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Queens Chronicle

More concerns over Whitestone project

CB 7 wants monitoring of toxic site after it is cleaned and developed

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Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:51 am, Thu May 2, 2013.

A development group seeking neighborhood approval of construction plans on a Whitestone brownfield site continues to face scrutiny over possible health concerns and dangers from toxic chemicals at the location.

Members of Community Board 7 are pressing the current owner of the Waterpointe site, Edgestone Group LLC, to investigate water contamination, toxic vapor intrusion and the need for remediation of contaminated soil before it can move forward with the construction of 52 single-family homes on the property. They want the developers to go above and beyond state requirements, while Edgestone is adamant it will follow all necessary protocols for remediation.

The two sides met on Tuesday evening to hash out plans for the cleaning of the soil and the maintenance of housing units expected to be built on the lot at Sixth Road and 151st Street.

The site, on the shore of the East River, has been an issue for some time, and Edgestone promised in January to clean the plot of land before constructing the development, which was approved by the city in 2008. Currently, Edgestone is awaiting approval from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to begin remediation.

Once Edgestone finishes compiling information on toxic materials on the site, under the supervision of the DEC, it can begin the cleanup process and move forward with building plans.

Until then, the group must comply with health requirements being pushed by community leaders.

The owners of the property are also being asked to present plans for the continual maintenance of sustainable alarm systems monitoring toxic chemical levels, the establishment of a civic association for future homeowners, and deed restrictions that would inform buyers of the site’s past history of contamination.

The developers insisted that proper protocol is being followed while members of CB 7 expressed concern over the abandonment of the housing units once the houses are sold.

Joseph Sweeney, chair of CB 7’s Zoning and Buildings Committee, said he wants to make sure the developers do all they can to ensure the safety and protection of the site’s future residents.

“A lot of times developers want to make money but they don’t always make sure the sites are safe to live on,” Sweeney said. “What it comes down to is we’re going to have hundreds of people living there in the future and we just want to make sure everything is done properly so there aren’t any health concerns.”

Edgestone is also being scrutinized for allegedly disregarding contaminated materials in the water surrounding the property.

CB 7 wants the developers to conduct a full investigation of the water under the supervision of the DEC.

The Waterpointe owners will meet with CB 7 again in late May to present their plan on addressing possible health concerns involving toxic soil and vapor.

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