Bid for Roosevelt scrap metal site riles neighbors

The B&A Demo property on Debevoise Avenue in The B&A Demo property on Debevoise Avenue in Roosevelt as seen from a neighboring business. (Oct. 17, 2013) Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

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A group of Roosevelt residents and business owners is up in arms about an effort by a demolition debris carting company to turn its property near homes into a scrap-metal yard.

Neighbors said B & A Demo, also known as NY Demo LLC, hauls containers with construction debris for sorting onto two properties on Debevoise Avenue. The residents said they are concerned about potential negative environmental effects.

"The major issue is that you have a demolition company bringing in who knows what kind of waste into a residential neighborhood," said David Nation, vice president of human resources and legal for security products manufacturer Parabit, which is located next to the sorting site and a firehouse. Fire officials declined to comment.

A proposal by NY Demo owner Charles Levine, of Oceanside, calls for special authorizations from the Hempstead Town Board of Appeals to maintain trash bins on two properties, across Debevoise from each other, for outdoor storage to be used for a proposed "commodity sorting facility." A public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

"We don't want to see that kind of operation in a residential neighborhood," said Annette Girardi Homan, 48, of Seaford, who owns a house on Gilbert Place in Roosevelt next to one of the parcels, within residential and commercial zones.

NY Demo's attorney, Christian Browne, of Uniondale, a former member of the appeals board, said the scrap metal facility would be used to weigh metals, which would be brought in by individuals and businesses, sorted into bins and trucked away.

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"It is not a toxic waste facility," said Browne, who will give a presentation about the plan Monday night at 7 in the Roosevelt Fire District headquarters. "Anything we could do to mitigate the impact, we would do."

The appeals board granted NY Demo a special exception in 2007 to use the parcels for storage of contractor equipment and trucks, but instead it has also been using the sites to sort construction debris to recycle copper, steel and concrete, said Ray Schwartz, supervisor of the building department's inspector services. The department has issued dozens of tickets since 2007 after receiving complaints from neighbors, he said.

Town spokesman Michael Deery said the owner "comes into compliance and then there have been lapses."

Peter Constantakes, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said the facility has a registration with DEC to receive and process concrete, asphalt pavement, brick, soil and rock. A DEC investigation found in 2010 that the facility was conducting activities outside the scope of the DEC registration. "At this time, DEC has not documented any regulated activities occurring at the site, but [the agency] will continue to monitor the area for any illegal activity," Constantakes said.

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