Questions were raised last week by opponents of the currently proposed 50-unit apartment building on North Greeley Avenue in Chappaqua over rumors of contamination at the site and whether the structure would be as environmentally friendly as advertised.

Residents United to Save Chappaqua Hamlet (RUSCH) submitted a letter to city officials before a public hearing resumed last week on special permit legislation that says the site has a history of industrial uses dating back to the 1800s.y A century that the city failed to take into account.

On September 5, a draft negative declaration was presented to the City Council for the project by Planning Director Sabrina Charney Hall, meaning the project would pose no significant negative environmental impacts under the state Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

But resident Margaret Ferguson, who raised a range of other issues criticizing the project, including how the building would be out of character for the hamlet, said two residents had contacted her about the history of the site, which was owned by working railways in the late 19th century. Ten and had a variety of industrial uses until the mid-1920sy a century.

Furthermore, 54 Hunts Place, the site of the current Conifer affordable housing building, was a well-known site about 100 yards away, and another parcel of land to the north of it, 136 N. Greeley Ave., was also a former industrial site, Ferguson said. With runoff and other factors, contaminants have been known to travel many miles to impact other sites, Ferguson said.

“A couple of residents brought up long-standing rumors of pollution in that area and asked me what the city was doing about it,” Ferguson said. “That’s how they came to my attention, and they’re long-time residents.”

But Hull and planning consultant Nanette Bourne cited a review of the site’s history dating back to 1870, and no evidence of contamination was discovered.

“In our review, we looked at all the state records regarding the history of contaminated sites, just like the brownfield site at 54 Hunts Place, and that was listed everywhere,” Hull said. “We have looked at all of the records provided by the applicant and have confirmed that there is no contamination at this site or suspected contamination at this site.”

If the project is approved and contaminated soil is discovered once the site has been disturbed during construction, the applicant will be required to clean up the site at its own expense, Bourne said.

Residents have teamed up to hire their own hydrogeologist to study the risks to groundwater and public health, Ferguson said.

Later in the hearing, another critic of the project, Chuck Napoli, questioned whether the four-story building, which will also have more than 6,400 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, could achieve net-zero carbon emissions. The amount of materials needed to build and develop the site would make the project far less sustainable than proposed.

“This is four stories, and the amount of concrete that goes into this thing is enormous,” Napoli said.

“(There’s) so much embodied carbon in this building just in the foundation and the slab alone that any stupid little wooden building on top of it can’t come close to the (net) zero green building,” he added. “That’s what it was sold as, and it’s not that anymore.”

Hull said the proposed legislation for the building would require high environmental standards.

“With all due respect, this building is subject to higher green building and energy efficiency standards than anything being built today – and that is what the legislation says,” she said.

While the building is moving in the right direction, “there is room for improvement,” said Kent Thomas, chair of the Sustainability Advisory Board. He said the legislation falls short of being groundbreaking unless the city requires the use of renewable energy in the building including through solar and green roofs.

Other issues raised by RUSCH in its letter were concerns that the city relied on traffic analysis from the developer’s traffic consultant, which used flawed and inaccurate data to reach conclusions about minimal impact on downtown and that there would be no guarantee that the building would look like the renderings. that have been submitted.

Additional reports on behalf of RUSCH are expected to be submitted to the city, Ferguson said.

The board was split on whether to close the hearing and how long to keep public comments open. By a vote of 3-2, the board ended the hearing but agreed to leave the written public comment period open until noon on Monday, October 2. Given the questions raised and more reports scheduled for next week from RUSCH consultants, Council Members Victoria Tipp and Allie Chemtop opposed closing the hearing last week.

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