Protecting Wetlands in Staten Island

Administrative Advocacy

As counsel to the Staten Island Coalition for Wetlands and Forests, TakeRoot submitted comments requesting that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation hold a public hearing on and ultimately deny an application to disrupt a wetland that currently protects a low income community from flooding. TakeRoot’s comments were focused on the substantive and procedural flaws in the application, particularly the fact that in the statement the developer prepared to assist the agency in making an assessment of potential impacts on the environment that it granting the requested permit would have, the developer incredibly assumed that the permit would be granted no matter what. The agency has the power to deny the permit. It needs to consider the difference between a future in which the wetland is paved and one in which it is preserved before it can grant it; it cannot consider these possible futures with the documents that the developers submitted as a guide and therefore must deny.

TakeRoot Comments on Developer’s Application for a Freshwater Wetlands Permit to allow paving of a Mariners’ Harbor, Staten Island wetland for a strip mall and wholesale store (August 29, 2019)

The agency granted the developer the permit despite these irregularities. TakeRoot referred the matter to the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University Law School for representation on the subsequent Article 78 lawsuit.

Selected Press

NY Times: These Wetlands Helped Stop Flooding From Sandy. Now a BJ’s May Move In. | Oct. 28, 2020

Gothamist: Plan To Turn Staten Island Wetlands Into BJ’s Wholesale Club Moves Forward | Oct. 25, 2019

Curbed: Encroaching development threatens a crucial Staten Island wetlands | Sept. 6, 2019

Gothamist: Vital Staten Island Wetlands About To Get A BJ’s Wholesale Club | Aug. 28, 2019

City Limits: Activists Still Hoping to Derail Plan to Develop on Staten Island Wetland | June 24, 2019

Staten Island Advance: Ecosystem, homes at risk in Graniteville (letter to the editor by Gabriella Velardi Ward and Paula Segal ) | Feb. 21, 2019

NY Post: An elusive turtle is stopping a multi-million dollar development | Feb. 9, 2019

Staten Island Advance: Still time to save the Graniteville wetlands and our homes (commentary by Ed Szczepanski and Paula Segal) | March  07, 2018