Belmont Update 3/29/19: Village of Floral Park calls for ESD to Restart Belmont Re-Development Project.

On March 1, 2019, the Village of Floral Park submitted an extensive set of comments to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (“DEIS”) relating to the New York Arena Partners’ (“NYAP”) proposal to develop portions of the Belmont Park property (the “Project”). Empire State Development (“ESD”) had established March 1st as the deadline for comments to the DEIS for the Project pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”) and Urban Development Corporation Act (“UDC Act”). Subsequent to the March 1st deadline, the Village received a response to an October 2018 FOIL request seeking copies of communications between the New York Racing Association (“NYRA”) and the Franchise Oversight Board (“FOB”) relating to the Belmont Park property.  The documents eventually produced in response to the FOIL request revealed a 60+ page document from 2016 entitled “Belmont Park Master Plan”.   The Village is disturbed by the revelation that there has been a previously developed Master Plan for redevelopment of Belmont Park, without any input from the surrounding communities, and that this Master Plan was in existence, yet undisclosed, prior to the commencement of this RFP process.

At this time, the Village, by way of its outside counsel, Beveridge and Diamond, has filed with ESD a set of supplemental comments to the DEIS which is attached to this release.  In addition to the many concerns already raised in the Village’s original comments, the document the Village just received reinforces the fact that the review of the Project has been improperly segmented from planned improvements by NYRA at Belmont.  The Village is now calling on the ESD to start the DEIS process over as NYRA’s plans must be included and cannot be segmented from the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project.

Indeed, as reflected in Beveridge & Diamond’s supplemental comments on behalf of the Village, it is possible that the ESD may need to re-commence the entire RFP process.

The Village of Floral Park has requested for over a decade the development of a Master Plan for Belmont Park. The Village additionally has been asking for over a decade for the creation of a statutory Community Advisory Board, similar to those that have existed at Saratoga and Aqueduct.  These Community Advisory Boards for Saratoga and Aqueduct have been a part of the approval process for changes at those facilities as well as being proactive liaisons between NYRA and the local community.  The Village of Floral Park firmly believes that such a Community Advisory Board will allow for smart and measured development at Belmont Park that would benefit the surrounding communities as well as preserving Belmont Park as a premier destination for horse racing, as it has been for over a century.  Once a properly constituted Community Advisory Board is in place, then the development of a Master Plan for the future development of the State owned land at Belmont Park can and should proceed with input from the surrounding impacted communities, including Floral Park.

 

Click here to view Supplemental Comments to the DEIS submitted by Beveridge & Diamond on behalf of the Village

*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

3/4/19

On Friday March 1st  the Village submitted their extensive comments to the Empire State Development Corp. (ESD) in response to the recently published Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  As part of our submission we attached the comments of members of the Belmont Task Force. Simultaneously our outside counsel (Beveridge and Diamond) along with the traffic consultant (NV5) submitted their comments and expert opinions.  Attached please find our collective submissions.

Village of Floral Park Comments to Belmont Redevelopment Project Submitted  3/1/19 Part 1

Village of Floral Park Comments to Belmont Redevelopment Project Submitted  3/1/19 Part 2

Beveridge & Diamond Comments to Belmont Redevelopment Project Submitted 3/1/19 

Comments to DEIS Exhibit A

Comments to DEIS Exhibit B

Comments to DEIS Exhibit C

Comments to DEIS Exhibit D

Comments to DEIS Exhibit E

Comments to DEIS Exhibit F

Comments to DEIS Exhibit G

Separately, we, over the course of the past month, sent to the ESD 2462 signed letters that were dropped by our residents at Village  Hall.

The Board would like to thank all of our residents for being proactive and ensuring that our shared concerns were placed on the record for the ESD and it’s Board’s review and careful consideration.

 

******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Draft Environmental Statement for the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project  

Click here for a copy of the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement 

************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

The Village of Floral Park has requested Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead step in on behalf of the residents of Western Nassau, including the Village of Floral Park, with respect to the mega project at Belmont, proposed by the Empire State Development Corp. (“ESD”).

Below, please find the following letters from Mayor Longobardi:

  • To County Executive Laura Curran, asking Nassau County to conduct its own independent traffic study relating to the ESD’s proposed project at Belmont.

Letter to County Executive Curran

  • To the Nassau County Planning Commission, requesting and urging the Nassau County Planning Commission to exercise its jurisdiction over ESD’s proposal and under the Urban Development Corp Act (UDC Act) over ESD’s proposal and for the Planning Commission to recommend rejection or modification of ESD’s proposal.

