All About Armonk

North Castle Daily News

Much Ado about Millings

February 15, 2016
Since April 2015, Michael Fareri has been requesting information about North Castle’s stockpiling of road millings by the Highway Department at different locations in environmentally sensitive areas of the Town’s three hamlets of Armonk, North White Plains and Banksville.

On January 27, Alan Singer, Fareri’s Lawyer, sent a letter to Supervisor Michael Schiliro with the intent to proceed with litigation against the Town of North Castle, members of the Town Board, and certain, yet not named, Town employees, who he says are responsible for illegal activity.

The letter says the Town’s stockpiling of environmental hazardous millings across the street from Fareri’s building at 333 Main Street poses environmental threats and negatively affect Fareri’s property value.

Fareri estimates there are about 6,000 cubic feet of pilings with no siltation, no water quality protection, no air pollution protection and is an eyesore.

Town Administrator Joan Goldberg said at the January 27 Town Board meeting that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was consulted about the asphalt millings (RAP) storage at North Castle’s highway yard. She said, “There is no environmental hazard.”

Then at the February 10 Town Board meeting, Goldberg said, “The Town engineers reviewed the pilings, as did the NYSDEC. All we were required to do is to protect the catch basins within the highway yard and that has been done.”

Singer’s letter continued to say that it is his understanding that this is in violation of the Environmental Conservation Law which was undertaken without the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) review, and without permit or approval.

Goldberg stated that if the land had been vacant and then was used as a highway yard, the SEQR rules would apply, but the highway yard predates SEQR.

“There’s a difference between processing and storing the millings,” said Goldberg. “We store them for future use by the Highway Department for patching and shoring up road base. Storing leaves that are an organic matter, require a permit, but storing RAP does not require a permit,” she concluded.

Fareri says the property, which was the roadway built by Westwood Recycling, is where the millings are stockpiled and that location was never intended for storage.

Town Attorney Roland Baroni said the pilings are not on the driveway anymore.

“I believe that a SEQR process is needed,” said Fareri. “I don’t want to see taxpayers’ money used to defend a lawsuit that I don’t want to bring against the Town. I don’t want to sue the Town, but you leave me no options because the change of use of the land requires a SEQR process to hear the potential problems or concerns that neighbors may have because of what the municipality is doing.

“In the event that you don’t move the millings to a different part of the highway garage where it is not visible, and you have siltation protection and no possible contamination of storm water, I will follow NYS law and you will have to hire an attorney,” said Fareri.

“Why do we have to spend money on legal bills?” asked Schiliro.

“If I do an Article 78, someone has to defend that lawsuit,” responded Fareri.

“Who’s initiating it?” asked Schiliro.

“I would be initiating it,” said Fareri.

“You are saying, we are forced to spend money on legal bills,” said Schiliro, “because you are initiating something that you have been told several times is a non-issue. So it’s your choice. You are saying to the taxpayers of the Town, I am going to bring another legal action and I want taxpayers to spend money.”

“I believe the Town administrator’s decision is improper. Wouldn’t you rather spend the money to move the millings rather than to fight a lawsuit?” Fareri asked.

This is similar to what has happened to Westwood Recycling at the same location, he added. “That was also impacting me and it took me six months to get Westwood shut down and the property cleaned.”

“This is nothing like Westwood,” said Schiliro.

The Town had entered a 10-year contract with Westwood to use the North Castle Highway Yard in Armonk as an organic recycling facility. Westwood did some excavation work at the highway site, which included building a roadway leading into the highway yard from Route 128/Main Street. The estimated cost of that work was $600,000.

The Westwood work was done without a SEQR process. To avoid litigation, the Town Board signed a settlement agreement by paying Westwood Recycling $475,000, of which the Town’s insurance carrier paid $150,000.

“The Town has violated the law,” wrote Fareri in an email to Schiliro on February 14. “The Town did the same thing in Westwood. Unless the Town follows the law regarding SEQRA willingly, or removes the potential impacts, you leave me no choice.

“Can you imagine if it is found that the Town Administrator made a mistake and the law was violated and environmental impacts exist and the Town Board, after being made aware of it, did nothing about it? Seems like a bad decision on your part. Who made this decision? The Town Administrator, who according to her resume, has no knowledge of this subject. If I were on the Town Board, I would take all precautions to see that no negative impacts exist and also to be crystal clear that no laws have been broken.”

