A Douglaston civic organization is calling on the city to purchase five parcels of Udalls Cove to protect it from possibly being developed.
The Udalls Cove Preservation Committee sent a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg earlier this week, calling on him to allocate funding for the acquisition of five parcels of the cove.
Walter Mugdan, the group’s president said he recently discovered that the parcels’ owner intended to sell the land.
“Within the ravine portion of Udalls Cove Park, there are a couple of parcels that are still privately owned even though they have been designed for more than 30 years in the park,” Mugdan said. “We have reason to believe that the owner of five of those parcels may desire to sell them. In the past, when people who’ve had property there want to sell, it’s because they want to see it developed.”
Mugdan said the last time such a threat arose in 2002. Two years later, the mayor agreed to allocate funding to acquire a section of Udalls Cove for preservation purposes and to prevent 18 homes from being constructed at the site.
“That would have destroyed the ravine and the park, but Mayor Bloomberg purchased the parcels and eliminated the threat,” Mugdan said. “We are now asking that he do the same. It’s nearly a decade later and another landowner is saying they want to sell. We’d like for the city to honor its 30-year commitment to completing this acquisition, so the parcels can formally be included in the park.”
Mugdan said the owner’s intent on selling the land is unclear, but that the 70,000 square feet within the parcels could provide space for as many as 10 homes. The property would provide access to 247th Street in Douglaston.
Mayor John Lindsay originally made the commitment to protect the Udalls Cove area as a nature preserve.
The preserve was established in the early 1970s and covered the wetlands and woodlands in the cove’s watershed, which is located north of the Long Island Rail Road between Douglaston and Little Neck.
But at that time, the cove’s ravine was left unprotected, although the city and state have since recognized the spot as a critical part of the area’s ecosystem.