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Plan to Store Fuel in Kips Bay Garage Has Neighbors Terrified of Explosion

 Waterside residents sent 1,031 letters to DSNY to oppose sanitation garage proposed for 25th Street.
Sanitation Garage Proposed for 425 E. 25th St.
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KIPS BAY — Plans to store thousands of gallons of potentially explosive fuel in a Kips Bay sanitation garage have neighbors terrified.

The 170-truck garage proposed for East 25th Street and First Avenue will hold 1,000 gallons apiece of motor oil, waste oil and hydraulic oil, plus additional fuel storage tanks, according to Department of Sanitation documents.

It's led to hundreds of letters from nearby residents urging the city to rethink.

“As the top of the line, the explosion risk is a very big concern to us,” said Janet Handel, president of the Waterside Tenants Association, who added that the 4,000 residents of the complex at 25th Street and the East River use a footbridge near the proposed garage site every day to get home.

Handel and other residents said they were worried about the potential of both terrorism and accidents to spark the fuel that would be stored in the garage.

Waterside Plaza residents recently sent the Sanitation Department 1,031 letters voicing their objections to the project, which they said would also bring noise, traffic and the stench of trash to their backyard, in addition to the potentially dangerous fuel.

“I request that plans be specified for mitigating risk of fire or explosion, accidental or purposeful, providing adequate security for these tanks and the frequent fuel delivery trucks,” the letters read.

The Department of Sanitation assured, however, that the garage's fueling station would be examined regularly.

"All fueling operations will meet stringent local, state and federal regulations and will be routinely inspected to ensure not only the safety of our workers, but of the overall community, just as we have done over the years at all DSNY facilities," said a sanitation department spokesman.

The letters from residents also asked for a 180-day extension of the public comment period for the project's scoping documents to give officials more time to study the garage's potential impact on traffic, air quality and public safety.

The public comment period was originally due to end on July 24, but the agency has extended the period to Aug. 14.

After the public comment period, the Department of Sanitation will issue an Environmental Impact Statement, and the plan will ultimately need to go through the City Planning's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which means community members will have another chance to voice their concerns.