Sign the Petition! Tell City Officials that Putting Housing on Toxic Contamination is NOT Okay

If you are concerned about the toxic site contamination at the proposed site of the Stone Quarry Apartments (low- to moderate-income housing at 400 Spencer Road), please take a minute and sign the petition.  Tell local officials that housing should be safe and comply with state and federal regulations.

Here are the primary concerns:

  • Unsafe levels of toxic contaminates (lead, acetone, manganese, PCBs, methylcyclohexane, nathalene, crysene, benzoathracene, benzopyrene, and benzofloranthene) have been detected in both soil and groundwater.
  • The NY DEC approved an environmental management plan for the site that does not comply with state DEC or federal HUD regulations. It is not clear why the DEC would approve an environmental management plan that does not even comply with their own regulations.
  • There is no plan for further testing on the site, so the extent of the contamination is still unknown. There will be no investigation of whether contamination has spread to surrounding properties.
  • Even known contamination will not be fully cleaned up.  The only removal of contaminated soil will be where they will have to dig for the buildings, but the rest of the site contamination, including the contaminated groundwater, will remain.  According to the developer, the project will require ongoing mechanical ventilation of building slabs on grade to prevent contamination from affecting occupants in their residences. Residents of at this site would be precluded from even planting vegetables for consumption due to the site contamination.  The known contamination under the playground will remain as well.
  • The City intends to comply with the plan which only requires partial remediation, and no further testing on the site, even though this plan does not comply with state and federal laws.

Please take a minute and sign the petition to tell City officials that housing should be safe for all, regardless of income!  The site needs to be fully tested and toxic contamination needs to be remediated in accordance with state and federal law.

HUD Needs to Recertify the Stone Quarry Apartment Project

Here is the most recent news article about the Stone Quarry Apartment project,published in the Ithaca Voice:
Feds Say Ithaca’s Low Income Housing Developers Didn’t Disclose Toxic Contamination

In light of the undisclosed toxic contamination at the site, the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency, which was going to give low income housing funds for this project, elected to make the City of Ithaca recomplete and resubmit their environmental assessment of this project for these funds.  HUD will need to recertify the project.

The City of Ithaca has, again, concluded that this project would have no negative environmental impact.  There is a 15 day window (ending August 27th) to give feedback to the City if you disagree with that conclusion.  After that, there will be a 15 day comment period with which feedback could be provided to HUD about the City’s environmental assessment.

If you would like to give feedback to the City of Ithaca about this project, it can be mailed to:

Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency
City of Ithaca
108 E Green St
Ithaca, NY 14850

Or it can be e-mailed to Lynn Truame at: LTruame@cityofithaca.org.

On the Radio

Tomorrow evening (Thursday, July 31), Spencer Road residents Bob and Jean will be on WRFI, 88.1 FM during the Community Radio news program that airs from 6 to 6:30. They will have about 5 minutes or so to inform listeners of our concerns about the proposed Stone Quarry Apartments. Tune in or listen online at: http://www.wrfi.org/online-stream/

If you have not already signed the petition, please consider doing so by clicking here.  If you have signed, thank you! Now please ask your family members, friends, and co-workers to read it and to consider signing, also. Numbers matter. Thank you for your support.


Update: If you missed the radio program, you can download an archived version of the interview here (mp3 format).  Or listen here:

Thank you to WRFI Community Radio News hosts Charles Dunaway and Laurie Sankin for including us on your program!

Sign Petition – Require Appropriate Environmental Clean Up at 400 Spencer Rd

Hello neighbors,

As many of you know, extensive soil and ground water contamination has been found on the site for INHS’s proposed Stone Quarry Apartments project at 400-406 Spencer Road.

In public meetings, INHS has stated that they do not intend to fully clean up the site of all pollution, leaving the amount of pollution remaining in the soil at an unsafe level for planting and gardening. If it isn’t safe to garden in, it surely will not be safe for children to dig in or play on.  This is not acceptable.  INHS has also stated in public meetings that they plan to install barriers and screens that will require regular maintenance to remain effective at preventing the pollution from spreading further.  This is not a long term solution and is also not acceptable.

The testing that was done in 2012 – accessed by Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting and described in his July 21st letter to the mayor, accessible here – shows that this contamination can be found all over the site, but also shows that quite a number of locations on the site have not been analyzed, including areas around hydraulic lifts and above-ground fuel tanks.  This is also not acceptable.

