At last week’s village board meeting at St. Paul’s, the Garden City Board of Trustees voted against a resolution that would authorize the mayor to sue the MTA and LIRR. The litigation would force the MTA to relocate or remove certain utility poles now installed on the south side of the railroad tracks between New Hyde Park Station and Garden City High School, which is a part of the third track
project that expands from Floral Park to Hicksville. The board has previously sought legal counsel to advise on the matter, but such efforts to date have been unsuccessful.
Garden City residents have for months complained about the poles and have said these poles and their construction is adversely impacting their neighborhoods.
“The situation has gotten much worse in the last 30 days over at the Merillon Avenue Station,” Charles Kelly, a Garden City resident, said at the meeting. “The contractor and MTA have commenced putting up monster poles on the north side. They have started taking down additional trees. We believe that the board should get an objective opinion of the litigation.”
All trustees also expressed their own displeasure with the project. No one representing the contractor or the MTA has met with the board, according to Mayor Theresa Trouvé.
“We aren’t getting a straight story when we speak to them about the situation,” Trouvé said. “I cannot get an appointment to sit down with any of the bigwigs from this project,”
There was still debate among the trustees on the best course of action.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin, a Garden City resident himself, has said that many concerned citizens have also requested the help of the Town of Hempstead in pursuing litigation. In past meetings, Clavin has brought in legal counsel to advise the Garden City Board of Trustees.
Several trustees suggested seeking further counsel from Clavin and his attorney before moving forward with costly litigation.
“I’m not going to vote for this unless we have an understanding of what we’re doing,” Trustee Robert A. Bolebruch said.
The language of the resolution was then changed to instead authorize the mayor to have a meeting with Supervisor Clavin and examine proposals from law firms.
The resolution was still voted down 5-3. Those opposed said that a formal vote to seek further counsel was unnecessary and should be held off until a plan to pursue litigation was ready. After the vote, many unhappy residents walked out of the hall.
“The time for action is probably way past,” said one Garden City resident. “This tonight was a failure of leadership.”
“Let’s sit down with Mr. Clavin,” Bolebruch said. “If we sit and talk with them, and nothing substantial comes out of the conversation, then we have to decide as a board how we are going to proceed going forward on our own.”
The next village board meeting is currently scheduled for Nov. 5.
—Cody Sullivan is a contributing writer for Anton Media Group