Thursday, November 17, 2011

The LWRP Marches On

Today's Register-Star finally has coverage of the public hearing on the zoning amendments that are part of the LWRP--a hearing that took place a week ago: "Nearing final vote, waterfront plan still divisive." 

At the hearing, Timothy O'Connor, representing the South Bay Task Force, and Mark Wildonger, representing Scenic Hudson, both criticized the proposed zoning amendments for not doing enough to protect South Bay or "promote the creation of a vibrant waterfront." Speaking in support of the zoning amendments, according to the article, were the usual suspects: Linda Mussmann, Bill Hughes, and Rick Scalera. 

It's pretty obvious to most that the LWRP is being railroaded through so it can be Scalera's legacy. What's interesting is that he seems already to be engaging in some revisionist history. He's quoted in the article as saying, “There was never this divide. Bring the cooperation back, bring the community back, build up your waterfront . . . take the plan that was originally in the spirit of cooperation that people wanted to see down there and once again we could be proud of.” When was this fabled time of cooperation and community of which the mayor speaks? Was it back in 1994-1995 when the community met regularly to envision what Hudson and its waterfront could be--a vital and energizing process, remembered fondly by those who participated, which produced the 1996 Vision Plan, still embraced as a kind of blueprint for waterfront development, and was shut down by Rick Scalera in the fall of 1995 when he perceived a comment by the chair of the Vision Plan Task Force, published in the group's monthly newsletter, to be an endorsement of his opponent in the 1995 mayoral race?

Meanwhile, the process of adopting the LWRP marches on. At the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, four proposed new local laws were placed on the aldermen's desks. The first contains all the LWRP zoning amendments, which affect the Waterfront Revitalization Area; the second is a zoning amendment creating a local Coastal Consistency Review Board; the third is the charter amendment required to create a local Coastal Consistency Review Board; and the fourth is a charter amendment creating the position of harbor master

According to the proposed legislation, the Coastal Consistency Review Board, also called the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) Consistency Review Board, "shall be responsible for coordinating review of actions in the City's coastal area for consistency with the LWRP, and will advise, assist and make consistency recommendations to other City agencies in the implementation of the LWRP, its policies and projects, including physical, legislative, regulatory, administrative and other actions included in the program." The board will be made up of three members appointed by the mayor, one of whom can hold another public office in the City of Hudson. One wonders who the mayor has in mind for this board, for surely he will make the appointments before he leaves office on December 31.

Absent a clear harbor management plan in the LWRP, the creation of the position of harbor master seems both unexpected and unnecessary, but the duties of the harbor master as described in the proposed law seem to be the same duties assigned to Guy Falkenheimer when he was made "dock master" a few months ago, so this may just be a title change.  

The Common Council will vote on these four proposed local laws in a special meeting on Wednesday, November 30, at 6:15 p.m. 


  1. Build up a waterfront with 200 trucks slamming through it every day ?
    Where will Hudson ever find investers to do that.

  2. Rick & Linda & Don have the answer to that Windle.

  3. Thank you, South Bay Task Force and Scenic Hudson for your continued and unwavering fight to save what is left of Hudson's water front for generations to come.Thank you, Gossips for your continuing insight and coverage.
    Being relatively new to Hudson, I am trying to educate and bring myself up to date and understand the history of LWRP,South Bay and what has gone on,what is on going there,and what is at stake,considering the imbicles that have power around here,to do irreversible damage.Which happens alot in this City,historically.I am, for now , most deeply affected directly by the trucks,in front of my home.In tracing that problem's sources,leads me to your/the BAY'S fight as well of an overwhelming pile of how this came too be as well.It's astouding and I have no idea how you have perservered all this time ,effort and frustration.I am just scratching the surface.
    I came upon this article.It had an errie echo of the future.
    Excerpt from Columbia County" History&Heritage"
    volume 2 Number One Summer 2003
    Columbia County Historical Society
    Hudson’s South Bay
    ( This is a short excerpt of a great article.)
    By Don Christensen
    "As the industrial activity
    within South Bay increased,
    its role as a defining natural
    landscape feature declined.
    Few artists found inspiration
    from the South Bay/Mt.
    Merino viewshed after 1880,
    although postcard images of
    the view looking south down
    Bay Road (today’s US Route
    9G) were produced through
    the 1920s.
    One of the most significant
    impacts on the waters of
    South Bay was the construction
    of a second railroad bed
    running east and west
    through the center of the bay.
    Approved by the people of
    Hudson in 1874,

