Weekly Feature

2017-10-04 / Front Page

Judge denies Mensch Capital’s injunction request

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

Mensch Capital Partners on Friday was denied an injunction that would have voided the Sept. 18 public hearing held by the Town Board to consider the firm’s draft generic environmental impact statement as it applies to the planned Westwood neighborhood.

According to Deputy Town Attorney Joanne Schultz, the State Supreme Court ruling by Judge Joseph R. Glownia allows the town to move forward in closing commentary of the DGEIS.

The town was represented by its retained counsel in the matter, Hancock Estabrook.

Mensch’s attorney in the matter, Dennis C. Vacco, a partner with Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, in a lawsuit filed Sept. 18 said the public hearing wasn’t valid because town officials scheduled the rezoning application and DGEIS hearings on the same date.

“Pursuant to town law, we argued the hearing could not be conducted until the Planning Board issued its recommendation and the applicant [Mensch] requested a public hearing,” Vacco said in September.

Glownia determined, however, that he would not prevent the meeting and hearing from being held. The Town Board on Sept. 18 adjourned the public hearing and allowed comments on the DGEIS to be submitted to the Town Clerk’s Office until Monday.

Glownia’s decision last week allows the Town Board to officially close both the impact statement’s hearing and the public comment period relative to the DGEIS.

The lawsuit, however, will continue as Mensch Capital is also claiming the Town Board engaged in a series of illegally convened executive sessions. In an interview with The Bee, Town Attorney Stanley J. Sliwa disputed the claims, adding that the merits of the Westwood project were not discussed during any of the sessions, when only legal matters were addressed.

Mensch Capital is proposing to construct Westwood, an approximately 171-acre, $250 million mixed-use project on the site of a former country club.

During the Sept. 18 hearing, more than 25 people voiced their concerns about the potential adverse neighborhood effects the proposed development could create during a public hearing on Westwood’s revised draft generic environmental impact statement.

The property’s owners, Mensch Capital Partners, first submitted plans for the reuse of the property as Westwood neighborhood in July 2014. The site is located at 772 N. Forest Road at Sheridan Drive.

According to Supervisor Barry Weinstein, the final generic environmental impact statement could possibly be considered by the Town Board during its Nov. 20 meeting.

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