Barry Avenue project causes stir


Barry Avenue is undergoing construction that has raised concerns with some residents, who are worried the project went forward without a stormwater pollution protection plan. According to Village Manager Richard Slingerland, the village does have a protection plan in place. File photo

With the drainage improvement project on Barry Avenue and Boston Post Road underway in the Village of Mamaroneck, some residents continue to criticize the village administration for going forward with the project without the stormwater pollution prevention plan they say was required before construction could begin.

The village has put into place a protection plan for the project, dated July 11, but one resident said the plan should have been filed before the start of the project  and, even if the plan is in place, there isn’t any indication that the village’s contractor is following it. According to Village Manager Richard Slingerland, the Barry Avenue project began on July 15. Slingerland also said that the contract was originally awarded in the summer of 2012, but it took as long as 10 months to complete paperwork processes with the state Department of Transportation.

Stuart Tiekert submitted a letter to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to alert them to the status of the village’s construction projects, including the Jefferson Avenue Bridge and F.E. Bellows School projects in addition to Barry Avenue.

“The whole focus today on stormwater controls is on water quality and keeping pollutants out of storm waters,” Tiekert said.

Stormwater pollution prevention plans are required by the federal government during construction projects and aim to prepare for sediment and erosion control. They are required to regulate stormwater runoff on all construction sites exceeding one acre.

In his letter, Tiekert alleges the Barry Avenue project started last month without the filing of the protection plan or erosion and settlement controls being established. Two weeks after the start of the July project, a protection plan was established, but, according to Tiekert, there is no indication to date if the contractor, WJL Equities, has signed the required certification or is adhering to the protection plan. Village Manager Richard Slingerland said that WJL Equities has signed the master document and must adhere to the protection plan’s regulations.

According to village code, no land development activity that involves a construction site of more than 1,000 square feet can be reviewed or started until a stormwater pollution protection plan has been prepared. The land that will be disturbed on Barry Avenue exceeds that limit at 2,000 square feet and no formal stormwater pollution protection plan was created prior to the start of the project.

Through the duration of the project, the village plans to extend the existing stormwater sewer main from Barry Avenue to the bridge over Guion Creek and will rebuild or replace a number of collapsed catch basins along the section of Boston Post Road that spans the village.

Also included in Tiekert’s letter to the DEC was the Jefferson Avenue project, which will usher in the replacement of a bridge over the Mamaroneck River. Tiekert said there are no sediment or erosion controls in place for that project and, after visiting the Bellows Elementary School project site, which will create two new sports fields, sees no indication that the protection plan and erosion controls are being followed.

Slingerland said provisions were included in original contract documents that Village Engineer Anthony Carr pulled into a protection plan for the Barry Avenue project.

“It’s typical that the [stormwater pollution protection plan] covers site improvements but, because Barry Avenue is so close to [Mamaroneck] Harbor, we wanted to make sure we had a formal plan in place,” Slingerland said.

The village manager said that some residents have raised concerns about runoff going into the harbor and that, because there are two construction sites in the village with contact to the Mamaroneck River, the village is doing everything it can within reason to keep the areas clean of pollutants.

Because of rock deposits that need to be excavated to make way for a drainage pipe, progress of the project has been delayed, according to Slingerland. Night construction with lane closures across Boston Post Road will begin on Aug. 9, after press time. During the day, all lanes will be open for traffic.

Slingerland said that the goal is to be done with the Barry Avenue project before schools are back in session.