Three Years Ago: Tarrytown Condo Owners Demand Answers on Bridge Project

By mid-morning the spring air was comfortably warm, enhancing the scene Doris Friedman enjoys from her Tarrytown home.

A partial view of the bridge and the river, including now-familiar floating machinery, seen from Tarrytown.

A partial view of the bridge and the river, including now-familiar floating machinery, seen from Tarrytown.

“I will miss this view,” said Friedman, a retired Greenburgh Town Justice, whose Quay Condominium windows face the roads leading to the Tappan Zee Bridge. “We bought here and planned to live the rest of our lives here, in this community.”

More than a decade of plans will culminate this fall when the Tappan Zee Hudson River Crossing Project begins. In the meantime, residents of the 89-unit complex are in an uproar over the impending construction and want answers.

“This will affect about 16 units facing the riverfront,” said Board of Managers President Alice Goldberg. “What about the stability of our structure? Did they consider the noise, sound barriers, dirt, trucks, and resale value?”

Goldberg and her husband, Sherwood Chorost, moved to the Quay in 1994.

“Most people’s homes are their major investment, and we accept the bridge is needed, just don’t let us get lost in the process,” Goldberg said.

“My husband has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),” said Mary Ann Johnson, a Quay homeowner for 22 years. “They haven’t acknowledged the stress it will cause us from fumes, noise, rodents, or the sound of piles being driven.”

Last month residents met with elected officials, their representatives and state project managers to discuss mitigating the effect of the proposed five-year project.

Quay homeowners worry the new bridge and its shared use path are too close. Tennis court is seen behind a Westchester pier./© Janie Rosman 2015

Quay homeowners worry the new bridge and its shared use path are too close. Tennis court is seen behind a Westchester pier./© Janie Rosman 2015

“We believe the construction of the bridge is a de facto taking of our property,” Goldberg told the packed Quay clubhouse.

Issues include compensation for owners to make them whole (buyout or partial payment), moving the pool and clubhouse to another area of the complex, replacing all windows and insulation for residents on the west and south end, permitting construction and noise between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays, and compensating residents who choose to leave their homes in the event work continues into the night).

“The state has a compelling moral obligation to buy out the residents,” said Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell through Deputy Mayor Thomas Basher. ‘They (residents) didn’t know the bridge would be moved, literally, to their doorstep.”

NYSDOT Project Director Michael Anderson said the state came prepared to show residents what it was doing, and at the meeting, changed its course.

“I want to address two points that were mentioned earlier,” he said. “The window for legal challenges is 180 days after Record of Decision, not 120 days. And while the DEIS comments end March 30, it doesn’t limit the time frame for working on ongoing issues.”

He added, “The DOT understands the impact, and that’s why we’re here tonight.”

Numerous officials, including State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and State Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, voiced their support for the residents’ plight.

“I don’t want my grandson coming here until the project is finished,” Harriet Koretsky said. “There will be dirt and strange cars in the area, and it won’t be safe.”

Looking north from site of former police barracks near what will be a staging area in Westchester/© Janie Rosman 2015

Looking north from site of former police barracks near what will be a staging area in Westchester/© Janie Rosman 2015

“I don’t know how the pollution will affect my daughter,” Diana Muenz-Chen said. “There are so many factors that we don’t know about yet.”

Her seven-year-old daughter meets the school bus on Broadway each morning.

“There’s a lot of traffic on Route 9, and it’s already unsafe having her meet the bus there,” Muenz-Chen said. “I’m afraid it will be worsened if there are hold ups because of construction vehicles.”

The area no longer feels like a Rivertown to Irene Ross, a 13-year homeowner.

“The character is horrendous, and the development near the river will bring more traffic,” Ross said. Allergic to cigarette smoke, she has difficulty breathing and is worried about air quality and health hazards.

“I had a swarm of ants in the kitchen when they dug for piles and had to call an exterminator,” she said. “When you disturb the equilibrium of ground that hasn’t been touched in a long time, there’s bound to be fallout.”

“Elected officials have a moral obligation to help people,” Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said. “It’s unfair to devastate a neighborhood, and at the minimum, the state should offer compensation for properties, including the clubhouse and those homes closest to the work.”

Village Trustee Tom Butler offered this challenge to project managers.

“This affects not only the Quay, it affects Tarrytown,” Butler said. “Keep us in the loop. Our (village) meetings are televised so whatever plans you have, bring it to the village via television.”

My article originally appeared in The Hudson Independent April 2, 2012.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2015

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