Judge Orders UPS To Halt Outdoor Construction At Proposed Massive Yonkers Distribution Facility

Community Group Scores A Major Legal Lawsuit Victory with The Granting Of A Judicial Restraining Order

Yonkers, NY (Nov 9, 2020) In an ongoing legal battle between a Yonkers neighborhood group (StopUPS.org) against corporate Goliath UPS planned expansion has resulted in an initial victory the community group.

Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Gretchen Walsh issued a restraining order on Nov 6thagainst UPS which prevents any on site or off-site outdoor construction of a proposed massive UPS distribution center at 555 Tuckahoe Road, Yonkers. UPS has boasted that this will be the largest UPS distribution in all of Westchester and the Bronx.

Surrounding neighbors representing 2000 households have demanded that UPS prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) so that UPS mitigates the environmental, health, safety and quality of life impacts on the surrounding residential community. The City of Yonkers Planning Board refused to order UPS to prepare an EIS. The residents have also raised other legal claims against the proposed distribution center.

StopUPS.org founder, Clare Gallagher commented, “We are very grateful that Judge Walsh has listened to the concerns of our neighborhood and issued a restraining order. We have already been choked by fumes, awakened at 2:00 a.m. and felt shaking and vibrations from heavy machinery during the construction process. The facility has not even opened yet and the City of Yonkers and UPS ignored us. We do not want to deal with horrendous traffic or be awakened at all hours of night for the next 25 years. No other business that previously operated on this site has ever been 24/7 or as intense an operation as what UPS is planning to run. We have a right to the peaceful enjoyment of our homes and neighborhood.”

The restraining order will remain in effect until at least Nov 30 at which time residents will seek a long-term injunction against UPS at a Court hearing. The restraining order against UPS is believed to be the first time a Court anywhere in the US has stopped UPS from constructing a distribution center.

PRESS CONTACT: George Hudak
DigiWorks Media Group, 203-300-7748
press@digiworksmedia.com

Yonkers Homeowners File Lawsuit Against UPS, Owners

Suit Claims United Parcel Service and Property Owners Made Misrepresentations; City Officials Failed to Perform Their Duty In Notifying, Protecting Yonkers Homeowners; Law Requires Environmental Impact Statement and Zone Variance Request

Local homeowners in Yonkers have filed a major lawsuit to seeking to overturn three recent decisions by the City’s Planning Board regarding construction at 555 Tuckahoe Rd. Yonkers. The suit claims that the owners, a subsidiary of Weissman Real Estate LLC, made improper statements regarding their site plan application and numerous misstatements and misrepresentations in official documents; and that actions taken by United Parcel Service (UPS) and city officials prior to the granting of site plan approval by were arbitrary, capricious and unlawful.

Clare Gallagher with attorney Zachary D. Oliva of Keane & Beane at a press conference on Tuesday, October 27.

The suit was filed Wednesday on behalf of a consortium of neighbors, neighborhood groups and civic associations by Keane & Bean, Senior Counsel Joel Sachs, White Plains. The lawsuit documents the efforts to thwart environmental impact laws and civic involvement, and accelerate construction despite significant neighborhood opposition. The effort follows several months of petitions and declarations by neighbors trying to make their case.

“UPS plans to have upward of 250 package trucks, numerous 18 wheelers, and 400 workers operating 24/7. There needs to be consideration for the East Grassy Sprain Road access and limiting hours of operation are demanded in order to maintain a good neighbor relationship between UPS and the community to mitigate the impact of the facility,” said Clare Gallagher, a neighbor.

The suit includes more comprehensive traffic and sound studies commissioned by neighbors showing that sound and air pollution will have a much greater impact than initially presented. The number of trucks entering and exiting and the number of employee parking slots, for example, has grown and at many times been in conflict with previous statements by the respondents.

Petitioners include The Gassy Sprain Civic Association, Sprain Lake Knolls Civic Association and Winchester Homeowners Association, representing several hundred households in close proximity to the the site. The website StopUPS.org has made available much of the research and includes additional information and links to news items.

Among the actions requested by the suit are to require a environmental impact statement (“EIS”) due to the significant environmental impacts; that there is no reason to allow a truck refueling depot as “integral” to the needs of a distribution center to force UPS to request a use variance from the City Zoning Board of Appeals since the proposed truck refueling depot would be located directly in the midst of a residential neighborhood.

