Legoland, Town of Goshen hit with second lawsuit

Suit brought by Concerned Citizens for the Hudson Valley alleges Legoland's failure to control construction runoff, protect Otterkill


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  • Turbidity in the Otterkill last summer as a result of runoff from Legoland New York



“Neal Halloran has been on top of this since day one, and we’ve spent a great deal of time out there. Merlin Entertainment Group has done a great deal to respond to our needs and the DEC's needs. Everybody is working on it.”
Doug Bloomfield, Town of Goshen supervisor


BY ERIKA NORTON

— A second lawsuit has been filed against Legoland New York parent company, Merlin Entertainments, and the Town of Goshen, this time accusing the two of failing to control erosion and protect local waterways from construction runoff.

Concerned Citizens for the Hudson Valley, the local nonprofit opposed to Legoland, filed suit in state Supreme Court in Orange County, calling for construction of the amusement park off of Route 17 to cease.

Throughout 2018, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued Merlin several violation notices due to “substantial turbidity and sediment deposits” into waterways nearby the construction site, most prominently the Otter Kill Creek, a protected stream.

The state ordered Merlin to fix the erosion control issues in a September consent order. Since the order, Concerned Citizens says they have seen numerous runoff incidents in the Otterkill from erosion caused by Merlin “disturbing and moving some 3.7 million cubic yards of soil on the development site.”

The suit also accuses Merlin and the Town of Goshen of circumventing a referendum that would have allowed Goshen residents to decide whether Merlin could buy several town-owned parcels along the 150-acre site. Concerned Citizens says that the town created a license agreement with Merlin, allowing them to integrate a number of parcels into their development even if they do not technically own the parcels.

Merlin’s plans to install culverts on some of the town-owned land, according to the suit, and Concerned Citizens is seeking an environmental review of these plans due to their possible effect on the Otterkill and the surrounding State Protected Freshwater Wetland area.

Response to concernsLegoland New York Spokesperson Matt Besterman said they are complying with the law.

“We’ve been working continuously on stormwater management, through a year of 24 percent greater precipitation than average, in collaboration with our construction team, our engineers, NYSDEC, and the Town of Goshen,” Besterman said. “We are moving forward with construction in full compliance with all applicable requirements and remain committed to opening Legoland New York Resort in 2020.”

Town of Goshen Supervisor Doug Bloomfield said town officials are aware of the concerns about runoff. Both Building Inspector Neal Halloran and Merlin are working on it, he said.

“Neal Halloran has been on top of this since day one, and we’ve spent a great deal of time out there,” Bloomfield said. “Merlin Entertainment Group has done a great deal to respond to our needs and the DEC's needs. Everybody is working on it.”

Second lawsuit against LegolandThis is the second lawsuit filed by Concerned Citizens against Merlin and the Town of Goshen.

Another case is pending before the Appellate Division, Second Department of state Supreme Court. In this lawsuit, Concerned Citizens alleges that Goshen officials gave Legoland special treatment and approved changes to the town comprehensive plan and zoning laws without an adequate environmental review of the $500 million project’s impact.





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