Suez Removes Fuel Tanks From Relocation Plan

Business Environmental

Company Plans To Hold Information Session About Controversial Proposal

By Tina Traster

Responding to public pressure, Suez New York has reversed course and decided not to install fuel tanks on land it plans to lease at the former Tilcon site at 162 Old Mill Road in West Nyack. Suez had planned to locate two above-ground fuel storage tanks for 8,000 gallons of gasoline and 2,000 gallons of diesel for their fleet of trucks and cars to fill up on site. The company would have needed a variance from the Clarkstown Fire Board of Appeals because the town limit for storage capacity for a tank is 500 gallons.

Suez will continue to seek final approval for its site plan, which requires no zoning variances or special permits.

“We listened to the views expressed by our neighbors and have agreed to modify our site plan,” said Graziano. “This is an ideal location for our new headquarters and we are eager to stay in the Town of Clarkstown. Our site plan is a highly responsible use of this property, meets all of the current zoning requirements and places us near Lake DeForest, our most important asset.”

Suez NY plans to lease space, build a storage facility and install above-ground gas tanks at the former Tilcon headquarters on the eastern side of Old Mill Road in  West Nyack. The proposal drew a 200-plus, restive crowd that expressed a host of concerns about the proximity of the plan to Lake DeForest, the county’s drinking source, and to demand a greater level of environmental review for the project.

Suez plans to lease the existing building for offices for construction staff, management and customer service employees. But Suez wants to add a 60,000-square-foot storage yard with a 10,400 square-foot building that will be used to park its fleet of vehicles and store materials needed to maintain their water system including pipes, hydrants, valves, etc. Suez said the new site will better comply with ADA (American Disability Act) requirements.

Tilcon will consolidate its operations at its Haverstraw location.

The proposed plan on 26 acres would involve creating 48 new parking spaces for a total of 141 in the parking lots to the east and south of the existing building. Nearly 7 acres, or 305,000 square-feet of land-disturbance, primarily paving and the building of the new structure, will mandate the installation of an extensive storm-water management system. The site lies within a few hundred feet of Lake DeForest, the county’s primary source for drinking water.

Angry residents cited concern about runoff and potential contamination to the reservoir, the dangers of fuel tanks in close proximity to the water supply, the impact of deforestation, traffic on the winding bucolic Old Mill Road, and disturbance of habitat for many species including the endangered bald eagle and bog turtle.

Suez said its building at 300 West Nyack Road is under contract for sale. They would not reveal whether or not the pending contract builds in contingencies for Suez’s approvals on the Tilcon site.

Suez’s application to build out the property does not require any variances.

“We’ve looked carefully,” said Ken DeGennaro, from Brooker Engineering. “Our plan adheres to the zoning code.” The 26-acre site they’re leasing is zoned LO or “laboratory office”.

Nevertheless, environmental attorneys, activists, and members of the public have called on the planning board to subject the proposal to greater environmental review.

While Suez characterized the application as “unlisted” under SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act), those who oppose the plan are calling for a “Type 1 action,” which presumes that the project will have adverse environmental impacts and mandates independent study. An unlisted action only requires findings by the planning board.

SUEZ plans to host a public information session for neighboring residents only on Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m. at the West Nyack Firehouse.