Comments


Dear Supervisor Michael Schiliro,

September 2, 2015
In your most recent correspondence, you mentioned you would answer several questions regarding the asphalt millings that are piled at the North Castle’s Highway Department on Bedford Road.

Much of the correspondence addressed to the Town about the asphalt stored on Town property from Michael Fareri, the owner of 333 Main Street: Fareri’s lawyer, Darius Chafizadeh of Harris Beach; and Bob Green, former Planning Board Chairman have been brought to my attention. I also understand that the owner of 355 Main Street, a neighbor of the Highway Department, has written a letter of displeasure. The concerns mentioned in these letters are aesthetics, health issues, and proper protocol to store the asphalt material.

As far as I know, you have not addressed any of the concerns or questions regarding the stockpile. You did mention that the Highway Department has been stockpiling asphalt and reusing the product for years.

Is it possible for you to address this matter at the Town Board’s next meeting on September 9?

Some of the questions that remain unanswered are as follows:

What is the intentional use of the asphalt millings or grindings (RAP) that are stored on Town property?

What is the proper procedure to stockpile or relocate the asphalt millings? Does storing this material require an Environmental Impact Assessment (SEQR) or a permit?

I'm sure you are familiar with reports that outline potential health hazards of storing RAP. Have the potential health issues of possible contamination of soil and water been considered by the storage of material at the Bedford Highway Department location and at the Middle Patent Highway Yard?

Has the asphalt pile seen in early July at the Middle Patent highway location been removed?

You confirmed that some of the asphalt from the Highway Department was recently moved and delivered to private property on Banksville Avenue. This was done just as a private citizen can request from the Town woodchips for private use, correct?


Did North Castle’s Highway Department remove parts of the Town’s old roads and store it on Town property to save money on the overall road improvement project?


Have any savings been realized and intended to be captured by reusing this material for the Town's recently allocated $2.2 million road repair? If so, how much and how so? If not, were there any other considerations for saving money by reusing, selling or donating the RAP product?

Why didn't the outsourced contractor that was hired to work on the roads take the asphalt to a proper storage facility when it was dug up?

Are there any intentions to move the remaining millings from the Highway Department? If so, could you please explain those plans?

Here’s a link to an article that was published on allaboutarmonk.com on July 4 when this matter first came to my attention: http://allaboutarmonk.com/transportation/highwaydept.html


Respectively yours,


Michelle Boyle, Publisher
allaboutarmonk.com

North Castle Highway Department
Fareri Alarmed by Stockpiling Road Material  

July 4, 2015
The material from the demolition of asphalt pavement is commonly used as a source of recycled material in the construction of new road pavement. The economical and environmental impacts to repave North Castle’s roads with recycled materials has resulted in an unexpected cause-and-effect action.  

Developer Michael Fareri said he is alarmed by the irresponsible actions undertaken to stockpile asphalt milling on Town property at the Highway Department’s yards on both Bedford Road and Middle Patent Road. “Not only is this aesthetically unpleasing where located, the stockpiling of asphalt millings has the potential to pose human health and environmental concerns,” he said in a letter written to the North Castle Town Board on July 2.

Asphalt millings or grindings (RAP) as fine particles are stockpiled at both North Castle Highway Department yards.

Fareri owns an office building at 333 Main Street, across from the Highway Department’s yard that is behind Town Hall. He was a major force who drove the Westwood Recycling facility in 2011 from the Highway Department yard, which cost the Town nearly $500,000. Aesthetics does not play as an important role at the Highway Department’s Middle Patent Road yard since it is tucked away from the road. But both locations are known as environmentally sensitive since they are located near wetlands.

Town Administrator Joan Goldberg said, “Road millings, which is what you see piled up in the highway yard, result from grinding down and removing deteriorated material from the roadway. These millings are used by our highway department throughout the year for patching [potholes]. For example, many tons were used at the North Castle Pool parking lot and at the Community Park lot [in Business Park Drive]. This saves the Town money, as if we didn’t have this material, we would actually have to go out and purchase it.”

The asphalt milling is also used as sub-base material beneath a paved road surface. Recycling materials for road construction also saves tax dollars in hauling costs.

The Town is currently undergoing $1.2 million worth of road repair. Goldberg added, “As we are aggressively addressing the road conditions, we will have too many millings for us to use in a typical year. However, they are prohibitively expensive to have trucked away. In order to dispose of them, we would have to pay the trucking company per mile to take them away, as well as the disposal fee. This expense would then limit the actual road work that we could afford to do. I would never want to tell residents that we had to remove their road from the list because we had to dispose of material which we would then have to re-purchase at a later date.”   
 
