Avella Demands DEC Answers To Alleged Inappropriate Fill At Whitestone Waterpointe
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Floral Park, Beechhurst, Malba, Auburndale), along with members of local civic associations and Community Board 7, yesterday demanded transparency and answers as to why the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) allowed developers to use an inappropriate fill at the Whitestone Waterpointe development, a future housing site.
The Whitestone Waterpointe development is being built pursuant a Special Permit issued by the New York City Department of City Planning that allows for the construction of 52 single-family homes. This Special Permit was the result of negotiations between CB 7 and Avella when he was the City Council Member more than a decade ago.
This development also required significant environmental remediation because of the prior industrial uses of this property over many decades. The original developers of the Waterpointe project elected to enroll in the DEC’s Brownfield Cleanup Program.
But yesterday, Avella announced he is demanding detailed answers from DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos regarding a determination tha tthe original “residential soil cleanup objectives would not be met” and whether the DEC authorized a lesser grade of soil, called Track 4 Restricted-Residential Use.
“I am incredibly disappointed and disturbed that DEC allowed these significant and detrimental changes to the remediation plan and it is disgraceful that it would do so without any input from the community or local elected officials given the long history of this planned development on historically contaminated land,” said Avella.
“The community needs answers as to what DEC knew and when they knew it and how they plan to address this serious issue. Using an inappropriate fill could have serious repercussions for whoever ends up living at the site and could restrict how homeowners are allowed to use their own property. The Community Board and Whitestone as a whole seem to have been kept in the dark about recent significant changes to this remediation plan but today we are demanding that DEC give us the respect we deserve and be transparent about what has happened,” the lawmaker added.
De Blasio, Lanceman Hold Town Hall In Briarwood
Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Rory Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica) will host a Town Hall meeting in Briarwood on Thursday.
The event is hosted in conjunction with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, State Senator Leroy Comrie and Assembly Members Vivian Cook, David Weprin, Nily Rozic, Alicia Hyndman and Daniel Rosenthal.
Co-sponsors for the town hall include Briarwood Community Association, Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, Jamaica Estates Association, Jamaica Muslim Center, Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association, Pomonok Residents Association and Queens Jewish Community Council.
The Town Hall is slated for 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 30 at MS 217 Robert A. Van Wyck, 85-05 144th Street in Briarwood,
Meeks Statement on Appointment of Mulvaney as CFPB Director
U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, JFK International Airport) jumped into the brouhaha over President Donald Trump’s recent appointment of Mick Mulvaney as the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
The current controversy stems from former CFPB Director Richard Cordray recently resigning and naming Leandra English, the Deputy Director of CFPB, to serve as its acting director until the Senate confirms a director. Since the senate has not confirmed Mulvaney yet there is squabbling on who is the actual director of the agency.
“Former CFPB Director Richard Cordray is a public servant in every sense of the word. As the Consumer Bureau’s first chief, he laid a foundation for an agency designed to fill a gaping hole in our financial regulatory system. For the first time, under Cordray’s leadership, the American people had a player who would to bat for them with an for enforcing fairness in our financial markets. His work protected hardworking Americans and our financial system writ large by helping restore trust in our financial institutions, which is key,” said Meeks, a senior member of the House Committee on Financial Services
“Rightfully so, Cordray announced that Leandra English, the Deputy Director of CFPB, will serve as its Acting Director until the Senate confirms a Director. This announcement is consistent with a provision included in Dodd Frank (12 U.S. Code § 5491) that establishes the appropriate leadership succession at the CFPB if its Director is unavailable. This provision was clearly intended to supersede the Federal Vacancies Act which gives the president authority to fill vacancies at agencies only when Congress is silent on the matter. In this case, Congress has already spoken, and Leandra English should be given the independence needed to fulfill her statutory mandate as Acting Director until the Senate can vet and confirm someone suitable to work on behalf of American consumers.
“Accordingly, the White House’s announcement of Mick Mulvaney as the CFPB head is wrong – not only because Mulvaney is ill-equipped to lead because of his anti-consumer protection posture – but also because the White House’s announcement is contrary to the law.”