Send comments on fuel tanks/refueling before Tuesday Sept 15th

There is a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting taking place this Tuesday September 15th at 5:00 pm regarding allowing fuel tanks and refueling at 555 Tuckahoe Rd. Between the application fees, legal and consultant fees we have spent several thousands of dollars and many hours of work to get this item on the agenda for the meeting as it is necessary to take this step BEFORE filing a lawsuit.

#5717 – Appeal of Interpretation – Joel H. Sachs, Esq., on behalf of Winchester Village, neighboring property owners, to appeal the interpretation of the Commissioner of Housing and Buildings regarding the requirements of fuel storage tanks and refueling facilities proposed by UPS; on premises known as 555 Tuckahoe Road, Block: 4038, Lot: 101, Zone: CM (B22619)

We do not agree with the interpretation by the Commissioner of Housing and Buildings that fuel storage tanks are allowed in a CM zone and that refueling should be allowed on the property.

PLEASE send an e-mail to the Zoning Board of Appeals before this Tuesday expressing your opinion about having two above ground 12,000 gallon tanks on the site and having daily refueling take place on the site. You can send you comments to : https://yonkers.seamlessdocs.com/f/ZBA_Comment

Neighbors may go to court over Yonkers planners approval of UPS plan

By Peter Katz, Westchester Business Journal

Residents fom the Grassy Sprain neighborhood of Yonkers who have been opposing plans for changes at the UPS distribution site at 555 Tuckahoe Road may be going to court to try to reverse the city planning board’s Aug. 19 approvals, the Business Journal has learned.

A filing known as an Article 78 proceeding would be a way to challenge and review a government’s administrative action in court. A source indicated that an announcement about a court action might be made during the week of Aug. 24. Read the whole story at the Westchester Business Journal

Yonkers Homeowners Take Their Stop UPS Fight to City Hall

Residents of the Grassy Sprain neighborhood are up in arms about UPS expansion that will include placing 24,000 gallons of combustible fuel yards from homes

A news story in the New York Post (8/11/20 -links below) which included video of a recent massive gas station explosion have heightened safety fears of the community adjacent to the UPS facility on Tuckahoe Rd. UPS’s extensive expansion plans include placing two 12,000 gallon above the ground fuel tanks in close proximity to residential homes. These plans are scheduled for an approval vote by the Yonkers Planning Board this Wednesday (8/19/20- Zoom Meeting 5:30PM )

Yonkers 6th District Councilman, Anthony Merante will be joined by Clare Gallagher, Community leader, Founder, StopUPS.org, Nick Plakas, Vice President of Winchester Village and residents where they will present their demands to the Yonkers Planning Board ahead of their scheduled meeting.

Councilman Merante said, “I heard the community’s fears and cries for help, and I have joined them in their fight. Our government is based on the principle of “For and By The people” and the community’s concerns must be heard and acted on.” Merante added, “We are not against UPS, we welcomed them to Yonkers what we are against is this massive expansion which is well beyond the scope of what was originally agreed to. I want to make it clear to UPS and the Planning Board that  the community will not go quietly into the night. We understand this is a David and Goliath fight, but we will use every means including the courts to Stop UPS!”

NY Post Link https://nypost.com/2020/08/11/fiery-explosion-at-russian-gas-station-injures-at-least-13/)

Video of gas station explosion link: https://youtu.be/RcXU7he51os

DATE:  Tuesday, August 18, 2020

TIME: 1PM

PLACE:  Yonkers City Hall, 40 S, Broadway

MEDIA CONTACT: George Hudak, DigiWorks Media Group, Cell 203-300-7740.

Traffic Armageddon

Our neighborhood partnership hired Ferrandino & Associates Inc., a multi-disciplinary planning consulting firm providing an array of services to municipalities, private corporations, not-for-profit agencies, institutions and private developers. Here is their complete study, as we know that the City of Yonkers has not done an independent traffic study. This was confirmed at the July 15 Yonkers Planning Board meeting as is shown in the minutes, page 80-81 here: “in this case, it was more a matter of what Traffic Engineering accepted from the applicant versus a straight-up report.” In other words the applicant UPS threw their wish list at the wall and whatever stuck is the traffic study.

