By Abby Luby
North Castle town board members have approved a two-year extension for a special use permit to build an automated garage at 11 New King Street. Known as Park Place Garage, the facility is about a mile and a half north of the Westchester County Airport and would serve travelers who need to park their car and get to the airport. At the July 24 town board meeting, attorney William Null of Cuddy & Feder LLC in White Plains, told the board his client needed the extension in order to wait out the issue of water contamination found in and around the airport.
“Until the water contamination is resolved, we won’t build the garage. We need to be able to determine how we will get drinking water and water for the sprinkler system,” Null said. Park Place Garage was originally proposed 10 years ago and the application has been repeatedly studied and reviewed by the town board and planning board. There have been multiple public hearings and multiple environmental impact statements. The original proposal was for a parking facility on the 3.3-acre site at 11 New King Street that was 51,000 square feet and would house 1,450 cars. That plan has been scaled down to 31,000 square feet for a maximum of 850 cars. Two years ago the New York State Department of health detected contaminated water in a non-municipal supply well located at 1-3 New King Street, less than a mile from the proposed parking facility. Officials said contamination came from the airport and found high levels PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl), substances that were used in firefighting foam decades ago for fire containment exercises by the Air National Guard. PFAS were also used in consumer products until 2002, but were banned after being linked to cancer and other illnesses. Later tests showed 26 out of 52 test wells revealed the presence of PFAS. Last May, Westchester County Executive George Latimer signed an executive order mandating biannual groundwater testing for many contaminates, including PFAS at the airport. In an emailed statement to the Examiner, Westchester County’s Communications Director Catherine Cioffi said, “We have a consent decree with the state to better understand the contamination at the Westchester County Airport and then based on that to take remedial measures.”
Despite the contaminated water issue, Null indicated that the plan for the fully automated garage remains the same, including mitigating stormwater runoff on New King Street and reducing impervious surfaces. The facility will allow drivers to park in a container at the garage and then be stacked in the 53-foot-high structure. “We’ve been actively moving forward with design and implementation details and keeping the town informed,” said Null. “We very much look forward to build this project and make it a reality for the town.”