TUCKAHOE, N.Y. - An attorney and spokesman for Bilwin Development Affiliates, developers of a proposed Marriott Hotel in Tuckahoe said they are gratified with the project's recent approval by the village Planning Board.
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Bilwin officials pledged to allay residents' fears about the site's prior use as a landfill by providing transparent results of continued environmental testing during the land's clean-up.
Despite vocal opposition from residents criticizing the proposed development - an online petition garnered nearly 3,000 signatures asking for a full environmental review of the former marble quarry at 109 Marbledale Road - the Planning Board voted three-to-two to move forward with the plan.
According to the Planning Board, Bilwin Development has agreed to take care of cleaning up the contaminated site, where they have proposed erecting a Marriott hotel, complete with a restaurant on the 3.5-acre plot. The site was originally zoned for industrial use, but was rezoned for commercial use.
Linda Shaw, attorney for Bilwin Development Affiliates, issued a statement saying: "We are gratified the Planning Board took the appropriate action to move this project forward. The safety and wellbeing of the community are our top priority, which is why we are going above and beyond the state's normal environmental testing requirements."
Shaw added: "All results to date confirm that the approved plan to remediate the site poses no health or safety threat to the public. We are now one step closer to a safe and viable project that will benefit the Village of Tuckahoe and this community."
A marble quarry operated on the land until the 1950s and was eventually replaced by a landfill. It has also been the site of an auto repair shop.
Earlier this month, the state Department of Environmental Conservation conducted radiation tests, noting that “samples were scanned with a gamma scintillator and G-M probe,” with all results remaining consistent with local background ranges. The present OSHA mandated site protection is at the lowest risk level, requiring work boots, safety goggles and hardhats.
Despite the DEC’s approval, the community has fought the hotel development, hosting several rallies and protests and circulating a petition seeking a full environmental impact statement.
According to a spokesman for the developer, more than three weeks of supplemental testing data confirmed what previous tests already revealed: that the Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP) proposed by the developer and approved by DEC is sufficient to safely cap and remediate the site. In other words, so far all the tests say it is safe to move forward with capping and cleaning up the site, which poses no specific health and safety threat to the public.
According to the spokesman for Bilwin, the developer understands community concerns about the former municipal dump site.
"That is why the company agreed to go above and beyond what is required by law, funding an extensive round of supplemental testing throughout the site,'' the spokesman said. "All tests are completely transparent, being supervised by the DEC and the Village’s independent environmental consultant. No construction will begin until after all tests are concluded and the results are certified by the Village and DEC."
"The main goal here has always been to remediate the site and make sure it is safe for future development that can benefit the Village and the community," according to Bilwin's spokesman.