In the News: What is causing confusion about Spencer Rd toxic contamination?

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Another great article from the Ithaca Voice talking about from where the confusion around the contamination at 400 Spencer Rd comes: What caused confusion over toxic contaminants at Ithaca development? 

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

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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

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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

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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

Robbery at 400 Spencer Rd

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There was an armed robbery reported at Ithaca Taxi Dispatch (400 Spencer Rd.) in the early morning of July 9th.

There are more details about it in this article in the Ithaca Voice:
Cops: Two Men, One Wielding Knife and Club, Robbed Ithaca Business

If anyone has any information, please report it to the Ithaca Police at: (607) 272-9973.

Sidewalk Improvement Plan Open House

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The Department of Public Works will hold separate open houses for each of the five sidewalk improvement districts (SIDs) to present and receive feedback on the draft 2015 sidewalk work plan.

Spencer Road falls into Sidewalk Improvement District #4, which is shared with Elmira Road, southwest Ithaca, the south of the creek neighborhood, and South Hill (map).

Our open house will be:

Monday, July 21, 6:30-8:00pm
Tompkins Community Action, 701 Spencer Road (Conference Room) (map)

Based on these open house meetings, the Department will develop a final proposed work plan and budget to present to the Board of Public Works. Projects that are not included in the 2015 work plan will be considered for 2016.

Questions can be directed to Eric Hathaway, Sidewalk Program Manager, Engineering Division, at: (607) 274-6530 or: sidewalks@cityofithaca.org.

Neighborhood Meeting, Monday, June 30

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There will be a meeting for neighbors interested in discussing the proposed Stone Quarry Apartment project (at 400 Spencer Rd).  The meeting will be Monday, June 30th at 6pm at 351 Spencer Rd.  Light refreshments will be provided.

A summary of the meeting will be sent to the e-mail list for interested neighbors who are unable to attend.