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Task Force Formed as Last-Ditch Effort to Block Marine Transfer Station

By Shaye Weaver | December 21, 2015 3:56pm
 The East 91st Street marine transfer station is currently under construction.
The East 91st Street marine transfer station is currently under construction.
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DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

UPPER EAST SIDE — A local community board is making a last-ditch attempt to control the impacts of a planned marine transfer station on East 91st Street and York Avenue — after years of opposition from residents failed to stop construction from starting altogether.

The Marine Transfer Station Task Force was created as an attempt to halt the project, which seems to being going full steam ahead despite much objection from the community, according to Community Board 8 chairman Jim Clynes.

If it can't be stopped altogether, there should at least be steps taken to mitigate any negative impacts to the neighborhood, he said.

"Just because it is being built doesn’t mean it has to open," Clynes told DNAinfo New York. "Although the position of Community Board 8 has always been that it should not be built and everyone has tried everything in the book and outside of the book to stop it, it doesn’t seem to be able to be stopped."

The group — which will meet on a monthly basis beginning in January — will be responsible for monitoring construction, listening to community concerns and finding ways to address them, he said.

The first meeting will take aim at noise coming from the construction site "at all hours of the night," Clynes said. The date for that meeting will be announced at a later time, he added.

Since the plan for the station was approved in 2006, several groups have attempted to stop construction from happening, citing concerns of potential pollution, congestion, and street safety.

This summer, Pledge 2 Protect submitted more than 15,000 letters to the state's Department of Environmental Conservation, urging the agency to reconsider renewing the permits needed by the City Department of Sanitation's to continue construction.

But ultimately, the permits were renewed. Construction of the station started in 2013.

Both agencies did not respond to requests for comment.

Councilmen Ben Kallos and Dan Garodnick, who've also opposed the project, have introduced a bill that would require the city to monitor the air quality surrounding marine transfer stations.

The 10-story transfer station, which will encompass three blocks, is expected to be completed by 2020. The station is designed to collect and transfer waste from four districts of Manhattan.

"Every time I walk by, I see more steel and concrete," Clynes said. "We're hoping for the best — that it doesn’t go forward, but we must prepare for the worst in the case it does move forward."