    nearly 20 years of opposition
    to similar proposal,

    the railroad
    linked the waterfront
    and the Hudson River
    Railroad to stone quarries of
    Fred W. Jones at Beecraft
    Mountain two miles from the
    river. Prior to the building of
    the railroad the stone was carried
    by mule-pulled wagons
    through the streets of
    Hudson to the river’s edge.
    The Jones railroad was
    approved after assurances
    that it would be built on an
    open trestle and occupy less
    than 16 feet of width through
    the South Bay waters to protect
    what remained of South
    Bay. Although approved in
    1874, the railroad was not
    completed or used until
    1889. By 1900, the rail bed
    had been filled in and
    widened to nearly 80 feet
    with only a culvert opening
    between the north and south
    portions of the bay."

  4. You are welcome Prison Alley. (The South Bay wetlands always forgets to thank anyone!)

    But because we did not achieve any of our aims, the Task Force may have done more harm than good in the long run.

    I can't think of the proper medical analogy beyond that the public has had its vitals taken continuously. There's a long, detailed chart on us, which lays out in an unprecedented step-by-step record how to snooker the public. For the first time much of the process is preserved on audio. It will all be a cookbook for policy-making in Hudson for years to come. (And you can bet that the tricks learned while duping the public in the impact statement will be applied in other municipalities in the state.)

    In future, anyone in a leadership position in Hudson has a pretty clear picture of just how much they can get away with, and it is a lot!

    The phrase "policy-making" is one of Mr. Moore's favorites. His defensive definition of what makes for good policy, and the kinds of things he was able to rationalize in order to achieve his ends, stunned even his friends in the end. The public was allowed to be seen participating, but that was the extent of it. The rest was done by not-terribly-clever people pursuing their own interests behind closed doors. It's an old story that will only profit from this fresh encouragement.

    Interpreting for us what happened in our absence, Mr. Moore's answer was the same each time: too technical and complex for the public to understand. While it is true that only a few were knowledgeable enough to whisper among themselves that it was Mr. Moore who wasn't knowledgeable, perhaps I may now admit a bizarre difference of opinion between those who believed that his shallow understanding was not his own fault, arguing that he was being misled, and those who believed (adamantly) that the opposite was true.

    The fact is that Hudsonians routinely accepted Mr. Moore's and Ms. Roberts' explanations. (In fairness to us, Mr. Moore does not permit further questioning of his hollow pronouncements and serial prevarications, and this offers yet another lesson to his successors.)

    Attorney Roberts' level of brazenness and contemptuousness towards those who would stand in her way grew a bit more incrementally. Not only are her manipulations a model for any lawyer aspiring to her same position, but the general shoddiness of her performance and her excuses actually lowers the bar for her successors' prevarications! As long as a strongman is present to keep the public at bay, it should be obvious by now that a lawyer can achieve just about anything they want over against the interests of the wrong kind of Hudsonian.

    The fact that this unelected official who doesn't even live here is permitted her own goals is a lesson in itself for anyone who will follow.

    A very terrible lesson is that even if Ms. Roberts did not suppress that CSX document in 2009 - which is highly unlikely - future officials will have a pretty good idea that nobody will bother to investigate whatever it is they'd like to pull on us.

    I know you've read Margaret Schram's "Hudson's Merchants and Whalers,"with its amazing accounts of the stupidities of Common Councils in the 19th century. Someday people will look at our story and wonder how we could have let ourselves be so trod upon. Then they will look at Schram's accounts and wonder if Hudson isn't poxed somehow? (Back to that medical analogy ...)

    Should we even bother applying ourselves to the mass of atrocious last details in this comment thread? The number and degree of dishonesties is staggering, their examples still growing with each document released, and each time Mr. Moore or Ms. Roberts open their mouths. (The story in the Register Star linked from this post is filled with so many of their misrepresentations the challenge to correct them is almost too overwhelming. Great work Newspaper of Record!)

  5. Gossips, thank heaven for your memory. I was so dumbstruck by the Mayor's version of revisionist history at the Council Meeting that I didn't say anything though it nearly choked me. Having been at most of the Vision Plan meetings myself I remember never seeing any politician there until the gathering had grown to be so numerous that they were held at JLE. At least a year into the process I finally saw the Mayor standing in the back. Not too long after that Judy Meyer was removed as Chair for a political remark which showed her support for the opponent to the Mayor, Lou Boyce, in the upcoming Mayoral race. Things were just as divisive back then.