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Con Ed’s Van Nest truck yard a nuisance: neighbors

While the Con-Edison’s Van Nest Service Center at 1610 Matthews Avenue is trying to be a good neighbor to the residential community it borders, some on Van Nest Avenue still say they have been forced due to alter their lives inside their homes due to all night noise coming from the plant.

Patricia Doyle Gallucci, whose home on Van Nest Avenue borders what she said was once an employee parking lot on the Con-Edison property, also said that the utility turned the lot into a what almost resembles a truck depot for ‘flush’ trucks and other large service vehicles.

The home that Doyle shares with her husband has been in her family for over 100 years, and she has been complaining for almost ten years about increased noise coming from the rear of her property, where the Con-Edison plant is located.

“We have these flush trucks behind my kitchen window,” Doyle said. “I started complaining in 2000, and it has gotten progressively worse. This used to be an employee parking lot but, in the past ten years they turned it into a maintenance shop.”

Doyle and her husband Dominick Gallucci were so distressed by the noise of idling trucks and loud crews that they said they were forced to move their bedroom from the rear of their home to the front, and curtail outdoor activities in their side yard. Con-Edison added four large service bays for trucks directly behind their property that weren’t there in the past.

The situation is also very distressing for neighbor Andrew Geelall, who lives a few doors down in a home that he purchased a few years ago. The rear of his property is also directly adjacent to the Con-Ed property, which homes on the even numbered side of Van Nest Avenue between Bronxdale and Matthews avenues overlook from a bluff.

“I have a 21 month old son and we have to constantly deal with trucks idling at 5 a.m. in the morning,” Geelall said. “It has been an issue ever since I’ve lived here.”

The neighbors on the block had reached out first to former Senator Guy Velella, and then to Senator Jeff Klein, who hosted a proactive town-hall style meeting this fall with area residents and Con-Edison representatives that yielded some very positive concessions – including the trimming of trees adjoining some neighboring properties, and the closing of an employee access gate at Matthews and Van Nest avenues causing both noise and the blocking of some driveways.

Con-Edison spokesman Rolando Infante said that the utility will continue to work with the community, and that idling trucks for more than two minutes is against “green” initiatives the utility has in place.

“As a generality, in terms of the workforce at the Van Nest Service Center, they are getting the message regarding loud trucks and idling from our plant managers,” Infante said. “We had a meeting on November 12, and then took on the recommendations of the community.”

Doyle, Gallucci, Geelall as well as neighborhood activist Joe Bombace, all have noticed improvements regarding the Con-Ed plant, but said that there is much more to do.

“Community Board 11 is dealing with Bill White, a representative of Con-Edison, in resolving long-standing issues,” said Bombace, a CB 11 board member who lives on Barnes Avenue. “The main issue is the noise level. If the issues with noise continue, I will ask the board to get involved again.”

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