Rallying to Save the Wetlands

Residents in the Richmondtown neighborhood of Staten Island gathered on a recent Saturday to protest the development of 13 houses on a patch of wetlands. Despite enormous public opposition to the plan, the New York City Department of Environmental Conservation cleared the way for Brooklyn-based developer Max Gurvitch to build on the site, which includes protected land, according to DEC documents.

Since the DEC bended its traditional building regulations to allow the developer Island Realty Associates, to build right up to the property line in some cases, residents worry that the development would have a negative impact on the value of their homes, according to local news reports. They also worry that the development will disrupt the drainage system and inevitably cause flooding, the report said.

The rally on Saturday attracted neighborhood residents, members of local civic organizations and environmentalists. But it also drew representatives from the offices of State Senator Andrew Lanza, New York City Councilman James Oddo and State Assemblyman Lou Tobacco, all of whom denounced the project.

The Richmondtown and Clarke Avenue Civic Association has been a driving force behind the debate. Its president, Carol Donovan said she has sent letters and attended meetings, but wonders why the city even hosts them if they have no intention of listening. But until they do, the Richmondtown residents plan to keep shouting.

Check out this photo essay from the rally:

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