Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Senator Tony Avella announced that Governor Cuomo has signed into law their legislation (A5990-A/S.4544B) that would require the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to notify any community board 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 and/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.
Braunstein and Avella held a press conference last month in front of the Waterpointe-Whitestone brownfield cleanup with Community Board 7 announcing the legislation. Community Board 7 has been holding committee meetings regarding this site, yet were never informed of the initial brownfield site cleanup application. As a result, they requested that Braunstein and Avella introduce legislation requiring community board notification. Both bills passed their respective houses earlier this year.
"I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important brownfields bill into law, as well as Community Board 7 for bringing this issue to our attention," said Braunstein. "I am pleased that Senator Avella and I were able to work together to quickly pass this common sense legislation."
Avella stated, “I am very happy that the Governor signed this key legislation into law. Brownfield cleanups are significant environmental projects that can have a widespread impact on residents and the local community. 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 am glad that I was able to work with Assemblyman Braunstein and Community Board 7 on this important issue and applaud our work in ensuring that this vital legislation became law,” concluded Avella.