We have provided the Planning Board with our more thorough study of the impact of the refueling center. More importantly is what was learned through a back channel (Local 804, the UPS drivers’ union), who warned of significant potential impacts that could result based on their knowledge of the UPS planned utilization beginning as early as October of this year. They stated that as of October 16, 2020 there will be 170 routes (i.e., package trucks) operating out of the Center and, in the spring of 2021, there will be 225-250 routes/package trucks leaving the facility between 8:30 and 9:30 am. They added that there will be tractor trailers —or feeders — arriving at 2:00 am. Our previous August 15th review of the Frederick P. Clark/Hardesty & Hanover (FPC/H&H) studies placed the bulk of the feeders arriving between 4:00 and 6:00 AM.

The union business agents further estimated the number of future employees at the new UPS Yonkers Distribution Center at approximately 1,000. In their assessment of the proposed parking plans, they concluded that there will not be enough parking on the site, and that it can be expected that employees will be forced to park on adjacent local streets. That would certainly be an unacceptable impact on the surrounding neighborhood. The firm has provided additional analysis of this information in an addendum that we urge the Planning Board to take into consideration.

The firm’s range of consulting expertise includes comprehensive planning, land use and zoning studies, transportation planning, urban design, environmental planning, community development, economic development, housing, real estate market analysis, GIS and site feasibility. Vince Ferrandino, AICP, a certified planner and the Principal of the firm, was the former Commissioner of Planning and Development for the City of Mount Vernon and the Town of Greenburgh, NY and has served as the City Planner for the City of Peekskill. The firm has worked extensively in Westchester, including the City of Yonkers, where we have conducted SEQR reviews, planning, environmental and economic studies, most notably the controversial Ridge Hill Village SEQR review on behalf of the Yonkers City Council.

Car Rally this Wednesday 8/12

Car Rally/press conference next week on Wednesday, August 12th at 3:30 pm on East grassy Sprain Rd. parallel to construction on the field behind 555 Tuckahoe Road building. Please attend, make signs and show UPS that our neighborhood concerns must not be dismissed!

Send an Email/Write a Letter Today!

The Yonkers Planning Board has a Special Meeting Scheduled for Wednesday August 19th at 5:30 pm and the UPS Site Plan proposal is on the agenda and up for a vote.

This is a conversion of a warehouse into a modern distribution center of major size. The scale and intensity of its operations will decrease our property values and negatively impact our everyday quality of life in our neighborhood.

Reasons the Yonkers Planning Board should give a positive declaration for an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed site development at 555 Tuckahoe Road are listed below. [A positive declaration means that he proposed action may result in a significant adverse impact, and therefore, will require preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS)]. The issues below have either been inadequately studied or not studies at all:

  1. Inadequate traffic impacts study. The study only focused on cars and trucks entering and exiting the facility and not the impact of increased traffic volume and intensity on the Tuckahoe Rd. corridor, from Central Avenue to Saw Mill River Road, especially during the months that school is in session.  A responsible traffic study needs to also consider potential for, and impacts of, truck staging on East Grassy Sprain Road. Study needs to address potential use of local residential streets to bypass the East Grassy Sprain Road-Tuckahoe Road intersection.  We don’t want Tuckahoe Road to become another Elmsford Route 9A/Rt 119 nightmare of traffic congestion.
  1. Impact on road surfaces and bridges especially on Tuckahoe Rd. and East Grassy Sprain Road with the addition of hundreds of cars and trucks in the area.   The Yonkers Water Department is often repairing the water main leakage at the Mountaindale Road & Tuckahoe Road intersection.  This area was just recently repaired, yet again. Increased truck traffic will only increase the frequency of water main leaks. We don’t want Tuckahoe Road to become the wavy, beat up road that Route 9A is in Elmsford.
  1. The negative impacts on ambient air quality from the addition of hundreds of cars and trucks in the area and the increased idling time for all vehicles due to slowed and stopped traffic.
  1. Noise pollution at all hours of the day and night in all directions.
  1. Light pollution from parking lots, and car and truck headlights as well as lights on buildings spilling over into the neighborhood.
  1. Glare from solar rooftop panels.
  2. With regards to the refueling depot We believe Refueling is not a listed permitted use.  Also, the impacts of fuel leakage from hundreds of refueling operations a day has not been addressed. Impacts of accidents with fuel tanker trucks as increased potential for accidents is natural with increased delivery frequency.  Risks for terrorist and anarchist attacks. A refueling depot in a residential neighborhood is unwise and unsafe.

