To the Editor:
We are first time homeowners living in the new development, Old Orchard Estates, right off of Youngs Avenue in Calverton.
We were outraged when we saw the article about a food waste facility proposed to be built, quite literally, in our backyards. We just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars building homes in an agricultural area to raise our families and this facility would turn our residence into an industrial nightmare.
Below is a list of our concerns.
• First and foremost, environmental concerns: What tests have been conducted to ensure that this would not cause medical issues in the future? In the past, ground water at this facility was already a top issue for this council and it was brought up before the construction of Old Orchard Estates. It was, at that time, deemed clean but is that going to require renewed interest for future planning?
• Odor: The article compares this proposed facility to one in Connecticut. It says “in the normal course of its operations” there was no odor. What about outside of the normal operations? What are considered “normal operations”? Are there residential neighbors right in their backyards?
• Litter and destruction: There is already a recycling facility in the same area that this one is proposed to be built. The garbage trucks entering and exiting that facility already causes destruction of roads, and garbage being thrown all over the streets. The tires in our cars have picked up nails three times in the last six months. Adding this facility would increase the garbage trucks on average five times each day. I can’t even imagine the additional havoc this would cause. Furthermore, what about the days it operates above average?
• Rodents: Where there is a food waste, there are rodents and insects. What, if any, will be the mitigating factors for this? Rodents are known to carry disease, not only to humans, but there are farms and animals all within a mile that could fall ill from this unavoidable influx.
• Safety concerns: During the hours of operation at the recycling facility large trucks are backed up on the street creating hazard blocking viewing areas and requiring cars to pass them on the wrong side of the double yellow. Adding additional garbage trucks will increase this dangerous situation.
• Noise levels: The average garbage truck creates 80-90 decibels of noise, which is in the hazardous range of the decibel scale. Their backup alarms can reach over 110 decibels, which is louder than a subway train! The additional garbage trucks would destroy our quiet community.
• Garbage overflow: The proposed 100 tons per day is a starting number and an average. Where is the facility storing this garbage in the event it cannot break down 100 tons or more a day? Is there a plan in place to stop delivery of food waste in the event that the plant does not have the capacity to get it done? What happens if the facility gets damaged or has mechanical issues?
• Trust: We are brand new homeowners of this town, excited to be a part of it, pay our taxes and one day raise our children. We are disheartened that our first interaction with the town is this. Not so much as giving us the courtesy of prior notification when a major life changing project is being proposed to be built in our own backyards. This is a major violation of that trust.
We will be at the Town Hall meeting on Wednesday to voice our concerns to the Town Board. We urge our neighbors to join us.
Tara and Joe Graziano
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