle here on Long Island and must be improved and protected by county government, is essential to all taxpayers and park users.

We've seen what the current county executive, Ed Mangano, has allowed on his watch. Rampant privatization in violation of the Alienation of Municipal Parklands case law of NYS. The chainsaw massacre of hundreds of healthy trees in our preserves to qualify for FEMA aid, etc. etc. His administration sees parks as cash cows not as recreational resources for a weary and financially strained public.

When it comes to these two candidates, we believe this is a no brainer; Tom Suozzi is the best choice for Nassau County Parks and is willing to include public oversight to his agenda. We urge all Nassau residents and taxpayers that use and support the couty park system to vote for Tom on November5th.

Bruce Piel
Chairman, Park Advocacy & Recreational Council of Nassau (PARCnassau)
246 Twin Lane East
Wantagh, NY 11793
(5116) 783-8378
parcnassau@aol.com

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mangano excludes public from parking lot in Cantiague Park, Hicksville


Cantiague Park now has long term private parking

(public excluded)

by Bruce Piel
Chairman
Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCnassau
)

The Mangano Administration through the Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums has entered into an agreement with Westbury Jeep, 100 Jericho Turnpike, Jericho, NY 11753 to permit that private company to fence off Parking Lot 2 at Cantiague Park, Hicksville and store new and used automobiles there subject to available space which would allow over 500 vehicles. The fencing and signs exclude the public from that area.

The time period currently runs from October 1, 2013 until April, 2014. A Foil request to see the agreement is being deliberately stalled until after the upcoming election, Surprise, Surprise!

We checked with NYS Parks which monitors any applications by local governments  to obtain Alienation  of Municipal Parklands legislation from the NYS Legislature. o such request has been filed to date. This means that Nassau County is in  violation  of NYS case law in this matter and continues the policy of Privatization of Nassau County Parklands.

County taxpayers should protest this blatant and illegal exclusion of their full access to Cantiague, its Parking Fields and all other county parks. Complaints should be made to county legislators and state legislators as well as the NYS Attorney General. Protect your rights to unfettered access to all parkland you have bought, developed and maintained in Nassau.

 "All that's necessary for 'evil' to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

 

PARCnassau
246 Tin Lane East
Wantagh, NY 11793
(516) 783-83787

Sunday, September 08, 2013

HOW TO CONVERT A PARK INTO A JUNKYARD
An environmentally unfriendly program courtesy of Nassau County and the Town of North Hempstead.

By Bruce Piel Chairman of PARCnassau

In 2005, then County Executive Thomas Suozzi and Jon Kaiman, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor, both noted for their policy of benign neglect of parklands under their jurisdiction, got together to make a grand plan. Mr. Suozzi who bled his parks dry of personnel, equipment and priorities would turn over to the town up to 13 county parks within the boundaries of North Hempstead, thus freeing up monies for more important programs such as more patronage appointments. Mr. Kaiman could claim the new park acreage as an accomplishment of his administration without and expenditure of money then or in the future.

This agreement was pushed through the county and town legislatures without complying with the NYS case law on alienation of municipal parks. When this violation was raised, friendly state legislators agreed to push a motion through without public notification or comment. Most of the parklands involved were small parcels, some just a neighborhood ball field. However, there were 3 parks of note, Hempstead Harbor Park, Whitney Pond Park and Manhasset Valley Park. All were in a state of disrepair especially Hempstead Harbor.

Well 8 years have passed and an inspection of Hempstead Harbor was made by PARCnassau volunteers. The result is an outrage. The main parking lot is used as a commuter parking area during the day. The beach is fenced off as being dangerous for swimmers and sunbathers. All the sand has washed away and there is no program of replenish it. The fishing pier is closed off for public safety and is slowly crumbling into the harbor. There is no proposal to repair or rebuild the pier. Strangely, an old tug boat and a couple of decrepit barges are using the pier as a mooring spot

. As for the north end of the park. There are 70 to 80 school buses using the site as a storage and dispatch area. Yes, 70 to 80 buses! These are owned and operated by Huntington Coach and their affiliate companies. These vehicles are leeching petroleum products into the soil and ultimately into the harbor. Huntington Coach has a dispatch office on premises and parking for staff and other employees. This is a blatant violation of the Alienation of Municipal Parkland case law of New York State.

In addition, The Town of North Hempstead is using a large section of parkland to store rock salt, sand and other snow removal equipment. This junk is also leaching into the soil and the harbor. Any park advocate or supporter is invited to visit Hempstead Harbor Park as long as they have a strong stomach.

Whitney Pond Park and Manhasset Valley Parks are also in desperate need of rehabilitation and repair. Perhaps Mr. Mangano would ask for these parks to be transferred back to the county (not likely)

Thank you Tom and Jon for turning our county parks into junk yards. Every county taxpayer should be demanding the recovery of those parks and bring them back to the people that paid for their acquisition, development, maintenance and use.

Park Advocacy & Recreation Council of Nassau (PARCnassau)
246 Twin Lane East,
Wantagh, NY 11793
(516)783-8378
parcnassau@aol.com

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tweedle-dum & Tweedle-dee

Tweedle-dum & Tweedle-Dee PARCnassau endorses Adam Haber for County Executive by Bruce Piel Many years ago when chatting with a neighbor and friend who was heavily involved in a minority party in Nassau, I lamented that I could see little or no difference between the two major parties, Republican or Democrat. He responded, they are just Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. They are self serving. patronage happy and given to half truths and even lying when it suits their purpose. They are ruled by committee chairman whose only aim is to win elections and control the subsequent patronage. In 2000 we began PARCnassau to give voice to Nassau County Park users and taxpayers who care about their park system for recreation in many forms. Tom Gulotta had just halved the number of annual employees from 1600 to 800 and the neglect of parks was beginning to show. Normally when choosing a new County Executive, we only have one candidate's record in that office to evaluate whether to vote one way or the other. This year, however both “major” candidates have had a term of office as county executive and can be evaluated when determining your vote. In our opinion both Tom Suozzi and Ed Mangano and their administrations have proven disastrous for county parks and preserves. Between the two, annual employees in the parks system, have declined to a few hundred and the parks look it. Mr. Suozzi is noted for his observation that “Government is not qualified to run a park system”. (If not government, then who?) Mr. Mangano boasts he doesn’t raise taxes but both he and Mr. Suozzi raised fees over and over. Bottom Line you the taxpayer pay more and more through existing taxes and increasing fees for recreation that should be free or low cost. Privatization of our park sysem is rampant from both candidates. Suozzi gave away 13 parks and allowed private day camps in a number of parks. His administration entertained turning Cedar Creek Park into a privately owned facility with an amusement park and go-cart track until the community rose up and had that proposal killed. Mangano is giving away athletic fields in Bay Park and Mitchel Field to private interests. He is also allowing private operators to build and operate Tennis Courts in Christopher Morley and Eisenhower Parks. The ultimate betrayal is allowing the building of a Private pool behind the Aquatic Center in Eisenhower Park. He also tried to destroy neighborhood ball leagues by taking away their ball fields and raising their fees. Some of these ideas should be built and operated by county employees without private operators walking away with a profit on county residents. Enough! Neither Mr. Suozzi or Mr. Mangano and their political appointees are qualified to run county parks. Let’s give Adam Haber a chance to do right by parks and park users. PARCnassau urges all registered democrats to vote for Adam Haber in the primary and all voters to vote for him in the General Election. It’s time to return Nassau County Parks to the people that paid to acquire, develop and maintain those public facilities. Please support our parks by supporting Adam Haber for County Executive.