Volume 74, Number 53 | May 11 - 17 , 2005

Sanitation might clean up their act on Gansevoort

By Albert Amateau

The Department of Sanitation agreed last week to continue talking with Friends of Hudson River Park about a possible fast-track timetable for taking the garbage trucks off the Gansevoort Peninsula to free the site for park use.

Sanitation agreed on Mon., May 3, to voluntarily cease construction of a two-story steel-frame garage to house garbage trucks on the peninsula until at least 2012, pending discussion with the Friends about getting Sanitation uses off the 7-acre site sooner.

Daniel Alterman, attorney for the Friends, a civic group advocating for the 5-mile-long riverfront park, and Susan Amron, the city attorney representing the Department of Sanitation, told State Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman on May 5 that they had already begun exploratory talks and would report back to the court on May 18 on subsequent discussions.

The Friends sued the department, the city and the state, charging that continued use of the peninsula for garbage trucks violates the 1998 Hudson River Park Act that created the riverfront park. The legislation set a deadline of Dec. 31, 2003, for removing a derelict garbage incinerator and a shed for highway salt from the peninsula, and mandated that the city exert its “best efforts” to eliminate all Sanitation uses.

The Friends also want “a reasonable rent or use and occupancy payment” that the city must pay to the Hudson Park Trust for the continued occupancy of Pier 97 at 57th St. and most of the Gansevoort Peninsula from the Dec. 31, 2003, deadline until Sanitation leaves the sites.

The city responded last week that Sanitation has been “diligently working” to relocate the garbage truck parking. The effort involves garages for six Manhattan districts in Lower Manhattan, the Village, Chelsea, Midtown and the East Side and the Upper West Side.

“The District 2 garage [for trucks serving the Village] now at the Gansevoort Peninsula, the District 5 garage [for trucks serving Midtown] now at E. 73rd St. and the overflow from District 1 [Lower Manhattan] will eventually be relocated at a new site,” the reply says.

Daniel Klein, director of real estate for Sanitation, who attended the May 5 hearing before Justice Stallman, acknowledged after the hearing that an 85,000-acre property between West and Washington Sts. from Spring St. north is currently being considered as the potential garage site that could help free the peninsula for park use.

However, the Spring St. site is owned by United Parcel Service as a staging area for its tractor-trailers and has reportedly been offered to a residential developer. The city would have to take the property under eminent domain, a court and appraisal process that could take up to a year or more.

And the cost of the property to the city and state is likely to be high because it is adjacent to the southern part of the Hudson Sq. neighborhood, formerly known as the Printing District, which is rapidly becoming a high-end residential area. More than 200 new rental and condo units are just a block east on Greenwich St. with condos selling for $2 million

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