There are public health concerns regarding the use of RAP and the bitumen binder that is used in paving applications. Achieving a good blend is critical to eliminate health hazards. The optimal blend of RAP and virgin aggregate is roughly 50-50 ratio. This ratio also requires less maintenance needs. Since the asphalt is aged, heavy metal contents--such as lead--which are a result of vehicle traffic and emissions, are minimal because they tend to evaporate over time when spilled on the roadway, if present at all.

But there are also environmental concerns about RAP stockpiles that are reported by Timothy Townsend’s “Leaching Characteristics of Asphalt Road Waste” in 1998. When rainfall infiltrates the RAP stockpiles, he said, “the major concern is that leachate produced could be potentially contaminated with trace amounts of hazardous chemicals” of organic chemical or heavy metals.

Furthermore, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said in its 2013 “Recycled Asphalt Pavement and Asphalt Millings Reuse Guidance,” that the very small particles of RAP that easily blow off or wash from the surface could “possibly contaminate surrounding soil and/or surface water sediments.”

Fareri has demanded that these millings be removed from Town property immediately. “If they are not removed immediately,” he said, “I will take whatever legal action necessary to see that it is done while holding this Town Board, the Highway Department and the Town Administrator responsible and accountable.”

“General Foreman Jamie Norris is actively pursuing disposal opportunities for any excess millings,” said Goldberg. “On occasion, other entities have a need for millings. By using our labor staff to deliver them, we save on both the trucking and the disposal cost.”   

On July 22, Goldberg and Norris will request the Town Board’s permission to complete another $1 million of road work in the fall. “This will increase the amount of millings on hand,” said Goldberg. “We are trying to significantly reduce the pile before embarking on the additional road work. It’s actually a good problem to have, because it means our Town is working hard at fixing the roads, which continues to be our number one complaint by the residents.”

Tripp Lane
Road Repair Begins  

June 30, 2015
The Town of North Castle has begun the much-needed road repair that has been budgeted for $1.2 million in the 2015 budget. The condition of the 92.2 miles of the Town’s maintained roads are deteriorating and need various degrees of maintenance.

On Monday June 29, the North Castle Highway Department flagged traffic for the contractor as work began on the structural improvements to patch, grind and mill Tripp Lane. Bilotta Construction will repave Tripp Lane. The road, that leads into Byram Hills High School, received a 50 Pavement Condition Index (PCI) in 2013 when VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscape Architecture performed a pavement management study of North Castle’s Town-maintained roads.

The pavement conditions of the Town’s streets were inspected and evaluated by VHB in 2012. VHB rated the streets in the management study that determined functional classifications of the roadways with a rating from zero to 100. A zero rating is an impassable condition and 100 PCI is in perfect condition. The roads are categorized by their condition and the ratings help determine what type of road work is needed.

The 2013 VHB suggested treatment and costs, the summary of the conditions, and the percentage of the overall 92.2 miles of Town’s roads is as follows:

Base Rehabilitation (43%) $10,978,000,
Structural Improvement (51%) $13,270,000,
Preventive Maintenance (6%)  $1,469,000,
Routine Maintenance (1%) $69,000.
 
Town Administrator Joan Goldberg said the next scheduled streets to be milled and then to receive two inches of pavement are Creemer Road (56 PCI), Green Valley Road (63 PCI), School Street (50 PCI), and Whippoorwill Road (about 54 PCI).

Woodcrest Drive (44 PCI) and Crest Court (57 PCI) are to undergo a reclamation and reconstruction that will remove and replace the pavement to the base, and then rebuild the roads. Byram Lake Road and Middle Patent Road will receive a PolySeal smooth coating over their chip seal layered surfaces.  

North Castle’s Budget and Finance Advisory Committee has advised the Town Board on budgeting adequate funds for the long-term road pavement strategies based upon several scenarios of budget analysis and borrowing. The Committee’s goal is to bring the Town’s streets up from an updated 69 PCI to 80 PCI in the shortest period possible.

Goldberg said the Town Board has planned a work session on July 22 to address the road maintenance program and to discuss the budget for the multi-million-dollar project. At the work session, Goldberg said the Town Board will consider another $1 million for additional roadwork to be scheduled for this year to be allocated from the General Fund Balance.