YORKTOWN, N.Y. - The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in a letter sent to the Roma Building owners last Tuesday, said it will take matters into its own hands if the property is not cleaned up in a timely manner.
The parking lot of the Roma Building, located at the intersection of routes 118/202/35, has been in disrepair since 2014, when a gas leak was discovered at the Citgo station. The gas tanks had to be removed, resulting in the creation of two large holes, 35 and 45 feet wide. Each hole is about 20 feet long and 4 feet deep.
In the letter, environmental engineer R. Daniel Bendell said "adequate work has not been completed" to date. He demanded that either 1331 Metro Holdings Corp, which owns the Roma Building, or Ron Guarino, owner of the Citgo gas station, submit a plan to clean-up the spill by July 7.
"Failure to comply with the above required work may cause the DEC to hire a contractor to complete the work," Bendell wrote. He added that the DEC would then take legal action to seek reimbursement.
Additionally, last Thursday, Jason Zeif, the town's code enforcement officer, served 1331 Metro Holdings Corp with 10 appearance tickets citing violations of the Town Code as well as the New York State Uniform Building Code. The town will seek criminal penalties as well as an order of abatement of the Roma Building conditions, said Town Attorney Mike McDermott. The landlord is required to appear in Yorktown Justice Court on July 5 to answer the tickets, McDermott said.
Earlier this month, the town of Yorktown filed a lawsuit against 1331 Metro Holdings Corp seeking the immediate remediation of the "deplorable" Roma Building parking lot conditions. New York State, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Westchester County and the Westchester Department of Health were also named defendants.
In the lawsuit, McDermott argues that leaving the two large holes uncovered for years has caused an “immediate danger to the public, including but not limited to, the existence of stagnant water, which is a breeding ground for many insects, including mosquitoes, which can transmit diseases.”