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Court Deals Blow to Asphalt Green Garbage Dump Foes

By Amy Zimmer | June 8, 2011 6:41pm
Residents are worried about the proximity of a garbage dump to the fields at Asphalt Green.
Residents are worried about the proximity of a garbage dump to the fields at Asphalt Green.
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DNAinfo/Amy Zimmer

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN — An appeals court dealt a blow to Upper East Side residents fighting the city's plans for a $125 million waste transfer station whose access ramp would cut through Asphalt Green.

An appellate court ruled on Tuesday that the city doesn't need legislative approval for the garbage facility's ramp at East 91st Street and the East River, Reuters reported.

The decision upholds a lower court's ruling that Asphalt Green is not a public park that needs state approval for non-park uses. Instead, the court said, that 70 percent of the time the recreational facility with a pool and gym is restricted to people who pay "substantial membership fees," Reuters said.

The ruling also said that Bobby Wagner Walk was not a park, but a thoroughfare.

The Bloomberg administration decided to re-open this marine waste transfer station as part of a 2006 plan that included three other new garbage facilities across the city that would enable each borough to handle transportation of its own trash rather than overburdening a few neighborhoods.

The plan would help the city move more garbage onto barges to cut down long-haul truck traffic and would decrease the burdens on some outer-borough neighborhoods, such as the South Bronx, Williamsburg and Greenpoint, that complained about having more than their fair share of dumps.

But Upper East Side elected officials and residents oppose the plans. More than 450 people have signed a petition against it and two Facebook groups have formed to fight it.

Community activist Jennifer Ratner worried that the facility's garbage trucks will be "one adult arm's length away" from one of the city’s most widely used little league and soccer fields.

Assemblyman Micah Kellner called it a "completely inappropriate place at which to construct a marine transfer station." 

He cited 2000 Census figures showing 13,500 people live within a quarter mile of the proposed site, including 1,850 children. The proposed site on Hamilton Avenue in Brooklyn, he noted, "has less than 4,300 people living within a quarter of a mile."

Asphalt Green has an industrial history: it got its name from the former municipal plant previously on the site, which is where the city first mixed asphalt for its roads in 1914, according to the Parks Department website.