Westchester Legislator Ruth Walter Adds Her Voice

After neighbors raised concerns about the size and scope of the UPS refueling center, Westchester Legislator Ruth Walter wrote a letter expressing solidarity with Councilman Merante and neighbors. You can read the letter as a PDF but the text follows:

Dear Mayor Spano, Yonkers City Council Members and Planning Board Chairman Roman Kozicky,

I am writing to express my concerns regarding the UPS facility being expanded on 555 Tuckahoe Road in Yonkers. I have received numerous emails and phone calls from our mutual constituents explaining why this construction would be harmful to the Mountaindale Road neighborhood.

Sensible reasons to reduce the proposed plan include but are not limited to: excess noise in a residential neighbourhood an increase in air pollution which will be even more impactful with the still-looming threat of COVID-19

I join Councilman Merante in asking that the amount of allowable tractor trailers at the site be reduced and no fueling station be permitted in this residential neighbourhood. I am glad that there have been changes made to the original plan, such as adding an underground storage tank design rather than above ground one and a new parking lot that can shield residents from light and noise.

Overall, I would like to see the expansion of the UPS facility be in such a way that would minimise the impact on the nearby residential community. The Mountaindale Road neighbourhood does not want to live in an industrial site. That’s not what they signed up for when they moved into this beautiful, quiet community. I am calling on the Yonkers City Planning Board to make these changes for the good of the community and constituents we serve.

I am happy to discuss this further and I can be reached at the address/email/phone below.

Ruth Walter Walter

UPS Car Rally – Round 2

THIS RALLY WAS POSTPONED.
It has been rescheduled—see this announcement.

Anthony J. Merante Council Member, 6th District

Budget & Finance Committee Chair Committee Member Rules Labor Education Environmental Policy & Protection Community & Mental Health Legislation & Codes

Date: July 23, 2020

To: Grassy Sprain Civic Association Sprain Lake Village Co-op Apartments Sprain Lake Knolls Civic Association Winchester Village Any other Concerned Area Neighbors

From: Council Member Anthony J. Merante

Neighbors:

Last Saturday, July 18, 2020, I had the honor to lead a very successful car rally with residents living around the new UPS distribution center at 555 Tuckahoe Road. In short notice, 45-50 cars participated. This Saturday, July 25, 2020 we will have our second rally. Please give us 15-20 minutes. Help me help us. The rally will start at 10:15am on Mountaindale Road. Due to the Covid 19 Pandemic a car rally is the safest way to reach out to the UPS management and Yonkers Planning Board.

The rally was organized to let UPS and the Yonkers Planning Board know that we live here. We are not virtual residents. We must let UPS know they are welcome in our neighborhood but under our reasonable conditions. This is a residential neighborhood not an industrial park where their other facilities are located. This proposed distribution center, before the Planning Board, is twice the size of their other local facilities.

We want UPS to: PREPARE AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDY (this will answer many community concerns), NOT INCLUDE FUEL TANKS, REDUCE DELIVERY TRUCKS AND TRACTOR TRAILERS, NOT INCLUDE A SECOND PARKING LOT OR ADDITIONAL EXITS ON EAST GRASSY SPRAIN ROAD, CONTROLL DEPLOYMENT, NO 24-HOUR OPERATION.

Neighbors, I respectfully request your attendance at this Saturday’s rally. Help ensure our neighborhood’s quality of life is not negatively impacted by this project. Rally participants can line-up on Mountaindale Road at Tuckahoe Road and go back to Bonnie Briar Road to Gailmor Drive straight through and connect back to the other end of Mountaindale Road. Avoid making a U turn. Arrive from Mountaindale and Gailmor Drive and head to Bonnie Briar Road. Put your hazard lights on.

The procession will make all right turns. Tuckahoe Road to East Grassy Sprain Road to Hickory Lane to Gailmor Drive then head left up Bonnie Briar Road and right again onto Mountaindale Road. We will circle around a few times. Please wear masks. See you Saturday! Remember, It’s all about you!