Up until Mr. Hang’s letter was published – and the subsequent media attention that resulted – INHS had not submitted necessary remediation plans to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.  From comments made by INHS representatives at a July 22nd Planning and Development Board meeting stating their erroneous belief that the spill reports had been closed, they likely never would have submitted these plans before starting construction had this contamination not come into public light.  This is further unacceptable.

We must come together as a neighborhood and demand that this site be properly and thoroughly analyzed and cleaned up before construction begins, for the safety of those that live and work on and near the site, and for the safety of the future residents of the apartments.  We must speak for our future neighbors, as they do not know they must speak for themselves.

Please, sign this petition: https://www.change.org/petitions/svante-myrick-we-request-that-the-city-of-ithaca-withhold-final-approval-for-the-proposed-stone-quarry-apartments-project-until-the-site-has-been-investigated-and-cleaned-up-on-a-comprehensive-basis

Share it on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.  Email it to your family and friends.  We must act now.

INHS is trying to get away with performing the minimal amount of cleanup necessary, saying they intend to remove at most one dumptruck worth of soil.  To bring the levels of contamination down to levels safe enough for people to garden in, children to play on, and families to grow over, there would need to be at least 500 times more than that removed.  This is shockingly unacceptable.  The testing done so far show significant contamination in the soil and ground water.

Please help us get the word out to the mayor: You MUST require a comprehensive and complete cleanup of this site. Anything less is irresponsible.

Upcoming Meetings About Chain Works District Project

From the City memo:

On August 5, 2014, the City of Ithaca will hold a Public Information Session regarding an application from UnChained Properties, LLC for a Planned Unit Development (PUD). The Public Information Session will begin at 5:30 PM, in the Cinemapolis movie theatre, 120 E. Green Street, Ithaca. In accordance with the City of Ithaca PUD Application Process, the applicant and project team will present information about the project and will answer questions from the public. The purpose of this memo is to provide information regarding this proposal.

The proposed Chain Works District seeks to redevelop and rehabilitate the +/-800,000 SF former Morse Chain/Emerson Power Transmission facility, located on a 95-acre parcel traversing the City and Town of Ithaca’s municipal boundary. The PUD would allow the site to be developed into a mixed-use district, which includes residential, commercial, office, and manufacturing.

The site’s redevelopment would bridge South Hill and Downtown Ithaca, the Town and the City of Ithaca, by providing multiple intermodal access routes, including a highly-desired trail connection. The project will be completed in multiple phases over a period of several years, with the initial phases of the project involving some demolition in addition to the redevelopment of the existing structures. Using the existing structures ― residential, commercial, studio workspaces, and office development are proposed to be predominantly within the City of Ithaca, while manufacturing will be within both the Town and City of Ithaca. The interior of the existing complex will be retrofitted to meet code requirements for particular uses, while the intent is to rehabilitate the exterior to maintain the existing character to celebrate the complex’s industrial history.

The completed PUD application and supporting documentation can be found here.

A Public Hearing will be held at the August 13, 2014, meeting of the Planning and Economic Development Committee, and the Committee will consider endorsing this proposal at that meeting. Your comments on this proposal are respectfully requested by August 7, 2014. If you have questions or require additional information, please feel free to contact Jennifer Kusznir at jenniferk@cityofithaca.org.

Contamination at 400 Spencer Rd

In an article published by the Ithaca Voice yesterday evening, it was revealed that there are toxic pollutants at 400-4006 Spencer Rd where the Stone Quarry Apartments are set to be built.  The site does not currently meet the standards for residential occupancy, due to the contamination, and will need to have remediation in order to bring the site up to state environmental standards.

More information can be found in the article here:
Major Toxic Pollutants Found at Stone Quarry Site

The Stone Quarry Apartments project is going before the Planning and Development Board this evening at 6pm (108 E. Green St).  If you are interested in sharing your opinion, please plan on attending this meeting (you will need to arrive prior to 6pm in order to sign up to speak) or e-mail you comments to Charles Pyott at: cpyott@cityofithaca.org and ask for them to the passed along to the PDB.


Update: After the PDB meeting, the Board voted to table to project until next month.

More news articles:

More detailed information about the contamination can be read in the Toxics Targeting Letter to the mayor: Final Construction Approval of the Stone Quarry Apartments Should be Withheld Due to Toxic Concerns