Yonkers firefighters union sues city, citing safety issues at Ridge Hill

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YONKERS -

The Yonkers firefighters union is suing the city and claiming that a new store is causing so much congestion that it is putting lives at risk.

The Yonkers Firefighters Local 628 says the growing Ridge Hill shopping district is dangerously congested, thanks to the new Lowe's Home Improvement. The union says adding the 70,000-square-foot Lowe's Home Improvement puts people's safety in jeopardy.

"There's more people there, more traffic and congestion," says Barry McGoey, the union president.

The union is suing the Yonkers Zoning Board of Appeals for illegally issuing permits to build the Lowe's because the developer did not build a fire station there first. Last year, the union filed a similar complaint against the city. McGoey says environmental reviews identified fire safety as a big concern.

"It's very hard to navigate around Ridge Hill and to get back out of Ridge Hill. That has a ripple effect on the residents of the surrounding communities because when we're at Ridge Hill, we're not available to respond to them," he says.

Mayor Mike Spano says Ridge Hill doesn't need a designated fire hall right now because the taxpayers can't afford it. Plus, the city is already planning to build a new fire hall on the south side.

"We have to prioritize, we have a limited pot of money and we'll build the one here on School Street because that's where the fires are, and we'll look at potentially doing that one later down the road," says Spano.

The union wants the court to reverse the board's decision and build a fire hall near the center before there is an emergency.

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