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Roosevelt residents oppose proposed scrap-metal yard

Roosevelt residents, community leaders and business owners spoke out Wednesday against a plan by a demolition debris carting company to turn its property near homes into a scrap-metal yard.

About 60 people turned out at a Hempstead Town Board of Appeals hearing on the proposal by B&A Demo, also known as NY Demo LLC, calling for special authorizations from the appeals board. The company wants permission to maintain trash bins on two properties, across from each other on Debevoise Avenue, for outdoor storage to be used for a proposed "commodity sorting facility," as well as off-street parking variances. The board, some of whose members visited the sites, reserved its decision.

"People don't want to live next to this," said Annette Girardi Homan, who owns a house next to one of the parcels. "If you're going to allow something, please be aware of what you're allowing. Put in some provisions."

More than a dozen other opponents raised concerns about potential environmental effects, noise, parking issues and traffic congestion, considering the Centennial Avenue Elementary School is nearby.

"I've seen scrap-metal yards. They're nasty. They are disgusting," said Kelton Thomas of Roosevelt.

Mae Bennett of Debevoise Avenue complained about noise from truck deliveries late at night and raccoons living in uncovered containers. "When they deliver it, they drop it on the ground," Bennett said

NY Demo's attorney, Christian Browne of Uniondale, a former member of the appeals board, said the six-day operation scrap-metal facility would be used to weigh metals, which would be brought in by individuals and businesses, sorted into storage bins and trucked away. Both parcels are in a business and residential zone, he said.

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 used the sites to sort construction debris, town building department officials have said. The department has since issued dozens of tickets, they said.

"In light of his past performance, what assurances can you give this board that if we were to grant the application that he would all of a sudden have a change of heart and comply with the request of this board since he obviously hasn't done so," said appeals board member John Ragano, referring to NY Demo owner Charles Levine.

Browne said: "I know we would be under a microscope by this board. We are going to consent to a series of conditions." Shawn Boogaerts of Far Rockaway, owner of a tri-state area scrap metal and demolition removal company, defended Levine as a reputable man operating a business needed in a bad economy following superstorm Sandy.

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