The Former Texaco Beacon Research Facility Community Advisory Panel met virtually on November 12, 2020 via the Zoom platform.
Ed Meyer and Mark Hendrickson delivered the environmental update, including Chevron’s continued progress in moving through the regulatory process. They briefed the group on the results of the Remedial Investigation Report (RIR), which culminated in over 3,000 pages of data and analysis over many years on the extent of site impacts. For example, soil impacts are well-defined and generally shallow, and groundwater impacts are decreasing over time and not migrating offsite. The report found no indication of potential adverse effects on to Fishkill Creek. The next step is the Feasibility Study, which will outline potential remedial alternatives for the site.
Dave Fitzgerald delivered the real estate update, which included a discussion on Chevron’s continued intentions to sell the site to a responsible party or parties who would be able to concurrently undertake the remediation along with the redevelopment. As with a prior CAP meeting, the Chevron team reiterated that any entity conducting environmental response activities at the site would be subject to the same New York Department of Environmental Conservation rules, regulations, and agency approvals that Chevron is currently responsible to meet. The Chevron team also discussed the types of financial assurances that would need to be in place with any buyer to ensure their ability to undertake remediation.
Some community members commented that if Chevron sold the project as separate lots, each lot would need a separate rezoning application, and Chevron would be facilitating serial rezoning of the property, which is not allowed by land use laws. Chevron does not believe this statement is true. We are not sure whether any of the future buyers will need to seek rezoning applications for the properties that they purchase. It is just as likely that some or all buyers will utilize the property as currently zoned. Chevron will not be seeking any application to rezone any part of the property.
There was a discussion on the county’s current plans for realignment of the bridge. The Chevron team discussed interactions with the county to facilitate the project. In response to a question, the team reiterated that Chevron has no intentions to build a new bridge through the site. While that could have been a consideration when the company was contemplating major development projects across the country, Chevron is no longer in the business of redevelopment. We also discussed that the bridge building and realignment activity is currently in process and that a new bridge will likely be built by the county before any third-party buyer gets involved with the project.
One community member asked if Chevron would gift the back 93 acres to the community. While a donation would not be workable, the Chevron team expressed a willingness to work with community members, local government, and potential stakeholders in the conservation community if there is an interest in having an outside organization purchase the 93 acres of land for conservation.
Chevron committed to continued monthly email communications, and discussed the potential for a future Zoom meeting, depending on the pandemic. The meeting was adjourned.
The meeting slides are available here.