Why we need to save the “Graniteville Swamp” and stop the proposed construction project

We the residents of the area surrounding the Graniteville Swamp and Forest, affected by  the proposed construction of a BJs store and gasoline station oppose this plan for the following reasons:

Flooding: The Graniteville Swamp is of great benefit to the surrounding area. Swamps and salt marshes absorb a great deal of water during storms or hurricanes. This was evidenced when Super Storm Sandy hit Staten Island. Many areas on our Island were
flooded, homes were destroyed and people died. Our Graniteville swamp protected us by absorbing the storms rising waters. We were not harmed by flooding. The forest adjacent to the swamp also absorbs water, provides cooler temperatures for the surrounding areas and absorbs carbon dioxide emissions from passing cars. Without this swamp and forest, Graniteville will see some very troubling times.

Flood insurance: If the community loses the Swamp, residents will be forced to buy flood insurance for our homes at great cost. Renters will have to buy interior flood insurance to protect their personal belongings and the two condominium communities, Regal Walk and City West will be in danger of bankruptcy due to the necessary purchase of flood insurance for their Condominium Associations. In addition, our zoning will be changed from Zone B to Zone A. In the event of a storm or hurricane we may be forced to evacuate, with the possibility of loss of our personal belongings and/or pets.

Traffic: If this construction proposal is approved, the already congested traffic situation along South Avenue, Lisk Avenue and Forest Avenue will be significantly increased. This will make it difficult if not dangerous to enter or exit the main streets to or from our local streets, especially during peak hours. The increased traffic and changed traffic patterns will render South Avenue unfriendly and unsafe to walk or drive. It is already dangerous to exit Regal Walk and City West by car onto the main streets. And it will be even more dangerous for school children and the elderly to navigate these streets on foot. BJs is proposing 838 at grade parking spaces on the filled in swamp. This number give us an idea of the increased congestion on our streets on a regular day. And we can probably expect even more congestion during the periods of major holidays.

Health Effects: With increased automotive congestion, we can expect increased CO2 pollution, especially since more than 1,700 trees will be cut down. Without the forest to absorb the CO2, we may be looking at increased incidence of respiratory illness, cancer and other illnesses.Currently, this area, Graniteville, has substantial fuel contaminants in the air from other sources, the refinery across the river, from Newark Airport as well as from the Staten Island Expressway. Why is it that these proposals, that impact our health, come so frequently to the North Shore? Is it environmental racism? Is it environmental classism? Or is it the assumption that the people of the North Shore will not protest?

Noise: This area already has plenty of noise coming from Newark Airport and from the Staten Island Expressway. Now add to this existing condition, the noise from large tractor trailer trucks making deliveries late at night. With all of the reasons mentioned above, what will happen to our property values?

Environmental concerns: With the addition of a second gas station with its attendant supply pipes and the danger of spills and leaks, the ground water in this area will be contaminated. A salt marsh is one of the most productive pieces of land on earth. That is where fish spawn, where birds nest and where diversity of the natural world thrives. It is an eco-system that lives in total balance. Without human interference, it is self-sustaining and needs nothing added or subtracted. With human intervention (construction, gas spills or leaks) this eco-system cannot exist and we will lose all of its benefits of a salt marsh when it is destroyed.

Where will the animals go? Many don’t realize that there are animals in the wetlands, in the Graniteville Swamp. We in Regal Walk and City West already know the possums, skunks, raccoons, doves and many other species of birds and the occasional deer that visit our community. With the destruction of their habitat, we will see more of them around our homes. Raccoons and deer will be driven out of the forest by the construction. Will they become a traffic hazard? Will they become a health hazard to our residents and pets? Why do they not have a right to be? Why must they loose their habitats for the sake of profits that will not even remain in our neighborhoods?

Of what benefit is this to us? What do the residents of Graniteville have to gain by the loss of one of the only open and green spaces in our area? Why is it that we who are poor, working class, struggling middle class and/or of color have to absorb all that is not
wanted elsewhere? We do not have to accept this as a done deal!

For more information about the proposed project and future events contact us at SICWF2017@gmail.com

Plan To Turn Staten Island Wetlands Into BJ’s Wholesale Club Moves Forward

Over the objections of residents and public officials, the state said it will issue a permit that will allow a developer to destroy 18 acres of wetlands forest near the north shore of Staten Island in order to build a BJ’s Wholesale Club and a gas station, as well as lay enough asphalt to park 835 cars.
Written by Alexis Sottile. Read more from the article: https://bit.ly/39yh4GJ.

State DEC approves BJ’s development permit, paving way for site’s construction

City Comptroller Scott Stringer expressed disappointment in DEC’s decision. “The Graniteville wetlands are a miracle, and they spared a community the worst of Sandy. I am deeply disappointed that DEC chose to ignore calls from Staten Islanders and allow a precious natural resource to be paved over in the name of development,” Stringer said. 

Written by Sydney Kashiwagi. Read more from the article: https://bit.ly/39yh4GJ

Encroaching development threatens a crucial Staten Island wetlands

Situated between the neighborhoods of Old Place and Graniteville, this 42-acre woodlands has been growing in isolation for many decades, inside a triangle of land surrounded by strip malls and chain stores. Thousands of mature trees live here, some soaring 100 feet over the adjoining marshes of the Graniteville Swamp. Soon, more than half of this forest may be bulldozed to make way for a 28-acre development that will include a gas station, 838 parking spaces, and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Written by Nathan Kensinger. Read more from the article: https://bit.ly/2WZ1VZS.

Vital Staten Island Wetlands About To Get A BJ’s Wholesale Club

In this northwest corner of the Forgotten Borough, Velardi-Ward is one of dozens of Staten Islanders who have been waging a battle largely outside of the wider city spotlight, a stand against City Hall that they feel is a matter of life and death for the people who live in this part of the city.

Written by Alexis Sottile. Read more from the article: https://bit.ly/3g6IR3o.

Activists Still Hoping to Derail Plan to Develop on Staten Island Wetland

During Superstorm Sandy, low-lying areas like Canarsie, Red Hook and Midland Beach were among the worst hit but some neighborhoods escaped with the help of their local wetlands, which serve as a natural defense against storm surges. In the northwest corner of Staten Island some residents have been fighting to preserve their wetland site from an impending development sanctioned by City Council in 2017.

Written by Avery Miles. Read more from the article: https://bit.ly/2X3qqoT.

Still time to save the Graniteville wetlands and our homes: Commentary

Without the natural buffer of the Graniteville wetlands, homes will be at risk during the next big storm. There is no doubt that waters will rise and flood our community. If, as a result, FEMA redraws the flood plain maps, residents are forced to get flood insurance that currently isn’t required, homes will suddenly be unaffordable for many neighborhood residents.

Written by Ed Szczepanski and Paula Segal. Read more from the article: https://bit.ly/305gE7O.

“It’s Not Over” Flyering Graniteville Staten Island

By The Environment TV.

“It’s Not Over”, street and door-to-door flyering, continues for Graniteville, Staten Island residents to protest the destruction of 15+ acres of wetlands and forests to make way for a new BJs and other stores along South Ave and Forest Ave. The Coalition for Wetlands and Forests is concerned about more destructive flooding from Hurricane Sandy type storms, increases in and forced flood insurance, loss of homes and property and all the effects that come with overcrowding.