East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz is seeking to mitigate concerns from residents about asbestos from demolition at 2A Melby Lane.
Addressing apprehension among residents who don’t want the 90-year-old estate, owned by residents Steve and Wendy Shenfield, demolished for fear of asbestos, Koblenz said that it wouldn’t be a danger if handled as the law requires.
“Asbestos doesn’t become a danger until you take it apart,” Koblenz said in a phone interview.
Koblenz cited work on the village park two years ago when asbestos had to be removed and the process was “heavily monitored.”
“State law requires you to have stringent requirements in removing asbestos,” Koblenz said. “You don’t just knock it down and say, ‘Here you go.'”
“As far as the asbestos, I’d venture to say that all the houses in the older sections of the village, if they haven’t been renovated, then they probably have it, too,” Koblenz added.
Koblenz also said that the “Happy House,” as it has been nicknamed, had been subject to numerous hearings and an environmental study after its current owners applied to split the property into four lots and demolish the house.
“The village was trying to preserve the house and basically give him two lots instead of four,” Koblenz said. “That’s been rejected several times, and it’s now with the chair of my Planning Board. We’ve asked people to submit any opposition by writing [on Oct. 4].”
Addressing further claims made by an anonymous resident last week, Koblenz added that residents who lived within 200 feet of the property were informed about the Sept. 24 meeting with “plenty of time” ahead of it.
“If there were anyone who didn’t know about it, I’d be shocked,” Koblenz said.
The next Planning Board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday.