Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) announced the passage of legislation in the Assembly and Senate, which he introduced, (A.5990-A/S.4544-B-Avella) that would require the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to notify community boards in New York City of any new brownfield site cleanups. A brownfield site is real property, the redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a contaminant. Contaminants include hazardous waste or petroleum.
Current DEC regulations require a period of public comment for a brownfield cleanup request. Adjacent property owners, nearby schools and local newspapers must also be notified. The additional requirement of notifying local community boards within New York City would allow for notice of opportunity for public comment to be served to interested parties. Community boards hold monthly meetings where they notify the public and local civic organizations of upcoming public hearings for state and city governmental agencies. A requirement to notify local community boards, in addition to other individuals already required to be notified, would also give notice to those residing in the vicinity of the brownfield an opportunity to comment on the planned brownfield cleanup.
"Community boards are our first line of defense in protecting our quality of life. Providing board members with information about brownfield sites will ensure that the community has eyes and ears on the ground to make certain that all remediation is done appropriately,” said Assemblyman Braunstein. "I would like to thank Community Board 7 for bringing this issue to my attention in February and I am gratified that Senator Avella and I were able to work together to quickly pass this common sense legislation."
"I am pleased that the Assembly followed the Senate’s lead and passed this common sense legislation. Brownfield cleanups are significant environmental projects that can have a widespread impact on residents and the local community," said Senator Tony Avella. "Often times these brownfield cleanup projects, when finished, lead to large developments that also impact the quality of life for residents. Community boards play an important role in these land use decisions and therefore it is critical that they are also notified of any new brownfield site cleanups. I applaud Assemblyman Braunstein for shepherding this vital legislation through the Assembly and look forward to working with him to ensure that the Governor signs it into law."