State judge denies Belmont work halt

Tom McCarthy
A state judge has denied a temporary restraining order on work the Belmont Redevelopment project requested by the legal team representing the Village of Floral Park Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office)

A state judge has denied a temporary restraining order on work the Belmont arena project requested by the legal team representing the Village of Floral Park, Floral Park Mayor Dominick Longobardi said Thursday.

Longobardi said in an interview that he was not upset over the ruling because project developers New York Arena Partners have begun correcting issues raised by the village in the restraining order motion. 

But he said he wished that Floral Park’s filing for a restraining order was not the reason these changes were made. 

“All this could’ve been accomplished with a phone call or discussion,” Longobardi said.

Longobardi said that New York Arena Partners have instructed crews working on the project not to drive down Plainfield Avenue, stop traveling through a gate near Floral Park Memorial High School and start cleaning up debris and trash along Crocus Avenue. 

The request for a temporary restraining order did not ask for all construction on the project to be halted, Longobardi said. The filing in state Supreme Court in Mineola was part of a lawsuit the village has filed challenging the project’s approval.

Longobardi said in a previous interview that there had been a severe increase in traffic in the village after the “groundbreaking” for the Islanders arena in September. The main cause of increased traffic for the village is construction trucks for the project driving on Plainfield Avenue, he said.

Jack Sterne, a spokesman for the agency overseeing the project Empire State Development said, “Today’s decision is a victory for smart economic development and is an important step forward in our efforts to transform Belmont Park, while delivering thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity to Nassau County. “

Sterne reaffirmed that the project has gone through a transparent, public process that followed all requirements under state law, saying “we are pleased the judge’s decision recognizes that.”

The project includes a 19,000-seat arena for the New York Islanders, 350,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, a hotel containing 250 rooms and parking on 43 acres of vacant state-owned property at Belmont Park.

Concerns have been raised by the village over the project’s impact on traffic, the constant influx of commuters coming into Floral Park for Islander games, Floral Park becoming a “soft target” for terrorism, propane cylinders being installed for the project and the location of a new LIRR station at the north parking lot of Belmont Park to support the project.

Longobardi said the judge overseeing their case, Roy Mahon, has scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing Dec. 5 with a possible ruling on the Village’s article 78 lawsuit.

County Executive Laura Curran celebrated the court decision calling Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s groundbreaking ceremony for the project in Sept. a “milestone marking a new era for Nassau County.” 

“Say goodbye to the Land of No – we’re growing again and building for the future,” Curran said in a statement. “The Belmont project will accomplish three vital goals for Nassau County: it will boost our economy with new jobs and revenue, expand our public transit network, and bring our Islanders home. “

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