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Tappan Zee plan set for public scrutiny

With construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge looming, state officials have begun courting the village of Tarrytown, where residents are voicing concern about the impact of the $5.2 billion project on their single-family homes.

In recent weeks, a flurry of visits from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's emissaries to the Irving and Tappan Landing neighborhoods have helped calm fears. The governor's representatives, who have been holding informational meetings throughout Rockland and Westchester counties, are scheduled to make their first presentation to the entire village at 7 p.m. Wednesday, at the Tarrytown Senior Center.

"They've never had a public meeting here, and the village board felt that the Tarrytown public should have an opportunity to meet everybody and have a chance to speak," Mike Blau, village administrator, said.

State officials are getting acquainted with the issues in Irving, a mix of 40 private residences, ranging from centuries-old historic houses to a few McMansions, packed into a triangular patch next to the state Thruway Authority's toll booths on the southbound side of the bridge, a tract of land that also includes a Thruway parking lot and yard.

Thruway officials plan to run a new road through the area down to the river, where barges will unload construction supplies to trucks. The area is also to be used by work crews.

"We have light, dust and pollution issues," said Victoria Weisel, president of the Irving Neighborhood Preservation Association. "But what we're most concerned about is the safety of our children and our homes."

Weisel said there are 30 children in the neighborhood.

On Sept. 19, residents are to have their first meeting with Larry Schwartz, secretary to the governor and leader of the outreach team that has been holding hearings on the bridge plans.

The residents' requests include the construction of permanent, high-quality sound barriers and replacement of the existing hodgepodge of torn netting, rotting wood slats and rusty chain-link fencing that sections off one side of the Thruway authority's property.

Residents also want assurances repairs will be made to any walls or foundations that crack from the force of blasting, as well as help with the removal of dead rodents and wildlife.

Residents in neighboring Tappan Landing, a subdivision built about 1940, met Sept. 5 with another member of the team, Brian Conybeare, a former anchor with News 12 Westchester.

Fred Gross, who lives with his wife in a riverfront Cape they've owned since 1974, said residents felt "more comfortable" about the bridge's impact afterward. Gross said they were assured that their Hudson views would not be blocked, crews would work limited hours and the new bridge would be only 100 feet closer to their development -- not 100 yards, as originally announced.

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