There are currently two solid waste transfer stations open along North Bergen's main rail line, on 83rd Street and on 32nd Street, both off West Side Avenue. NYS&W wants to build the third waste transfer site, but the Meadowlands Commission believes that this site will exacerbate the health and safety issues that they say have affected the township since the first two stations were constructed last year.
Because of federal railroad laws, it is difficult to regulate waste transfer done near the railroad tracks, a situation that has caused much headaches among local officials.
On Wednesday morning, Superior Court Judge Thomas Olivieri extended the work stoppage on the new station for three weeks at the request of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission, which is embroiled in a battle with the New York Susquehanna and Western Railway over the building of the stations.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Olivieri ruled that there still wasn't enough information to make a final ruling, and urged both sides to come to some sort of agreement before the case is settled in court.
"If the parties involved wish to utilize the court to globally resolve this, then so be it," Olivieri said in the courtroom. "This ruling does several things. It gives the defendant [the Meadowlands Commission] the opportunity to prepare the necessary list [of modifications they want to the new station] and continues the restraints for a short time, approximately three weeks. If the two sides are willing to come to a compromise and if you think I can help, then fine. But I would rather hear that both sides are willing to engage in a global resolution instead of this never-ending saga."
The Meadowlands Commission, represented by Deputy Attorney General Kevin Auerbacher, maintains that the NYS&W has not provided an adequate list of modifications it will make sure the station meets proper fire, health and safety codes.
The NYS&W, represented by attorney John McKinney of the firm Wolff and Sampson from West Orange, complained that the Meadowlands Commission's request for the list of codes was an attempt to delay the construction of the waste transfer station.
McKinney also reiterated in court that the NYS&W does not have to adhere to local codes and laws, because it is protected to transport items such as solid waste as part of the federal railroad law.
"I understand that it is the defendant's wish to prevent the building from taking place," Olivieri said. "For now, the original [work stoppage] will remain in full force and effect until the necessary information is provided."
Olivieri then ordered all parties to return to court on Oct. 26, if some sort of agreement is not reached before that date.
"But if you think I can help reach a settlement, then by all means, contact me," Olivieri said.
Neither Auerbacher, McKinney, the Meadowlands Commssion nor the NYS&W wished to comment on the case until there is a final settlement or agreement.