Waste transfer furor grows

Businesses that abut a garbage transfer station on Review Avenue in Long Island City are worried about how a plan to expand the facility will affect them.
By Jeremy Walsh

Business and property owners near a waste transfer station on Review Avenue in Long Island City are getting in on the fight against the facility’s planned expansion.

Nick Sherman, whose family owns William E. Williams Valve Corp., and Tivador Marcovic, who owns the property at 38-20 Review Ave., joined City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and members of the Juniper Park Civic Association Monday to speak out against the plan, which would increase the volume of garbage trucks coming into the site and send tractor-trailers with sealed waste containers down Review Avenue to the Maspeth Railyard to be put on freight trains.

The expanded facility would handle about 300 tons per day more than the roughly 1,000-ton capacity it currently has, which would bring 25 more city garbage trucks to the facility and produce roughly 35 more tractor-trailer rigs leaving each day, according to Waste Management Corp. The plan is awaiting approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“The logistics locally, while it should be easy for them to adjust to accommodate all of us for our safety and our availability to do business,” Sherman said, “it’s not really being taken into account, in our opinion.”

Marcovic said he has lost business tenants because of the smell of the garbage and the long queues of garbage trucks that make the alleyway he shares with the transfer station impassable at certain times of the day.

“If it’s my legal right to put up a fence, I [will] put up a fence, whatever I have to do,” he said of a property easement that extends well into the alleyway. “I don’t want to put anybody out of business, but on the other hand I don’t want to be put out of business.”

Maspeth residents have resisted the plan because of the increased truck traffic they fear it would bring to an area already congested with commercial vehicles.

“Waste Management needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a plan that works best for our community and the city,” Crowley said.

Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, suggested Waste Management consider using barges to ship the garbage out or purchase the Phelps Dodge property in Maspeth, which is closer to the railyard.

“They’re next to Newtown Creek, they’re not using barges,” he said. “They’re next to a railroad right of way, and they’re not using that. They’re just going to have the trucks come in and out.”

Waste Management officials have said a barge transfer station would have to handle a much higher volume of city garbage than its current plan entails in order to be economically feasible.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) said he has heard residents’ concerns and planned to tour the facility Monday, but had to reschedule.

“The rally derailed, so to speak, my meeting with Waste Management,” he said. “Before I make a constructive statement either in opposition or support of, I’m going to see it firsthand.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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