Parking Garage Variance Requested !


Susan Leiefer 7/09 *
Speech given at North Castle Town Board Meeting

The area proposed for the parking complex is in the watershed. They say it will have detention basins but those of us who have recently experienced flooding in the last several years know that present storms do not act as planned.

One million people in Westchester and (8 million of NYC) a total of 9 million or half the state’s population use the water of the Kensico Reservoir. From a taxpayer’s point of view, if we had to filter our water, the cost to the county, city and state would be staggering. For Westchester alone it would be in the billions of tax dollars.

Right now our water is under an EPA filtration avoidance mandate. A Filtration Plant cost is estimated at 20 to 30 billion dollars to build, 1.5 million to maintain, and will need to be rebuilt every 12-15 years. Filtration is not a sieve, but a major Chemical Plant, which would  involve many daily chemically loaded truckloads in, and many effluent truckloads out. Chemically filtered water can never be returned to the state of clean water naturally filtered by wetlands and forests. 

The present Airport parking = 1200, the proposed New King Street offsite proposal, which is in the watershed and 500 feet from the reservoir is for 1450 thus more than doubling the parking capacity. Both the airport and 684 are in the Kensico Reservoir’s watershed. 684, is a major highway that has 12 outflows that go directly into the reservoir: Adding another major pollutant source will further strain the integrity of our water. 

The idea that more than doubling the parking for the airport will reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of car trips to the airport is a dangerous fallacy. It is estimated that at times with the present plane traffic, they would need 400 parking spots. So I contend that the extra 1000 parking capacity would ultimately mean more planes! The planes increase in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions will thus vastly outweigh any reduction from fewer car trips to the airport.

There are about 10 slots vacant right now in the airport capacity agreement. There is also 7-10 more between 5 and 6:30 and 11 to 12:30. HOWEVER THINGS COULD COME UP THAT WOULD MAKE FLYING FROM 12 TO FIVE AM, attractive just as the surprise increase in passengers in the middle of the day from Jet Blue’s use has made a very steep increase in passengers.  Dot Deputy Commissioner Stanton has told me that Westchester’s agreement with the FAA mandates a 24 hour agreement. This mandate is for 4 passenger planes a half hour or 240 passengers and is unrestricted for all 24 hours.

More planes = more pollution over the Reservoir, more noise, more fugitive deicing of both planes and runways, more air pollution for the county (negating our net gain from replacing all airport ground support trucks to  new electric vehicles). The WestchesterAirport is built in the Kensico Watershed and the Blind Brook watershed of the latter they have a Speedy’s permit to dump storm, deicing fluid overflow into the Blind Brook. This then goes into Long Island Sound.

There is another factor if the FAA airspace redesign goes into effect, this pollution will be more compressed, and will have a more intense effect. Part of their Plan is to change the three layers over the North East airports airport to five lawyers thus bringing the over flight ceiling down to 2 thousand from 3 thousand feet.

 

Cities all over the world have public transportation to their airports none have enough parking for cars. Westchester has private shuttles from hotels in White Plains and business complexes such as the Summit. DOT is now providing public bus service at a nominal cost to the passengers from White Plains railroad station and other places, and hopefully more of the public will avail themselves of this.

We are very appreciative of the three resolutions. The first passed by Westchester County owner of this airport and then NY State Assembly and NY Senate asking for no more gates, hangers, heavier planes, longer runways and no more parking. While we have as much land as La Guardia airport, WestchesterCounty deliberately and wisely mandated a modest parking structure so as to prevent the expansion of this airport, mindful of its close proximity to our water supply and that of NYC.

The airport would never under present environmental law be allowed to be built and has been called an ‘environmental disaster’. We see our job to protect this pristine, affordable and irreplaceable water supply for lower NY.

Presently the Town of North Castle would have to change its zoning to allow this parking structure. We would hope that they do not do so. Presently under their present zoning this structure would not be allowed. Keeping it as is, would thus insulate the Town of North Castle from being sued by the developer for preventing him from making full use of his property.

While the proposed parking structure is not on airport property it is being solely built for the airport and seems to be in direct contradiction to the County and State Resolutions.