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Elwood School District wants development's soil cleanup assurances

Huntington resident, Kim Camron shouts her opposition to

Huntington resident, Kim Camron shouts her opposition to the building of a housing development "Seasons of Elwood" prior to the start of a Huntington Town Board meeting at Town Hall on the evening of June 17, 2014. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Elwood school board would like to see a soil cleanup plan put in writing before the Huntington Town Board votes on a zoning change for the Seasons at Elwood development in East Northport.

School board vice president Dan Ciccone said the district's concern was never the project's density but rather the presence of soil contaminates such as pesticides and heavy metals that can affect the health and safety of the students in John H. Glenn High School and Elwood Middle School, which abut the proposed 37.05-acre site.

"I would want the town and the developer to make a deal to have an independent party, preferably the DEC [State Department of Environmental Conservation] come in and verify the contaminations in the soil and, more importantly, validate a remediation plan and then supervise the plan that was validated," Ciccone said.

However, Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone said the remediation plan will not be filed until the planning board's site plan approval process. Last week the town planning board voted to recommend to the town board it approve the zone change with eight conditions, one of which was a remediation plan. The town board could vote on the zoning change Aug. 19.

Petrone said the developer, Garden City-based Engel Burman, has agreed to pay for an outside expert chosen and working under the direction of the town to oversee the remediation. That will be included in a resolution regarding the zoning change.

"As a school board the health and safety of our students is first and foremost amongst all things," Ciccone said. "So we really wouldn't be doing our proper protection for kids if we just said 'the guys said it's going to be fine, so it'll be fine.' We need something a little more formal, much more of an assurance that this is going to be OK."

Jan Burman, principal of Engel Burman, said the site will be cleaned and approved by the appropriate town and county agencies.

"This is going to be remediated based on 2014 standards," Burman said. "It's going to be pristine in terms of being clean; there will be no issues to anyone who lives in the community or in the development."

He added that the water will come from the Greenlawn Water District, and a sewage treatment plant will be state-of-the-art.

"Everything will be done according to new science, new technology and the way things are done in the year 2014," he said.

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