Judge sides with BP Oddo in Mount Manresa street naming case
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Future residents of the development on the former Jesuit-owned Mount Manresa site will be living on streets named Cupidity Drive, Fourberie Lane and Avidita Place after a judge upheld Borough President James Oddo’s authority to name the streets.
Oddo has opposed the development, which has been fraught with controversy for tearing down trees, developing densely and fraudulently hiding asbestos contamination.
A judge had ordered Oddo to issue house numbers for the streets after he initially refused to do so. While developers Savo Brothers submitted nine street names, like Pearl View Lane, Silver Bridge Drive, Timber Lane, Lazy Bird Lane and Amber Heights Drive, Oddo countered with Cupidity Drive, Fourberie Lane and Avidita Place.
Cupidity means “an inordinate desire for wealth,” Fourberie means “trickery, deception” and Avidita means “consuming greed.”
The developer argued the street names were issued in an arbitrary and derogatory manner.
Oddo argued the nine names the developers submitted were too long and some were too similar to existing street names on Staten Island.
In his decision Thursday, the Hon. Philip Minardo, wrote, “These provided names, which mean greed, trickery and deception, are not considered insensitive nor will they inflame controversy.”
The judge then suggested that the borough president could have perhaps chosen to name the streets after local fallen heroes like Army Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis or Army Sgt. Ian T. Sanchez.
“It is within Borough President James Oddo’s discretion to decide if the street names of the residents of the Borough of Staten Island should reflect greed, a Lazy Bird or a fallen hero,” Minardo wrote.
In a post on Facebook, Oddo celebrated the court victory, at least in part.
“The fact is that the names chosen are auricularly pleasing and historically illuminative. This is not a victory. Victory would have been the agencies allowing us to rezone the property years ago to prevent this proposed project. Victory would have been the Jesuits not being so singularly focused on selling the property to the highest bidder, or at the very least, giving those of us in local government sufficient time to cobble together the resources needed to purchase this property. Victory would have been a developer heeding the community’s concerns and attempting to do right by – to some degree – the trees, the sacred buildings and the natural topography. This court decision is not a victory because it will not bring back the trees or the historic structures that were wantonly and spitefully destroyed. One trip down Fingerboard Road demonstrates the sad fact that those are gone forever and Judge Minardo’s correct ruling can’t ameliorate that loss. As this project proceeds through the land use process, we will continue to stay vigilant on behalf of the community.”
An attorney for the developer did not immediately return calls for comment.