Marine transfer stations cause controversy

Residents of Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Bensonhurst vigorously opposed Sanitation’s proposed sites. Sanitation sought site selection approval to construct four 90,000- square-foot, three-story marine transfer stations on sites formerly used as waste transfer stations or garbage incinerators. In Manhattan, Sanitation sought to reuse the site at East 91st Street and the East River, which had contained a waste transfer station until 1999. In Brooklyn, sites at Shore Parkway in Bensonhurst and at Hamilton Avenue in Sunset Park were proposed; both had incinerators or transfer stations that closed in the past five years. The fourth site in College Point Queens, at the foot of 31st Avenue, has a vacant marine transfer station.

At the March 2, 2005 Commission hearing, Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty testified that since the Fresh Kills Landfill closed in 2001 Sanitation has been operating on interim contracts for the export of residential solid waste by truck. He stated that the four transfer stations would allow Sanitation to comply with state environmental laws, decrease reliance on truck transport and make each borough self-sufficient in the transfer of its waste. Each new structure would incorporate state-of-the-art ventilation and odor control systems that would remove 90 to 99 percent of the odorous compounds.

Greenpoint and Williamsburg residents, speaking in favor, argued that each borough should carry its own burden, explaining that the 16 waste transfer stations in their Brooklyn neighborhoods handled 40 percent of the City’s waste.

Upper East Side residents and the Gracie Point Community Council testified against the East 91st Street site’s reuse, arguing that since the 1999 closure the area had become increasingly residential and the reopening of a waste transfer facility would deteriorate the quality of life. The residents added that the site violated Sanitation’s siting rules, which prohibited transfer facilities within 500 ft. of residential uses. Several residents claimed that the City proposal pitted Upper East Side residents against the residents of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, adding that no residential district should be burdened with a waste transfer station.

Bensonhurst residents testified that they had worked for years to close the incinerator on the site and celebrated in 2000 when it finally did. Some stated that they were outraged with the City and Sanitation for resurrecting the site.

The Commission approved all four applications on April 13, 2005, finding the sites appropriate and the plan environmentally sensitive and equitable. In approving the East 91st Street site, the Commission noted the lack of vacant or underused industrial waterfront sites in Manhattan, and the importance of locating waste transfer facilities close to collection routes. Both Commissioners Karen Phillips and Angela R. Cavaluzzi voted against the East 91st Street application.

ULURP Process: As part of the City’s Solid Waste Management Plan, Sanitation, as lead agency, issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on October 22, 2004, which included the four proposed marine transfer stations, and a Final Environmental Impact Statement on April 1, 2005 that can be accessed from Sanitation’s website at: http://

Manhattan Community Board 8 and Borough President C. Virginia Fields disapproved the East 91st Street proposal, commenting that the DEIS did not dispel concerns over the environmental impacts to adjacent residential neighborhoods.

Brooklyn Community Board 11 and Borough President Marty Markowitz approved the Shore Parkway Transfer Station. Brooklyn Community Board 7 approved the Hamilton Avenue Transfer Station, recommending that its service be decreased from ten to five community districts. Markowitz recommended that Sanitation review the number of districts to be served by the Hamilton Avenue Transfer Station and set a limit on the total amount of tonnage.

Queens Community Board 7 and Borough President Helen Marshall approved the North Shore Transfer Station, recommending that construction be coordinated with the community. Council review is pending.

CPC: North Shore Transfer Station (C 050174 PSQ) (April 13, 2005); CPC: South/West Brooklyn Transfer Station (C 050175 PSK) (April 13, 2005); CPC: Hamilton Avenue Transfer Station (C 050176 PSK) (April 13, 2005); CPC: East 91st Transfer Station (C 050173 PCM) (April 13, 2005). CITYADMIN

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