Stormwater easements and acquisition approved

DEP to acquire 3.3 acres and three easements to establish stormwater runoff areas in Staten Island. In February the Planning Commission approved two actions associated with stormwater runoff systems in the Arden Heights, Annadale, Eltingville, Woodrow and Prince’s Bay neighborhoods of Staten Island, some of the last remaining areas in the city without established stormwater sewer systems.

DEP sought to acquire three easements, totaling .2 acres, in Prince’s Bay and Woodrow and in the second application sought a 3.3- acre acquisition for stormwater conveyance and storage for the Arden Heights, Annadale, and Eltingville neighborhoods. DEP noted in its applications that the original storm and sanitary sewer plan for Staten Island was prepared in 1961; however, it was never fully implemented and became obsolete. A 1989 study recommended that wetlands be used for stormwater management while also providing natural open space. Implementation of this plan began in 1993 with the City’s acquisition of selected wetlands and stream basins.

The easements would establish access from existing stormwater sewers to the Lemon Creek Wetlands Preserve. The 3.3-acre acquisition would allow the City to transfer stormwater to collection sites prior to its runoff into Sweet Brook, a central channel of the South Richmond freshwater swamp system.

At the January 5, 2005 Commission hearing on both applications, no one opposed the 3.3-acre acquisition. However, an owner of a lot on Hylan Boulevard, impacted by the proposed easements, opposed the City’s acquisition. Following the hearing, representatives of DEP and Planning’s Staten Island Office met with the owner and determined that, with or without the easement, the same number of housing units could be built on the lot. DEP agreed, however, to reduce the easement on the owner’s lot from 35 ft. to 30 ft. to allow the owner to maximize the size of future development.

The Commission approved both actions on February 2, 2005, finding that the plans would preserve natural open space while providing a cost-effective management plan.

ULURP Process: DEP, as lead agency, completed a final environmental impact statement in September 1998 that covered the acquisition of easements in Lemon Creek. The acquisition of 3.3 acres for the Sweet Brook Blue Belt was determined to be exempt from environmental review. Staten Island Community Board 3 and Borough President James P. Molinaro approved both applications.

CPC: Sweet Brook Blue Belt (C 050067 PCR) (February 2, 2005); CPC: Lemon Creek Sewer Easements (C 050029 PCR) (February 2, 2005). CITYADMIN

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