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Rye Brook Housing Delayed For Soil Samples

RYE BROOK, N.Y. – Developers of a proposed affordable housing project on Ellendale Avenue will have to provide soil samples to determine if contamination exists on the site, the Village of Rye Brook Board of Trustees determined Tuesday night.

“I feel we need to have that comfort level,” said Mayor Joan Feinstein at a public hearing of the proposal, which includes the creation of a four-unit, two-story multiple dwelling at 525 Ellendale Avenue.

Fair and Affordable Housing (FAAH) has become a major project for Rye Brook after a settlement between the county and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development mandated that certain municipalities must increase the number of affordable housing units by 2017.

Planning Consultant Marilyn Timpone Mohammed said the proposed site on Ellendale looks today as if it had never been built on, but a possible shed or garage once stood on the property. Once a site has been built on, she said there is a potential for hazardous materials to exist in the soil. Soil samples must be completed to make sure there is no contamination.

“The problem is they’re not providing anything to provide a comfort level. At this point since the record show there was a building – a garage – on that property, it’s a pretty good bet that there was a garage there,” said Timpone Mohammed.

The board questioned the reluctance of the developer to provide sampling. Lou Larizza, the owner of Pawling Holdings, LLC, the applicant for the project, said the sampling would cost about $5,000.  He said that since the project is for affordable housing, the selling price of the units cannot change. “If there’s an increase on construction, I can’t raise the price,” he said. “But it’s not a problem.”

Larizza indicated the testing would be done within two weeks and sent to the village to complete all environmental documents before the board of trustees’ next meeting on Aug. 22 when a reconsideration of the rezoning of the site will be taken up.

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