BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Neighbors have been complaining about noise and ground shaking near Gershow Recycling on Hubbard Avenue.
Residents of the Riverhaven manufactured home park on Hubbard Avenue say noise from the adjacent Gershow Recycling business is shaking their homes.
Seeking some peace, residents there met with Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy last Thursday in the meeting room of Riverwoods mobile home park in Riverside to voice their complaints. (Both parks are owned by Kingsley Management Corp. of Utah.)
“The ground vibrates over there,” said John Peck, who manages both parks. “I know it does because I was standing out there and I felt it. It was like an earthquake. It’s shaking the homes off their foundations. It’s actually causing things to fall off their walls. It’s not right. These people were here first.”
“I hear that big bang constantly,” said Richard Weiss, who lives on First Street in the park. “I live in a new home, it’s five years old, and it shakes the house.”
An attorney for Gershow said the company is aware of the complaints and is taking steps to address the noise problems.
Gershow Recycling, which is based in Medford and has a number of sites on Long Island, bought the former Fred J. Gallo Used Auto Parts site on Hubbard Avenue in 2012 to continue to operate an “end of life vehicle recycling facility,” as Gershow termed it on a state Department of Environmental Conservation application.
But nearby residents say there was never any noise when Gallo owned the site, whereas, since Gershow has taken over, they now hear loud booming sounds all the time.
In August 2012, the Riverhead Town planning department determined that Gershow’s plan to take over the Gallo site was “de minimus,” meaning it did not require a site plan application or a site plan amendment from the Planning Board.
The state DEC required Gershow to get a freshwater wetland permit, build a retaining wall and regrade the site to prevent rainwater runoff from going into Saw Mill Creek.
Peter Danowski, a Gershow attorney, said in an interview Tuesday that Gershow has already taken a step toward reducing the noise. The company had been using a crane with metal treads, which made a lot of noise on the concrete ground, and has just spend $367,000 for a new crane with rubber treads, Mr. Danowski said.
Greshow also plans to place metal containers along the property line to buffer the noise, Mr. Danowski said. If the containers don’t work, the company will try other solutions until it finds something that does work, he assured.
“We start with a couple of containers near a neighbor, and then talk to that neighbor and see if stopped the noise,” Mr. Danowski said.
Mr. Dunleavy told the Riverhaven residents that as long as Gershow is following town code, “there’s nothing we can do about this,” other than trying to level with them and have both sides agree to be good neighbors.
Recently released campaign finance disclosure filings show that both Mr. Dunleavy and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio received campaign contributions from Gershow’s owners.
Mr. Dunleavy said he plans to work with Gershow to resolve the noise problem for residents.
Gershow has received complaints about noise and shaking from neighbors of its Medford location as well, according to news reports from over 30 years ago.
In the late 1980s, residents near a Gershow facility in Medford said it caused their homes to shake, created noxious fumes and periodically “exploded” with a sound resembling an airplane crash, according to a Newsday article at the time.
Gershow later reached an out-of-court settlement with those residents, who had gone to state Supreme Court to stop the operation.