By Paul Bisceglio
South Bronx residents and community groups filed a lawsuit last Wednesday to halt online grocery delivery service FreshDirect’s relocation from Queens to a new 500,000 square-foot facility in the Harlem River Yards. The residents argued that the city failed to account for the new facility’s adverse environmental effects, the consequence of what residents claim will be the grocery deliverers’ nearly 2,000 daily truck trips.
In February, the announcement of FreshDirect’s move won the praise of city and state officials, who were happy they did not lose the company to New Jersey, according to the New York Times. Locals in the proposed construction area, however, were unwilling to add to neighborhood’s already high levels of noise, pollution and asthma.
The lawsuit was filed in the State Supreme Court in the Bronx. Its defendants include the New York City Industrial Development Agency, FreshDirect and Harlem River Yard Ventures, the Times reports.
FreshDirect contended that the residents’ delivery truck figures were grossly exaggerated. “FreshDirect has 225 trucks and does not come close to making 2,000 trips per day,” a representative told New York Press.
The grocery delivery service also issued the following statement: “Contrary to the assertions made in the recent lawsuit, a thorough environmental impact review commissioned by FreshDirect was already conducted. It showed the new facility will generate far fewer truck trips and result in less traffic when compared to the 1993 approved uses of the Harlem River Yard.”
The lawsuit, however, aims to annul a declaration by the Industrial Development Agency that affirmed FreshDirect’s negligible environmental impact. If the suit succeeds, FreshDirect would be forced to reevaluate its effects on the environment.
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