Northeast Times

Backers derail Bridesburg trash station plan

Brides­burg and Port Rich­mond res­id­ents hold­ing their noses over con­cerns of a new trash trans­fer site planned for the com­munity can now breathe a sigh of re­lief.

The pro­ject has been can­celed.

On Fri­day, Aug. 5, John Ry­an, one of the part­ners from the New York-based Ara­mingo Rail Trans­fer, LP, which was hop­ing to bring a new trans­fer op­er­a­tion to the 9-acre site at Church Street and Ara­mingo Av­en­ue, told the city’s Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment his com­pany was drop­ping the pro­ject.

The plan would have come be­fore the zon­ing board on Wed­nes­day last week.

Ry­an didn’t re­turn re­peated calls for com­ment.

Alan Lev­in, pres­id­ent of the neigh­bor­ing North­east Build­ing Products, who had led a vo­cal op­pos­i­tion to the pro­ject, spoke to Ry­an when he an­nounced the pro­ject would be can­celed.

“He said he felt he had a val­id po­s­i­tion,” re­called Lev­in, dur­ing an in­ter­view last week. “But, he felt the people of the neigh­bor­hood would nev­er be be­hind him.”

“And, he was right,” con­tin­ued Lev­in.

For the past three years, Lev­in said, the com­munity has been op­posed to the pro­ject, slated for 2580 Church St.

In fact, dur­ing a neigh­bor­hood meet­ing last Septem­ber, Ry­an presen­ted the pro­ject to a rowdy audi­ence that wanted little to do with the plan.

Lev­in and North­east Build­ing Products even went so far as to of­fer trans­port­a­tion to neigh­bors look­ing to op­pose the pro­ject at the Aug. 10 zon­ing board hear­ing. 

Yet, Ry­an said, it would have been a green­er, cheap­er way to handle mu­ni­cip­al waste.

Ry­an’s com­pany wanted to cre­ate an en­closed build­ing along the train tracks at that site, at which city trash trucks would have been able to trans­fer their loads to a wait­ing train that would then move the waste out of the city.

Ship­ping by rail, Ry­an said, would help cut down on harm­ful emis­sions from trash trucks cur­rently used to trans­port trash from the city.

However, at full ca­pa­city, the pro­jec­ted trash trans­fer fa­cil­ity would re­ceive 2,500 tons of trash per day. This would ac­count for about 325 garbage trucks a day trav­el­ing through Brides­burg and Port Rich­mond to get to the trans­fer site.

The busi­ness, op­er­at­ing on a more lim­ited scale, could have been built without a vari­ance from the city be­cause the area is zoned for prop­er­ties such as the trans­fer fa­cil­ity. But, when the pro­ject first was pitched in 2006, there was no men­tion that it would also be deal­ing with mu­ni­cip­al waste; the site was ori­gin­ally to be used for con­struc­tion debris only.

The re­cent zon­ing vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion was needed be­cause of later plans to in­clude mu­ni­cip­al waste. 

Once that was made clear, many groups, in­clud­ing the Brides­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation, re­fused to sup­port the pro­ject.

“This is just a weight off our chest,” said Lev­in. “Pretty much every­one we talked to was against it.”

The site is near Lev­in’s busi­ness at 4280 Ara­mingo Ave. He said many op­posed the plan be­cause of con­cerns of ro­dents and birds com­ing in­to the com­munity to scav­enge in the trash, along with the po­ten­tial new odors and new traffic that he said could have hurt busi­ness for all mem­bers of the Brides­burg Busi­ness As­so­ci­ation.

State Rep. John Taylor (R-177th dist.) also battled the pro­pos­al for some time.

While Taylor didn’t re­turn calls for com­ment last week, in the past, Paul Kais­er, the re­cently re­tired spokes­man for Taylor’s of­fice, said the neigh­bor­hood has grown and changed so much, es­pe­cially with new res­id­en­tial units, that the pro­pos­al could have ad­versely af­fected the com­munity.

Lev­in said that was a con­cern of his as well, as was the fact that the land could be put to bet­ter use.

“That land is already a mess,” he said of the cur­rent con­di­tion of the Con­rail-owned site. Cur­rently, he said, plants and weeds in the lot are al­most 15 feet tall.

“We’ve been here 30 years and for all that time, it’s been the same. I’d really like to see them come in and clean it up,” he said. “It’s a unique piece of land … Ideally, I’d like to see it be­come a park or something.”

Re­port­er Hay­den Mit­man can be reached at 215-354-3124 or hmit­man@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at hmitman@bsmphilly.com.

comments powered by Disqus