Neighbors wary of fertilizer plant expansion plan

KINDERHOOK– The town Planning Board met on October 8 for a workshop session to review the Carolina Eastern-Vail Inc. expansion plans for the Niverville site. The company, better known as CaroVail Fertilizer, brought site plans to the Planning Board in September and several residents in the hamlet came out to that meeting to voice their concerns about the business expanding.
On Thursday, October 15, the Planning Board met again at its regular monthly session and officially
closed the CaroVail public hearing. The board now has 62 days from the closing of the hearing to make its decision on the CaroVail proposal.

At the October 8 workshop meeting, George Schmitt, from the Hudson office of Morris and Associates
Engineering and Surveying Consultants, addressed a list of issues from residents about the project.
Since it was a workshop meeting, the Planning Board did not take comments from residents though many community members attended the meeting. Mr. Schmitt did take questions and heard
concerns from Planning Board members, some of whom had recently toured the current CaroVail site.
The company is asking the board to review the plan to “demolish the existing building on county Route
28 and build a new 4,880-square-foot building for the purpose of storing and mixing materials used in
the course of their business,” according the public notice published before the September public hearing.The plan also includes work on the access way to the new building and a lot line adjustment between CaroVail and CSX, the company that owns the railroad tracks behind the building. CaroVail takes deliveries from train cars carrying fertilizer materials, mixes the fertilizers in the building and then delivers the requested fertilizer to local farms either in CaroVail trucks or the fertilizer is picked up in trucks and tractors owned by their customers.
“One of the main concerns is dust,” Mr. Schmitt told the board at the October meeting. He said the plans include a curtain around the loading area and trucks can load in the back of the building.
He also said that residents were concerned about light pollution. Mr. Schmitt said he would return with
examples of the lighting at the next regular Planning Board meeting, but he stressed it will be very low intensity lighting.
There was a discussion about noise at the site with the trains, but Mr. Schmitt said that the trains are
operated by CSX and not CaroVail.
“What CSX does on those tracks is not under their control,” he said.
Planning Board Chair Peter Haemmerlein and Town Engineer Pat Prendergast suggested that a letter
from CaroVail, a CSX customer, would convince CSX to not let its locomotives idle and make as much noise as they do now. They also discussed trucks and tractors idling at the building.
In addressing residents’ concerns about the chemicals at the Niverville plant, Mr. Schmitt said, “We do hold chemicals on site.” But he stressed the chemicals are regulated and inspected by the state Department Environmental Conservation (DEC). He said there is no ammonia nitrate at the site. “It is not and hasn’t been for many, many years,” he said of the chemical.
Board member Christian Simonsen asked about drainage at the site, pointing out that if there is spill of the chemicals used in the fertilizer, the building is close to the Valatie Kill.
“Any product that spills on site is swept up,” Mr. Schmitt said. He added that there is a process for any major spills but the company works only with dry materials.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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