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State Will Not Commandeer South Nyack Homes for New Bridge

In a swift change of plans, state officials say no homes will be taken; some residents livid

MAY 5, 2012

NYACK, NY — Originally, it was going to be six homes—a handful of South Nyack residents living near the South Broadway overpass would lose their houses to a new Tappan Zee Bridge.

The state would procure the properties, and the residents would start searching for new abodes.

But not anymore.

New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) and Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) officials announced Friday that the Tappan Zee Bridge project—which could cost taxpayers as much as $16 billion, and has yet to be finalized—would not commandeer any local homes.

"As we continue planning this groundbreaking project, we have made it a top priority to hear from members of the community and respond to their concerns," added Tom Madison, the executive director of NYSTA.

It's a decision that has local lawmakers content.

"I am pleased that the state listened to our concerns and was able to help preserve our historic community," said Patricia DuBow, South Nyack's mayor. "I now look forward to working with the state to ensure that during the construction phase of the Tappan Zee Bridge we can minimize the impacts of construction such as noise and emissions." 

Still, DuBow said Friday's announcement "came as a surprise."

The change is possible because a new design moves construction east of the South Broadway overpass by reducing the depth of the new bridge and aligning the landing "more easily with the existing highway," officials said.

Some of the affected homeowners are not pleased, however—they're downright livid.

"This is an absolute betrayal on the part of local officials," said Faith Elliot, who lives on Smith Avenue. "It's a grotesque web of deception from the New York State Thruway Authority."

Elliot said she was glad in the long run that her home would have been taken—she wouldn't have to "live in a war zone for seven years."

"I know it's going to be unlivable," she added.

John Cameron, who lives in a South Broadway home that was also slated to be taken, agrees with Elliot.

"We were relieved that they were going to be taking our property," he said.

Elliot noted she has turned her life upside down over the past six months preparing to move. And now, all the headaches were for nought, she said.

DuBow acknowledged that the affected homeowners are in a difficult situation.

"It's hard—you're jacked around and you don't know which way it's going."

Michael Anderson, the bridge's project manager with the NYSDOT, was not available for comment.

According to the project's documentation, the six homes that would have been swept off the map were:

  • 21 Cornelison Avenue (Two-family home)
  • 78 Smith Avenue
  • 306 South Broadway
  • 317 South Broadway
  • 319 South Broadway
  • 321 South Broadway

Two of the homes are listed as historic; further, a garage structure and two green spaces would have been eliminated, too.

Michael Zaretsky May 25, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I feel badly for those folks not loosening their homes as they are still so close to the construction that the next few years will be hell for them
Scotty May 25, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Oh....and we should trust them with this decision ? Not me....moving away from this area as soon as possible. They will just change positions as the wind blows. tell us one thing and do another. Cannot live near the river and where the new bridge is being considered and be at ease...they will build this bridge one way or another and not care one iota about residents...unless one of the decision people live in this area...which we know they don't.
stephany May 25, 2012 at 05:33 PM
in today's market I would be livid too. they would have gotten top dollar for their homes with no real estate commission to pay out or any headaches at all. the move would most likely have been paid for probably a little cash thrown in for good measure love love love it.houses are cheap now and as we all know it is a buyers market so while they get top dollar + they will buy at nothing close to that or maybe move to the over 55 golf course resort in orangetown if they qualify. Look out for a little too much lividness in an attempt to get "paid" with our tax dollars for their inconvenience or better yet get their house bought. Of course the best option might have been to have this never come up, but I suspect, and it is just a suspicion some were very glad to be offered the original sweetheart deal
Barbara Rands Valente May 25, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I know one family the was to loose their home and the "price" they would have been paid was not even close to what the selling price might have been if they sold it out right. They were worried that with that was being talked about they would no be able to by another home in Nyack. From what I understand... It was never gonna be a payday for these folks.
stephany May 25, 2012 at 06:33 PM
if that is true it is what lawsuits,with local juries not local judges were made for. were moving expenses being paid for,no RE agent required, maybe they deducted that amount from the offer they made. I would like to see confirmation that they were offered less than they could sell it for, Who assessed the value of the homes and how will the new route affect the future value. never said windfall-sweet deal is not the same
S. Broadway May 25, 2012 at 06:37 PM
I'm dismayed that the mayor is so "pleased" with this development when she full well knows that this goes against the wishes of the majority of the property owners implicated. Barbara is right...it was hardly going to be a payday for anyone, but it would have been a chance to relocate out of an unsellable home.
Mark P May 25, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Any public input in this whole process has been pretty much just a p.r. sham. The decisions are made by the Thruway Authority, probably in consultation with the construction interests, away from and before any public awareness. Witness: no public transit option; no bicycle lane. Witness: current bridge roadway being replaced with the most expensive and durable option, concrete sections, even as pilings are being driven for the new bridge.The interests of the residents are likely the last concern on their list, and only for p.r. purposes.
E. Loughran May 27, 2012 at 06:27 AM
This entire project is completely unnecessary. The money to pay for it will come from local taxpayers, and hugely increased tolls. Continue to maintain the current bridge, and build a tunnel from the Palisades/287 across to the 87/287 split, for all the truck traffic and cars going through to Westchester, and beyond. Leave the Rivertowns and the Hudson ALONE! We are not the TA's cash cow!
Dennis May 27, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Mayor DuBow has advocated strongly on behalf of her residents and comments from Faith Elliot unnecessary and unfair. Dennis Hardy-Former Mayor-Village of Piermont
S. Broadway May 27, 2012 at 02:31 PM
I strongly disagree.
Mike May 27, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Why don't you step up and buy her home if it's not such a bad deal? Sounds like you believe mayor will protect your new investment
willina May 29, 2012 at 03:19 PM
I'm glad it says "former mayor"--your comment shows your lack of understanding of the homeowners and residents involved here.

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