Hundreds of attendees packed a public hearing Wednesday night about a controversial solid waste transfer station proposed for Furrows Road in Holbrook.
At the hearing, hosted by Suffolk County Legis. William Lindsay (D-Bohemia) at the county legislature building in Hauppauge, residents voiced concerns about the proposed development’s potential for pollution, odors, and heavy traffic.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is currently considering the application, filed in October 2015 by Green Rail Transfer of Queensbury in upstate New York to work with Railroad Realty Corp., based at 615 Furrows Rd., to operate a transfer site there. The DEC public comment period on the application is extended to Feb. 10.
The application is specifically for a one-year renewable permit for the DEC to examine the viability of the material that Green Rail Transfer uses to package solid waste. The site would process and transfer the waste to be moved from flatbed trucks to rail cars bound for Virginia, handling a maximum 900 tons per day.
The DEC has previously said that the agency was weighing the residents’ concerns “carefully” before making a decision about issuing the permit. Lindsay said the agency was invited to the public hearing though no representative attended.
At the hearing, Lindsay made known his disapproval of the project and “the disturbance it would cause to our community.”
Among the many people who offered critical comments during the public hearing, Holbrook Chamber of Commerce president Rick Ammirati said: “We don’t want to see Holbrook down in the dumps.”
Other politicians in attendance included Islip council members Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, Mary Kate Mullen, and Steve Flotteron; and Gordon Canary, an aide to state Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore). Bergin Weichbrodt noted that the Islip Town board members could not legally indicate how they may vote on the application but “hypothetically speaking, if this application was to come in my backyard, I would never never support it.” Mullen said: “We are interested in hearing your comments.” Canary read aloud a letter from Boyle disapproving of the project, and Lindsay also read letters of opposition to the application from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and state Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville).
Islip’s Department of Environmental Control Commissioner James Heil told the audience that he had worked on the Green Rail Transfer application when he was an engineer at Cashin Associates. He vowed he “would not take part in the review” if the application ever winds up in front of the Islip Town board for various permits.