Dumpsite Looms Large at 52 N. Broadway Hearing

The public hearing on a zone change for the 16-acre parcel at 52 N. Broadway, formerly the Good Counsel Campus, now owned by WP Development NB, Inc., continued at the Aug. 6 White Plains Counsel meeting. Several new speakers took to the podium to express their angst as residents, about traffic and safety issues associated with the proposed residential development potentially putting increased pressure on an already congested area.

Members of the Counsel have been invited to take tours of the neighborhood to see first-hand, the small side streets that already cannot accommodate two-way traffic in a two-way zone.

One speaker, a resident of 50 N. Broadway, told the Counsel he had moved away from New York City to get away from traffic, noise and grime. “Now I am back in NYC,” he said. He also noted that his family was involved in developing Hoboken, New Jersey, which had been a major attraction for Millennials. “Now Hoboken is in decline,” he said. “If you are looking to attract Millennials, it is not going to work.”

Several residents from Stewart Place approached the podium for the second or third time to present new information on their research into toxic contamination in a dumpsite on the former Good Counsel athletic field; the site for a large portion of a multi-family residential complex that is in direct view of and close proximity to the Stewart Place residences.

Barbara Allen mentioned a letter penned by an attorney working for the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation that “let the Sisters off the hook,” regarding the toxic dump site, Allen said, referring to former owners of the property, The Sisters of the Divine Compassion.

Allen suggested the letter, which has been used by the new owner to prove there are “no outstanding violations,” is suspicious. How can this be? Allen asked, when the DEC previously said the site had to be sealed with a protective membrane that could not be punctured for 30 years. Currently there is methane gas leaking from the site.

A 2012 evaluation found volatile compounds on the site and the results of that evaluation have not been remediated, according to Allen.

Other speakers expressed their concern that the site cap be repaired and maintained, which would negate any possibility of construction on that part of the property.

The DEC has since reopened the investigation into the toxic nature of the site. The developer had said it is working with the DEC. And the City of White Plains has also hired an outside party to do its own investigation.

The public hearing was adjourned to the Oct. 2 Council meeting.

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