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