Letter to Planning Commission

  • To Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen and the Hempstead Town Board asking the Town Board to exercise its jurisdiction under the UDC Act and for the Town Board to recommend rejection or modifications of ESD’s proposal.

Letter to Town Supervisor Gillen

 

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

The Belmont Task Force submitted over 1300 letters from residents objecting to the size and scope of the project.

Although this project is not subject to a public vote, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU VOICE YOUR CONCERNS.

Below are links to statements of the Board, Village Officials and residents submitted at the January 8th meeting.

 Mayor Dominick Longobardi

 Trustee Kevin Fitzgerald

 Turstee Archie Cheng

 Trustee Dr. Lynn Pombonyo

 Village Administrator Gerard Bambrick

Village Clerk Susan Walsh

Former Mayor Thomas Tweedy

Police Commissioner Stephen McAllister

 Kevin Flood

 Bernadette Smith

 Frank Gunther

Dennis McEnery

Floral Park Bellerose School Board President Laura Ferone

 Gerald McGowan

Kathleen Wagner-Tyson

Michael Culotta

Below are links to statements of the Board, Village Officials and residents submitted at the January 9th meeting.

Trustee Dr. Lynn Pombonyo

Trustee Frank Chiara

Village Administrator Gerard Bambrick

Floral Park Bellerose School Board President Laura Ferone

Floral Park Bellerose School Superintendent Michael Dantona

Marc Mullen

Kevin Flood

Frank Gunther

Heather McClintock

Jessica Alfonsi

Kathleen Wagner-Tyson

Michael Culotta

Floral Park Bellerose School Board President Laura Ferone

Floral Park Bellerose School Board Trustee Douglas Madden

Below are links to statements of the Board, Village Officials and residents submitted at the January 10th meeting.

Mayor Dominick Longobardi

Trustee Kevin Fitzgerald

Trustee Archie Cheng

Trustee Dr, Lynn Pombonyo 

Former Mayor Thomas Tweedy

Floral Park Bellerose School Board Vice President Laura Trentacoste

James Dodsen

Dennis McEnery

Bernadette Smith

Jessica Alfonsi

Eileen Carrig

Michael Culotta

Ann Gribbins

Mary Petrosino

 

*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Please remember to come to the ESD’s hearings on the DEIS.  These hearings are all at the Elmont Public Library (700 Hempstead Turnpike) on the following dates and at the following times beginning tomorrow:

Tuesday, January 8  – 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
       Wednesday, January 9 – 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
                                                          6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
       Thursday, January 10 – 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

If you are not sure what you want to say at these hearings, perhaps you can just step forward, give your name and address, say that this project is just too big and submit copies of these letters ESD Letters to submit (with your name and address filled out) directly to the ESD at the hearing. If you need help formulating what you want to say, please contact Village Hall for help.  However you choose to have your opinion placed on the record, it is important and helpful if you attend one of these hearings.

A good source of information about the size and scope of this proposed project are the statements from the Belmont Task Force Members at last week’s Informational Meeting.

The presentation from Kevin Flood, a Belmont Task Force Member, gives you a good idea how this project has significantly grown in size and scope since it was proposed last year.  Presentation from Kevin Flood-Belmont Task Force Member

 

Copies of the statements from other Belmont Task Force Members at the Information Session covering other topics and concerns can be viewed by clicking the following links below

Statement by Marc Mullen-President of West End Civic Association, Belmont Task Force Member at the Village Board/Belmont Task Force Information Session Jan 3, 2019

Statement by Police Commissioner-Stephen McAllister, 

Outline of Presentation by Frank Gunther, Belmont Task Force Member at the Village Board/Belmont Task Force Information Session Jan 3, 2019

Talking Points of Michael Cullota, Belmont Task Force Member at the Village Board/Belmont Task Force Information Session Jan 3, 2019

Statement by Joe Alfonsi, Belmont Task Force Member at the Village Board/Belmont Task Force Information Session Jan 3, 2019

 

 

 Ask our elected officials to support us! HOW??

