Yesterday the ESD Board approved the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Belmont Re-Development Project. This is one of the last steps before the Project can be approved. We urge all residents to review the document as one of its purposes is to respond to ALL questions asked during comment period to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The changes to the document are underlined while the responses to the questions asked can be found in Chapter 22 (Response to Public Comment). There is now a public comment period closing 12 noon on July 23, 2019. We urge all residents to review the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and submit comments to the ESD at [email protected] or Mail to Empire State Development Corp. Attn: Mr. Michael Avolio, 633 Third Avenue, Floor 37, New York, NY 10017.
In the presentation at yesterday’s ESD Board meeting a number of changes to the Project were announced. Two examples are the introduction of a new LIRR station in the North Lot behind the Floral Park Bellerose School, and a traffic mitigation plan. Although a train station may be helpful in that it may alleviate some traffic, it’s not a panacea and, quite frankly, generates additional concerns as to placement of the train station and its impact on surrounding residents. Further, a traffic mitigation plan clearly should have been included in the DEIS so that the public could comment on whether the proposed mitigation plan is feasible or sufficient. That is why Village Administrator Bambrick, our traffic consultant at NV5 and our attorney, Michael Murphy of Beveridge and Diamond, called upon the ESD Board to reissue the EIS in Draft form instead of Final form, and allow for a full comment period so that the public can be afforded a meaningful opportunity to comment on these new proposals, as we believe is required. Unfortunately, the ESD Board did not do so.
At yesterday’s ESD Board meeting, which was announced after 5PM on Friday, Deputy Mayor Fitzgerald, Trustee Pombonyo, Village Administrator Bambrick, a large number of Floral Park residents and myself had the opportunity to address the ESD Board (July 8, 2019 Board Meeting Webcast). Interestingly (but unfortunately not surprisingly), we found out at the meeting yesterday that supporters of the Project were informed of the hearing last Wednesday (two days before critics of the Project were informed). I would like to take a moment to thank all those who took time out of their busy day on such short notice to attend and speak at the meeting in which the ESD Board of Directors heard directly our concerns. I do believe our comments continue to resonate and are having an impact.
Rest assured that even though there is now only 14 days to review the voluminous FEIS, the Village Board, our administration and the Belmont Task Force are working diligently to protect our Village and all we enjoy.
Mayor Dominick Longobardi