Plandome Manor board of trustees uphold landscaping application for property embattled over Leeds Pond

Plandome Manor board of trustees uphold landscaping application for property embattled over Leeds Pond
The Plandome Manor Board of Trustees voted to uphold a Design Review Board decision concerning a property garnering pushback by a resident coaltion seeking to preserve the neighboring pond. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

The Plandome Manor Board of Trustees upheld the Design Review Board’s decision to approve a landscaping plan opposed by a local resident organization concerned about neighboring Leeds Pond.

The Design Review Board approved the application by the homeowners, New York Islanders center Bowie Horvat and his wife Holly Horvat, for landscaping and to close a curb cut on Plandome Road.

A resident coalition, Save Leeds Pond, was formed in response to the Horvat’s property development. The group has pushed back against the developments due to the environmental impacts they said it would have on the neighboring pond.

Leeds Pond, part of Nassau County’s 35-acre Leeds Pond Preserve, overlooks Manhasset Bay and covers approximately 21.4 acres with a tributary watershed area of around 2.275 acres.

The Design Review Board appealed to the Board of Trustees in affirming the decision, which village attorney John Farrell said is required under the code.

On March 5, the Plandome Manor Board of Trustees discussed an appeal to the Design Review Board’s decision to greenlight the application.

Farrell said the board upheld the landscape approval because they deemed the Design Review Board considered all aspects needed to make its decision.

He said other issues raised at the March 5 meeting, such as impacts on Leeds Pond, were not within the scope of the Design Review Board’s consideration.

Farrell said the decision would be sent to the resident coalition, which has filed lawsuits against the development. He said they will then have four months to file a lawsuit against the Design Review Board’s decision if they choose.

Plandome Manor Mayor Barbara Donno has previously stressed that the project has full approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which is the authoritative body on wetlands like Leeds Pond.

“All necessary precautions and measures have been taken to adhere to the guidelines and regulations set forth by the DEC, ensuring the environmental sustainability and integrity of the area,” Donno wrote in a letter posted to the village website.

In July, the Village of Plandome Manor’s Zoning Board approved the Borvat’s proposal to place 350 cubic yards of site fill in the backyard, which opponents contend would have negative environmental impacts on the nearby Leeds Pond.

The Horvats originally proposed placing 500 cubic yards of fill in their backyard, but the zoning board lowered the amount to 350 cubic yards.

Village code allows up to 50 cubic yards of site fill, ​​which is the use of soil, sand or other building materials to change the existing ground level of an area of land according to the code. The Horvat’s attorney said it is so their children can play in the backyard.

Save Leeds Pond filed a lawsuit challenging the Board of Zoning Appeal’s decision, which Farrell said has since been dismissed by the court. Farrell said the resident group did file a notice to appeal but no formal appeal has been submitted.

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