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Demolished Yorktown Buildings Raise Environmental Concerns

MOHEGAN LAKE, N.Y. – Town Board member Vishnu Patel continues to raise concerns over lingering environmental effects caused by the demolition of 14 vacant buildings at the former Holland Sporting Club on Horton Road in Yorktown.

Patel has been visiting the site and digging through wood chip piles left to cover up the demolition. At Tuesday night’s Town Board work session, Patel called his findings an “environmental disaster,” citing possibly buried oil tanks, which drew scrutiny from fellow council members.

“Don’t sit up here and say there’s oil tanks in the ground and it’s an environmental disaster going on, when you were just told that by someone, when there’s proof that they were removed,” said Council member Terrence Murphy. “Saying that it’s an environmental disaster is very disingenuous.”

Patel also met Wednesday night with Yorktown’s Conservation Advisory Board to set up a Monday morning site visit. Board members were concerned that lead paint left on wood could run off into nearby Mohegan Lake.

The work was carried out in-house by Yorktown’s Highway Department. Highway Superintendent Eric DiBartolo and his crew were allowed to complete the project without any environmental review or input from the Conservation Board.

Over a five-day period last month, highway workers filled 49 trash bins with 304 tons of debris on the 14-acre site, which overlooks Mohegan Lake. The cost to Yorktown was $29,748, which was well below original estimates from outside contractors of $90,000.

“The people up there are very happy with us getting the nuisance done. That’s what they asked for; that’s what they came to this town board for,” Murphy said. “Kids were at the buildings drinking, smoking, having sex and getting in trouble. We took it all away from them.”

As far as Town Supervisor Michael Grace is concerned, the job is done the town’s focus should now be what it wants to do with the property.

“I am so glad it’s gotten the attention the property deserved now, because it’s been sitting dormant for about 20 years,” Grace said. “Now it’s on the front-burner. Take a look at it, decide what you want to do with it, and start to move ahead.”

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