Apparently the brownfields study will include Holcim's "7 acres."There are some very fuzzy areas in this application. I've spoken about it at length with the two brownfields gurus at the DOS and DEC, and they agree that there are ambiguities.The official hearing on 9/25 was not well publicized, and nobody attended it.After making a stink, we were promised a second meeting by the HCDPA. But will this meeting have an official status if the application with the results of the first hearing is already published?Apparently a "BOA Steering Committee" met on 9/24. Really? I didn't even know one existed. Was the public invited?Where can we get OFFICIAL answers to such questions prior to the meeting? I'm tired of battling evasiveness.The public should be able to count on professional standards. How else are we to tell the difference between sneakiness and slovenliness?
The NYS Department of State has worked out a few guidelines for its Brownfields Opportunity Area program (BOA). They are identical with the LWRP guidelines. By the standards of the following DOS seminar excerpts on BOAs, on community leadership, and on community participation, Hudson's BOA program is a disgrace.Can yesterday's "2 Square Miles" be of any assistance in the here and now? I hope so. When you're watching that movie, ask yourself where the public's invitation was to the following."ORGANIZATION FOR COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP - SESSION B: ORIENTATION FOR THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE & MUNICIPAL STAFF" [excerpts]THE IMPORTANCE OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION:The work programs of the LWRP and BOA programs require an open and public process that facilitates broad public participation. ... in the end it is the community members and/or their representatives that must make the decisions, allocate the resources and implement the recommendations. It is important that these individuals be involved in the LWRP and BOA process ...COLLECTING AND DOCUMENTING LOCAL KNOWLEDGE:Local knowledge can be gathered, documented and conﬁrmed through active and engaged community participation. This is a facilitated process that invites broad community participation at the very early stages of the planning process to develop consensus around a community vision plan. In this process, community members discuss local practices and values, and identify concerns and opportunities. A number of techniques have been developed to gather, document and analyze local knowledge. Dialogue and discussion facilitate the sharing of information ...Working with consultants, community members can establish planning goals and objectives, conduct inventories, describe a desired vision for their community’s future and then explore the ways that they might accomplish the vision. Both the LWRP and the BOA programs require community vision planning.FOSTERING A CLIMATE OF COOPERATION:Community participation does not just happen. You will need to develop community trust in the process and interest in the project. People will need to feel welcome and know that their participation will make a difference. An outreach plan will be necessary to inform and invite the community to participate in the project. The advisory committee and consultant should work together to develop an outreach plan. The strategy will likely depend on the personalities and contacts of the advisory committee. You will also need to develop a communication plan to keep the community informed of meetings and project outcomes. Use multiple techniques (newspaper, TV, ﬂ iers, etc.) to kick off the process and then follow up with regular releases so that they are expected and people are looking for the reports. Be sure that your plan is broad enough to reach the different audiences in the community.Remember that all projects build on past experience. If past community experience in planning has been successful, there will likely be support and active participation in your LWRP or BOA project. If past projects have not been successful or did not lead to visible outcomes, there may not initially be strong support or participation. In this case, you will need to establish community interest, gain trust, and build support.THE ROLE OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE:The advisory committee is the group that represents the public and its interests in the planning process. ...The responsibility for public participation generally lies with the advisory committee. This group serves as a bridge between community members, elected ofﬁcials and hired consultants. Your ability to successfully invite public participation and facilitate constructive community conversations will have a signiﬁcant impact on the success of your LWRP and BOA programs. http://www.dos.ny.gov/communitieswaterfronts/brownFieldOpp/BOA/seminarseries/images/Notebook_Leadership_061509.pdf
As long as you're all turning back your clocks, imagine that the following list of names comprised the erstwhile LWRP Steering Committee, because it's basically the same process. Who can be surprised that we haven't heard much about this program - including a public hearing! - which is supposed to be brought forth out of community participation.Read and weep.BOA STEERING COMMITTEE:Sheena Salvino -- Executive Director, HDC & HCDPA Ken Flood -- Columbia County Economic Development David Colby -- Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Peter Paden -- Columbia Land Conservancy Mike Webber -- BeLo3rd (local business organization) William Hallenbeck -- Mayor William Hughes -- County Supervisor & resident Sarah Sterling -- County Supervisor & resident Cheryl Roberts -- Corporation Counsel Don Moore -- Common Council President Rob Perry -- DPW Superintendant Holly Gardener -- resident
Holly Gardner is the one person in this list that I can trust to not be politically motivated or swayed from her resolute beliefs in truth and justice for all.
Rob Perry has informed me that he is NOT a member of the BOA Advisory Committee. His inclusion in the list, which was prepared by Bill Roehr of TGW Consultants, was an error that apparently has since been corrected.
Sorry to say I am actually not a member of the BOA Advisory Committee. I attended one meeting back in February or March as a spectator only. Surprised I am on this list -although my name is spelled wrong. I had hoped to become more involved but the demands of my new business this year occupied all my time unfortunately. Thanks for your vote of confidence Vince regardless!
Considering the degree of public participation that's intended in the program, will the public soon learn where the correct list of Steering Committee members can be found?I hope everyone sees how badly managed this thing is, which in Hudson should send up a red flag. Thanks for vouching for Ms. Gardner, Vincent. I was trying to reach someone on that list who I thought might be candid with me. Someone who might serve as an ombudsman to an otherwise politically top heavy membership.The state DOS offers this Powerpoint presentation on how a community should organize its approach to the BOA program. Reflect while you watch on our present circumstances, but be prepared to be displeased:http://www.dos.ny.gov/communitieswaterfronts/brownFieldOpp/BOA/seminarseries/flash/BOA%20Getting%20Started/PFOT/PFOT.swf
Where's the interest? People are actually going to attend this movie tonight and feel good about themselves?What would Diogenes have said?!