Condo owners near new bridge list demands

Workers continue early construction of pilings, from barges,

Workers continue early construction of pilings, from barges, just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge crossing from Westchester to Rockland County, in background. These pilings allowed proposers to conduct demonstrations of boring to ascertain the composition of the riverbed and a pile-driving project that will determine the load capacity of seven locations in the future path of the bridge. The pile-driving demonstration project was the first physical preparatory work for the new Tappan Zee Bridge. (March 13, 2012) (Credit: Rory Glaeseman)

Condominium owners at The Quay in Tarrytown are demanding financial and environmental redress for the impact the new Tappan Zee Bridge construction will have on their homes.

The 89 families within the residential complex and their newly hired attorney, Joel Sachs, met March 22 with the state's bridge project director, Michael Anderson, who brought a team of nine engineers to answer general questions. Homeowners presented the state with a list of six demands during a 90-minute, standing-room-only session at The Quay's clubhouse overlooking the current bridge's entrance.

In addition to seeking compensation for their plummeting property values, the owners want the state to relocate their pool and clubhouse farther away from upcoming construction, replace windows and insulation for units closest to the construction work, install noise barriers, limit construction hours to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and create a formal process for handling their ongoing complaints.

"Our entire life savings has been invested in our homes," said condo board president Alice Goldberg before a crowd of about 130 residents, politicians and media. "We worry that our homes will be worthless during and after construction."

Anderson noted that it was his third meeting with The Quay's homeowner association and that another would be scheduled soon to address the specific issues. But for now, he said he was "looking forward to working with Alice, the association, the community, The Quay and all the communities that are affected."

During the Q&A, Goldberg asked if the state could show homeowners exactly how close the bridge will come to their complex's property line. In response, Anderson said, "Yes, we can do easy stuff like that." He also clarified that construction crews will access the Westchester County side of their work site by using existing access roads on state Thruway Authority property.

As for construction, "We are not doing it 24/7; it was never in the plan," Anderson said. Specifics for building a noise wall on the south and west side of the complex will be presented in detail at a future meeting with homeowners, he added.

Anderson also reminded residents to submit comments to the project draft environmental impact statement so that their issues could be documented by the March 30 deadline.

When asked whether the fast-tracked new bridge-building plan would impact the time frame for public protests to the project, Anderson said existing guidelines remain unchanged. Once the federal government signs off on the environmental impact statement, it will issue a "record of decision." The public has 180 days from the date of that issue to submit challenges.

Homeowners also aired their concerns related to air and noise pollution, rodent infestations, the safety of their children when trucks and crews will be in the area and plummeting property values.

Other speakers included Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner, who helped organize the meeting; state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-N.Y.); state Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-92nd District); county Legislators MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings) and Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh); and Tarrytown Village Trustee Tom Butler.

A statement from Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell, who did not attend, was read aloud during the meeting.

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