Calverton residents turned out for a “scoping session” held by the planning board last week to set the parameters of environmental review for a proposed waste processing facility on Middle Road.
Breezy Hill Group is seeking approval for an asphalt and concrete crushing facility on a 6.68-acre site at 1792 Middle Road, east of Twomey Avenue. The company plans to operate two crushing/screening equipment stations, and maintain a total of five asphalt/concrete stockpiles, according to the application for site plan approval.
The site is located in the Industrial A zoning use district, but is improved and formerly used as a single-family residence. It is bordered on the west by agricultural and industrial uses (Suffolk Cement) and on the east and south (across Middle Road) by residential uses.
The planning board last May determined the proposed action is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment and issued a positive declaration under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), triggering the requirement for a draft environmental impact statement.
The planning board’s environmental consultant Jeffrey Seeman reviewed the applicant’s draft scoping statement dated Dec. 26, 2019, which describes the proposed action. Last week, he summarized his observations about the draft scoping document and his recommendations for analysis of additional issues.
The facility will import concrete and asphalt generated by roadway and general infrastructure demolition, the draft scoping statement says. Two onsite processing machines will crush and screen the materials. Both unprocessed and processed materials will be stored onsite.
Residents at the Feb. 20 scoping session questioned the sources of the materials that will be stored and processed at the site.
Mike Foley of Riverhead expressed concern about the potential for illegal dumping there.
“I don’t know who these people are but I do know what illegal dumping can entail,” Foley said, noting that it’s the type of activity that can be difficult to enforce against.
The operation will require solid waste management and materials processing permits from the N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation, which is responsible for monitoring the facility’s operations. The DEC is also an “involved agency” in the State Environmental Quality Review process being conducted by the planning board.
Neither the application filed with the town nor the draft scoping statement speak to the potential sources of materials that will be brought to the site for processing.
The applicant is affiliated through ownership with a Nassau-based construction and asphalt contracting company, Stasi Brothers/Stasi Asphalt. Breezy Hill Group VI member Sam Stasi, who signed the town site plan application as member of the LLC, is a third-generation member of the Stasi family, which has owned and operated contracting companies in Nassau since 1962, according to the Stasi Brothers website. His Syosset residence address is listed on the site plan application as well as in N.Y. State business database records as the address for service of legal process.
Linda Nemeth of Calverton asked if the environmental impact statement will address impacts to property values of neighboring residents. Seeman said that property values impacts per se are not analyzed but an environmental impact statement typically addresses a project’s impacts on community characteristics.
Sharon Dunigan of Calverton, in a letter read aloud by Calverton Civic Association president Toqui Terchun, asked that the impact statement throughly address traffic impacts, and take into account that Middle Road is a designated bike path.
Deborah Goroleski, whose home is adjacent to the site on its eastern boundary, said her family has lived there for more than 30 years.
Goroleski told the planning board the applicant’s clearing of woods on the site — done without permits — has negatively impacted wildlife habitat that used to support owls, foxes, hummingbirds and other wildlife.
“I had to call the police department because they were doing things at night and on weekends,” Goroleski said.
According to town officials, the applicant cleared trees and vegetation on the site without permits and commenced operations at the site without the required site plan approval. The town issued violations to the property owner; they remain pending in Riverhead Justice Court, Deputy Town Attorney Erik Howard told RiverheadLOCAL earlier this month.
“I am worried about noise and impacts on our water,” Goroleski said. “I don’t want to have to move. I like where I am.”
Calverton resident Joe Byrne asked if the operator would be able to “switch from concrete to other materials.”
Seeman explained that the permit issued by DEC would cover a variety of materials.
Byrne questioned how the town could control what Breezy Hill Group would be handling on site. “They cleared without permits,” he said. “How can they be trusted to abide by a permit?”
Seeman summarized his list of issues for further analysis in the environmental impact statement — items that were either not included in the draft scoping statement or require additional analysis:
- Potential impacts to groundwater local water resources
- Noise pollution and traffic impacts
- Roadway and infrastructure impacts
- Removal of agricultural soils
- Stormwater management and drainage
- Subsurface drainage compared to proposed recharge basin?
- Identify vegetation that’s been removed
- Loss of screening and buffer to adjacent residential properties
- Compatibility with town’s master plan and updated solid waste management plan
- Sound studies to assess need for a sound wall
- Identify location with regard to environmental justice areas and identify impacts on impoverished persons, minority populations
- Impacts to groundwater quality by installation of monitoring wells
- Provide soil and stockpile lab samples
- Provide full description and ability to comply with DEC parts 360 & 361 regulations
- Provide full permitting applications as submitted to the DEDC and the status of each application
- List all land use or DEC notices of violations, stop work orders, etc. including information about fines, corrective orders and the status of each.
Planning Board Chairman Stan Carey asked that the groundwater impact analysis include emerging contaminants (PFOS, PFOA, 1,4-Dioxane).
“I’m sorry to say that Suffolk County Department of Health Services undertook a private well study back in June in that area and many of the wells in that area have shown signs of contamination above drinking water standards,” Carey said. “I understand there will be a full investigation by DEC.” He added that he was not suggesting the site in question had caused the contamination.
Member Joe Baier asked that the environmental impact statement include data and analysis of vibrations associated with the crushing and screening operations — in addition to noise impacts.
The planning board adopted a final scoping statement, incorporating the comments of Seeman, board members, and the community. A copy of the final scoping statement was not yet available as of prestige.
It will be up to the applicant to prepare a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). The planning board will then determine whether the DEIS addresses everything in the final scope, Seeman said. If all the issues are adequately addressed, the board will accept the DEIS and circulate it for comment to involved agencies and gather public comments. If the DEIS falls short, the board will reject the document and require the applicant to revise it.
Representatives of Breezy Hill Group did not speak at the meeting. Their attorney, Steve Losquadro, did not attend the meeting and said today he has not yet seen the final scoping statement. The applicant’s response will be prepared by its own environmental professionals, Nelson & Pope.
“I’ve been told it’s moving forward on a very standard basis,” Losquadro said.
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