Challenge to East 91st transfer station rebuffed

Community claimed the FEIS flawed, the project was a nuisance and a Bronx facility would be more economical. In June 2005, Sanitation obtained final City approval for construction of a marine transfer station on the site of an inactive waste transfer station at East 91st Street and the East River. The approval was part of a citywide proposal to make each borough responsible for the export of its own waste. Sanitation’s proposal to reactivate the site, which it closed in 1999, faced severe opposition and the City Council voted it down, forcing Mayor Bloomberg to veto the denial. 2 CityLand 86 (July 15, 2005); 2 CityLand 52 (May 15, 2006).

Local residents, business owners and ACORN, a national community organization, challenged the City’s approval, alleging that the City illegally segmented the environmental review by not studying impacts on final freight destinations, failed to consider the transfer station’s impacts when operating at maximum capacity within the FEIS, and clashed with the City’s own policies to create a residential district around East 91st Street. The residents also alleged that the marine transfer station’s noise, odor and air pollution impacts would create a public and private nuisance. The residents argued that, if the City relaxed its policy of making each borough self-reliant, it would be more economical to use an existing truck-to-rail waste transfer station operated by a private company in the Bronx.

Justice Michael Stallman denied the residents’ claims and granted the City’s motion to dismiss. Stallman found the environmental review sufficient, ruling that study of the final freight facilities was not required and noting that Sanitation would have to operate 24 hours a day, without breaks, at emergency staffing levels, to keep the facility operating at maximum capacity. And since the waste facility operated until 1999 surrounded by residences and open space, the court found the residents’ policy arguments unconvincing. The court also denied the nuisance claims, ruling that a claim for a future nuisance was, in reality, a challenge to the findings of the project’s environmental review. The court commented that it would not disregard the importance of the equity component in the City’s plan.

Association for Community Reform Now v. Bloomberg, 2006 NY Slip Op 51750(U), Sept. 19, 2006 (N.Y.Cty.Sup.Ct.) (Stallman, J.).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.