  • Be specific in what you want —- NO mega-mall, a functioning full-time Belmont LIRR station, no parking for this project north of Hempstead Tpke, OR whatever concern you have
  • Call and give your concerns: Give your name & address – your call won’t count if anonymous. Numbers are on the elected official Contact List below.
  • Send a letter: Draft form letters and Elected Official Contact List is available below.
  • Show up at the Hearings on the DEIS at the Elmont Public Library (700 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont):

January 8th at 6  to 9 pm

January 9th at 4  to 6 pm and 6:30 to 9:00 pm

January 10th at 6  to 9 pm

  • And don’t forget to email your comments, questions and concerns to:

[email protected]

 

elected officials list

DEIS Community Letter #1(Parking Lots)

DEIS Community Letter #2(Traffic)

DEIS Community Letter #3 (Mall)

 DEIS Community Letter #4 (Belmont LIRR Station)

 

Jan 3 2019 mtg

 

12/12/18

Floral Park’s Four Civic Associations Share the Village’s Concern Regarding Proposed Over Development at Belmont Park.

Statement of Shared Concerns

 

12/6/18

Today the New York State Empire State Development Corp  released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project. A copy of the DEIS is available here:

https://esd.ny.gov/belmont-park-redevelopment-project-deis

 The ESD has announced that hearings on the DEIS will be held on January 8th, 9th and 10th, 2019. The final date to submit comments to the DEIS is February 11, 2019.

12/7/18

Next Steps

 

What are NYRA’s plans for Belmont Park? How will construction materials be shipped to the site?

12/6/18

What will be the daily visitor count? The average attendance on a non-Triple Crown Belmont Stakes day was ~50,000

 

12/5/18

How much additional traffic will be drawn to the site? How will that additional traffic affect Floral Park?

 

Will the LIRR station at Belmont, and train service to and from the station, be sufficiently enhanced to handle the tremendously increased volume of patrons planned? What happens if it is not?

12/4/18

There are significant and extensive infrastructure improvements that will need to be constructed to handle the proposed vastly increased demand at Belmont – – and questions that need to be answered

“It is not anticipated that the North Lot will be used to accommodate parking for development projects.” was ESD’s response to Village’s question in 2017 about usage of the North Lot (the North Lot is adjacent to the Floral Park-Bellerose School and runs along residential area of the West End).  Now it appears that this lot will be used for potentially 3,000 parking spots, which is approximately 60% of total spots at Nassau Coliseum.

 

12/3/18

As project grows questions and concerns grow at an exponential rate

11/30/18

Scope Creep is defined as changes, continuous or uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope, at any point after the project begins.  Slide below depicts various schematics since the project was announced.  Notice the changes from December 2017 through August 2018.

11/29/18

In order to further educate our residents about the potential Belmont Redevelopment project, over the next few days the Village will be posting on this site the information that we discussed at our recent information session.  We urge all residents to give these slides some thought and consideration

 

Dear Neighbors:

As you may be aware, recently the Empire State Development Corp. (“ESD”) released the Final Scope Document for the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project.  This document details what the ESD will be studying as part of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).

Most in the Village seem to be aware that the proposal includes a new arena for the Islanders. However, many seem unaware that the proposed project has grown significantly in size and scope since the initial announcement of the proposal for an Islanders Arena at Belmont last December. This project now also includes a very large retail shopping mall and a hotel on the Belmont property. In addition, at the same time, the New York Racing Authority apparently contemplates upgrading the Belmont Grandstand to include additional year-round retail space. The Village has repeatedly expressed its deep concern to ESD that the combined effects of these projects will negatively impact the unique character and quality of life of the suburban communities that surround Belmont.

It is expected that the DEIS will be released within the next several weeks, and there will probably be limited time for the residents of Floral Park to review and provide comments on the DEIS. Therefore, The Village Board and the Belmont Task Force (BTF) are seeking to inform the residents of Floral Park of the vast scope of this proposed project.

As a first step, the Village Board and the BTF held an information session with the heads of the various community organizations in the Village. The goal of this first meeting was to inform the heads of the various community organizations of the scope of this proposed project and its potential impact on Floral Park so that these community organization group leaders could, in turn, inform their group members. This information session was well attended and many insightful thoughts and concerns were raised by the community organization leaders in attendance.  You can find links to the handouts and presentation on our website by clicking the links below.

Presentation 

Floral Park Great Place to Live

#TooMuchAtBelmont

You may also be receiving this information from the heads of any group you may be involved with. We also ask that you share this information with your friends and neighbors so that they too are aware of this important issue facing Floral Park.  Also, if you would like, you can begin to prepare for participation in these hearings by reviewing the Final Scope Document issued by ESD and the Village’s prior submissions to ESD about this project at the Village’s website: https://fpvillage.org/important-information-regarding-proposed-belmont-park-redevelopment/

Whatever ultimately may be approved at Belmont, the Village Board is determined that concerns of the residents of Floral Park will be addressed in this process. We understand that we are asking you to do a lot and to spend your valuable time to educate yourself about this issue. However, Floral Park has met challenges in the past by working together, and in doing so, have kept Floral Park a great place to live, work and raise a family.

