Saturday, October 25, 2014

Firm finally hired by Greenland Forest City as On-Site Environmental Monitor, will start six weeks late

Yesterday, Greenland Forest City Partners announced it has finally retained an outside engineering firm, Remedial Engineering, to serve as On-site Environmental Monitor (OEM), starting the first week of November, or six weeks after it was due.

The OEM, which will report to the developer, is supposed to monitor of construction activities to ensure that environmental requirements contained in the Memorandum of Environmental Commitments (MEC) for Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Brooklyn are met.

Note that a 2012 report by an outside consultant concluded that the OEM was understaffed.  Empire State Development (ESD), the state agency overseeing/shepherding Atlantic Yards, in June disclosed that Forest City Ratner has agreed to hire an outside firm--rather than use an employee--to serve as OEM.

That's definitely progress, though the OEM does not report to the public. And we know that construction violations--heck, falsifications--can be covered up.

Remedial hired

According to the notice:
After a Request for Proposals was put out for the position, Remedial Engineering, whose core business is environmental engineering and compliance management, responded and was chosen as the OEM for the project. The firm has a proven track record of providing OEM-related services at high profile projects that require multiple agency coordination and interaction with surrounding communities.
Remedial Engineering, which was created in 1990 to provide engineering services to Roux Associates, shares office space and personnel with Roux but is a separate corporation with separate ownership. While you may know that Roux has been involved in this project from the beginning, as FCRC's owners representative, and specializes in the development of environmental plans to address contamination issues on development sites, Roux does not provide construction monitoring services.
Remedial's initial staffing at the site will include the OEM who will be assisted by two Mitigation Engineers. This number will grow as necessary to accommodate increases in construction activity.
It is anticipated that the OEM will be on-site beginning the first week of November. Until that time, the project will continue to be monitored as it has been since its inception.
Remedial and Roux are located in Islandia, NY. Roux has a web site; Remedial does not. As noted in the notice, Roux has long worked on the project.

September 15 goal

As I wrote 9/30/14, Forest City was required by the Second Amended Memorandum of Environmental Commitments for Atlantic Yards to "use commercially reasonable efforts to retain the engineering firm to serve as the OEM on or before September 15, 2014."

At the 9/4/14 Quality of Life meeting, Forest City acknowledged that timetable would not be met, but executive Ashley Cotton said that the delay would be "very short."

At the end of September, ESD told me the firm would be retained by mid-October. I'm not sure an Oct. 24 announcement precisely counts as mid-October.

ESD also that the "current OEM staffing is appropriate for the level of activity currently on the site and the new OEM will be in place in time for the anticipated increased activities."

As I wrote, Dean Street resident Peter Krashes, who at the earlier meeting had asked about the timetable, suggested the OEM be made available to the community for questions on a regular basis.

"At the end of the day, what the community impacted by construction deserves is transparency in real-time, meaningful recourse like penalties when things go wrong, and oversight during work that is impartial and motivated," he stated.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:33 AM

    Here's the big issue. Neither Ashley Cotton, Marion Phillips, Joe Chan, Ken Adams have any prior experience when it comes to large construction projects. None of them have an engineering, construction, building background or have worked in this field. So, when it comes to the safety of residents, long term community impact these people with fancy titles at ESD are not qualified. How many years does the community have to deal with this type of incompetency from the folks at ESD?