Appeals court grants Legoland opponents clear-cutting stay

This Legoland opponent at a recent vigil for a sycamore cut at the Legoland site (Photo by Frances Ruth Harris)

GOSHEN — The Supreme Court of New York appeals court on Tuesday afternoon approved a request to restrain clear-cutting at the Legoland New York theme park site in the Town of Goshen.
“We now prevailed and the stay against clearcutting has been extended per the order we received today," said Jonathan R. Goldman, associate attorney at the office of Sussman & Associates in Goshen, which is representing the Concerned Citizens for the Hudson Valley in its suit against the Town of Goshen. “This was entered over strenuous opposition by (the) Town and Merlin."
The court on Tuesday ordered that Merlin Entertainments Group, Legoland's parent company, “is stayed from engaging in clear cutting activities at the project site that is the subject of the underlying article 78 proceeding, either pending hearing and determination of the appeal or determination by the Supreme Court, Orange County, of the motion that was initiated by the order to show cause dated Jan. 4, 2018, whichever occurs first."
Phil Royle, director of development for Legoland New York, said in a statement on Wednesday, “We are confident the papers we have submitted to the court will demonstrate we have followed every Town of Goshen requirement that led to the town’s issuance of the proper permits to clear trees on the property, which we now own. Our tree clearing plan has been re-verified in all of our approved permit applications. We are equally confident that once this review is completed, the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) will be dismissed."
Sussman's office said the stay will “‘end' only if the supreme court justice denies the preliminary injunction we are seeking; if that were to occur, we will seek further stay from second department."
The group is also suing for a town referendum of the sale of a town-owned parcel.
Sussman had filed a brief on Jan. 4 that stated, in part, that the Town of Goshen's approval process was sullied by “bad faith and pre-judgment," including improperly delegating lead agency status for zoning changes to the planning board, engaging in “prohibited segmentation” of the site, failing to study the impact of the re-zoning on more than 370 acres not planned for immediate development. The project also lacks an adequate and reliable water supply, the brief says.