Sometime in the next couple of months, a crew contracted by the Town of Irondequoit will knock down two adjoining houses on Timrod Drive. The lots will be cleared and seeded with grass, creating a small green space.
The town took ownership of the houses approximately two years ago as part of a legal settlement. The houses border a former City of Rochester landfill, which Irondequoit also used at one time. The homeowners sued the city and town after landfill gases were found to be seeping into their homes.
The houses are now vacant and have become eyesores, says Irondequoit Supervisor Adam Bello. The town was supposed to tear them down soon after purchase, Bello says, but for whatever reason, that didn't happen.
The town will mow and maintain the properties, he says, but doesn't plan to turn them into a formal park. Officials have notified neighborhood residents of the demolition plans, Bello says, and are confident that the property is safe.
The town discovered the contamination in 2009, when it was doing testing related to the proposed Lighthouse Pointe mixed-use project. Developers wanted to clean up the former landfill property and build on it, and they wanted the State Department of Environmental Conservation to admit the site into New York's brownfields program. But the DEC rejected the request.
Town officials, who also wanted the landfill site included in the brownfields program, saw the testing as a way to support the developers' case, according to a 2009 fact sheet. In the two homes tested, they detected volatile organic compounds in basement air samples and methane under, but not in, the foundations.
Ultimately, a judge ordered the state to admit the site into the brownfields program, but the Lighthouse Pointe project is now dormant.