We will keep you informed about this important issue as this project moves forward.

Dominick A. Longobardi
MayorKevin M. Fitzgerald
Deputy Mayor and Belmont Task Force Chair

 

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

As discussed at the Village Board’s and the Belmont Task Force’s Information Session on the Belmont Redevelopment Project on October 3, 2018, to spread the information about this proposed project and its potential impact on Floral Park, we ask that you share this information with the members of the groups with which you are associated and with your neighbors and friends. Below you will find a link to the presentation and the flyers which were distributed at the Informational Session.

As mentioned, we expect the Empire State Development Corp. (ESD) to issue the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for this project within the next few weeks, and the hearings on the DEIS to be shortly thereafter.   You can begin to prepare for participation in these hearings by reviewing the Final Scope Document issued by ESD and the Villages prior submissions to ESD about this project

Presentation 

Floral Park Great Place to Live

#TooMuchAtBelmont

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Today the ESD released their Final Scoping Document and Responses to Comments.  We urge all Village residents to review the attached documents.  As you will see, there are still a number of significant concerns that need to be further addressed and clarified.

The following link is the Final Scoping Document – https://esd.ny.gov/sites/default/files/ESD-Belmont-Park_Final-Scope_8-29-18.pdf

The following link is the ESD’s Response to Comments on the Draft Scope – https://esd.ny.gov/sites/default/files/RtC-2018-08-29.pdf

We would also like to thank the residents who have commented and urge all residents to remain actively involved as the project now proceeds to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement phase.

 

UPDATE 8/28/18

Earlier this month Mayor Longobardi and Deputy Mayor Fitzgerald, together with the Village’s Counsel regarding the Belmont proposal, Beveridge & Diamond, sent to Empire State Development (ESD) detailed comments outlining the Village’s concerns regarding how the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process is proceeding. Specifically, the Village raised concerns as to the timely release of a Final Scoping Document and whether ESD has sufficiently addressed the public’s comments to the Draft Scoping Documents relating to protecting the unique character and quality of the suburban communities that surround Belmont.

Please see the following links to view the correspondence Cover Letter and Beveridge & Diamond Letter 

Subsequent to the Village’s correspondence to the ESD, ESD announced that they will release a Final Scoping document. As soon as we receive the Final Scoping Document we will post it to the Village’s website.

The Village and the Belmont Task Force urge all residents to become familiar with these documents as the SEQRA process moves forward. Based on ESD’s announced schedule, we can expect hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement to be scheduled for this Fall. This is why the Village has insisted on the release of the Final Scoping Document so that our residents are afforded as much opportunity as possible to become familiar with these evolving plans and are afforded a meaningful opportunity to participate in the upcoming hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

***********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

The Empire State Development Corp is holding  a “Community Q&A” session with the New York Arena Partners this evening.

Date: Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Time: 6:00 – 8:00pm

Location:  Elmont Library Theater, 700 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont, NY 11003

ESD has advised that the team will present more detail on the two site plans being considered and will answer questions.

The following are the questions that the Village submitted to ESD in advance of this meeting and we hope will be responded to tonight:

Thank you for the opportunity to submit questions in advance of the Community Q&A Session Empire State Development (“ESD”) will be holding with New York Arena Partners(“NYAP”) on April 24th. Although the Village of Floral Park recently submitted over 200 questions as part of our Response to the Draft Scoping Document last week, we are submitting the following questions for answers at the Community Q&A Session.

  Size of the Project

 This is an enormously large project no matter where it is proposed to be built, but it is particularly large given the nature and character of the existing development in the communities surrounding Belmont Park.
The questions related to this are:

Why are ESD and NYAP pursuing a project so large and so out of sync with development patterns in the surrounding communities? 

Why can’t ESD and NYAP pursue a much more scaled down project at Belmont which is much more in character with development in the surrounding  area?           

 Offsite Project Work

We have learned that this Project will require significant work and construction beyond the boundaries of Belmont Park, including significant construction activities in local street beds (mentioned in the draft Scoping Document) and expansion of the Floral Park substation (not disclosed in the draft Scoping Document).

When will ESD and NYAP disclose the full extent of its proposal to the public?

 Study Area

It is of vital importance for the public to understand the study area for the project.  However, the size and scope of this project seems to be growing and evolving and statements regarding the study areas are causing significant public confusion.
What are the clearly delineated study areas for this project?

