Published in The Roslyn News, August 29, 2008.
Homeowners Fight Lawsuits, Overdevelopment
Residents of the Roslyn Country Club community gathered on Tuesday evening Aug. 12 for a sometimes-animated meeting of their Civic Association at the Roslyn Country Club.
Resident and Civic Association President Heather Schwartz chaired the meeting, which began with ordinary business, such as installation of a new board, reminders about dues and changing the fiscal year. But the meeting became anything but mundane when it turned into a forum for discussion of twin issues that seem these days to monopolize conversations among neighbors in that enclave of approximately 670 homes. More specifically, those issues include litigation overdevelopment of the Country Club and oversized houses either under construction or stalled and vacant in the community.
Key issues discussed about the litigation included the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against every community homeowner by Corona Realty LLC, which owns the property (although residents contend that rights to use the Club and facilities are shared by Roslyn Country Club community homeowners through their easements).
The Corona lawsuit was the second by the company since it acquired the 10+ acre parcel for less than $2 million in 2002. Both suits sought, among other things, to seize the homeowners’ easements. Vice President Andrew Rothstein and Legal Chair Todd Zarin also discussed the status of related litigation by more than 400 residents against Corona seeking to enforce their easements and force the club to reopen. Homeowners, including local attorneys attending the meeting, supported the efforts and enthusiastically offered numerous suggestions on the battle.
Residents also expressed concern over a number of houses that exceed or appear to exceed maximum size under zoning regulations. Construction of many of these homes was halted when the Town of North Hempstead, whose Buildings Department interprets and enforces the regulations, acted in 2006 by issuing stop orders. Operations have restarted at many of the sites and residents voiced their views on recent code amendments that permit that construction, in some cases without requiring the structures to conform to the Building Code. Resident Lloyd Gelb spoke and proposed a new regulatory structure that he believes would offer more control and protection for the community.
Civic Association President Schwartz commented that she was pleased so many attended and was enthused about the vigor with which they expressed their views. Schwartz said, “This is the epitome of people ‘acting locally’ to affect community affairs and advance their own interests. The restoration of our ability to use our Country Club and appropriate enforcement of the building code by our elected officials, right now, will shape this community and drive the value of our investment in our homes for decades. We urge all residents of our neighborhood to contact us, whatever their viewpoint, and get involved.”
The Civic Association was organized in the 1950s and has been a vital factor in civic affairs and maintaining the Country Club easements for nearly all of that time. Many past presidents of the Civic Association, representing nearly every era of its existence, continue to reside in the community.