Coordination with NYRA

There are many indications that NYRA is planning significant improvements and other activities at Belmont Park, and that at least some of these improvements/activities have been triggered by the announcement of ESD/NYAP’s proposal.

Has NYAP and ESD been in communication with NYRA to learn of its plans?
What has NYRA said?
Does ESD/NYAP commit to assessing, as part of the environmental review process, the cumulative impacts local residents will actually suffer as a results of development within Belmont Park?  

Thank you for the opportunity to submit these questions and we look forward to hearing ESD’s and NYAP’s responses on the 24th.

Dominick A. Longobardi, Mayor
Kevin Fitzgerald, Deputy Mayor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           **********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

On Thursday April 12th, Beveridge & Diamond the Village of Floral Park’s environmental counsel in the proposed Belmont Park Redevelopment Project, submitted a detailed response to the Empire State Development Corp’s Draft Scoping Document. A copy of Beveridge & Diamonds response can be seen here. Beveridge & Diamond 4-12-18 ltr

On the same day, the Village of Floral Park submitted a separate response to ESD’s Draft Scoping Document, which was designed to supplement Beveridge & Diamonds analysis. The Village’s response contains over 200 questions pertaining to all areas of the proposed project, and can be viewed here. Inc Village of Floral Park Comments to ESD Scoping Comments Document (4.12.18)-3

Also, County Legislator Richard Nicollelo and Vincent Muscarella  submitted a letter to the ESD in response to the Draft Scoping Document, outlining their concerns about the proposed development as well. A copy of their letter can be viewed here. Muscarella & Nicolello April 12th ltr

**********************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Below are comments given on the record or submitted by some of our residents, our elected officials, and Belmont Task Force Members at the March 22, 2018 Scoping hearing.

Written comments on the Draft Scope will be accepted through 5:00 PM on Thursday, April 12, 2018, please submit them to:

Michael Avolio

Empire State Development Corp. 

633 Third Avenue 

                                                      New York, NY 1001                                                        

or by email:

[email protected]

The Empire State Development Corp. has stated that all comments received prior to the close of the comment period will be considered by ESD as the lead agency and will be included in the Final Scope document.  We ask that you also, send a copy of your comments to the Village either by mail or email at [email protected] .

Mayor Dominick Longobardi D. Longobardi

Deputy Mayor Kevin Fitzgerald K. Fitzgerald

Trustee Lynn Pombonyo L.Pombonyo

Trustee Archie Cheng  A. Cheng 

Village Administrator Gerard Bambrick  G. Bambrick

Former Mayor Thomas Tweedy  T. Tweedy

Floral Park Bellerose Superintendent Michael Dantona  M. Dantona

President Floral Park Bellerose School Board Laura Ferone  L. Ferone

Belmont Task Force Member Frank Gunther F. Gunther

Belmont Task Force Member Dennis McEnery  D. Mc Enery

Belmont Task Force Member Kevin Flood K. Flood

West End Civic Association President Marc Mullen  M. Mullen

**********************************************************************************************************************

You may be aware that an arena for the Islanders has been proposed to be built at Belmont Park. However, you may not be aware that the breadth of this proposed project has been significantly expanded within the past few weeks (see Mayor Longobardi’s Mayor’s Message 2-28-18)

Your opportunity to speak out and ask questions on this project will be on Thursday March, 22, 2018 at the Elmont Memorial Public Library.  The Empire State Development Corp. (ESD) will hold two scoping sessions. Session one: 3:30 PM- 5:30 PM. Session two: 6:30 PM- 9:30 PM.

The concerns and questions of the Village’s Belmont Task Force are summarized in the attached flyer.

Belmont flyer

A copy of the Empire State Development Corp’s Draft Scoping Document, which describes this project, is attached.

Draft Scope for Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement

To give you a more detailed idea of some of the Village’s very legitimate concerns regarding this project, attached are the questions previously submitted to the ESD by the Village and Belmont Task Force in December

Belmont Comments-Questions

Belmont Supplemental Comments

The Village believes a few short weeks for the surrounding communities to evaluate this extremely large project is simply insufficient. The Village has requested the ESD to provide the surrounding communities with additional time and hearing dates to comment on this project.  VFP Corr to Zemsky. Other elected officials have joined the Village’s request and are demanding an extension as well.  VTM RN Ltr FP Belmont 3-16-18

But at this moment, the only Scoping Hearing planned by the ESD for this project is scheduled for March 22, 2018 at the Elmont Memorial Public Library. Please make an effort to attend one of these hearings and express your questions and concerns.