Thursday, June 5, 2014

And Hudson Shall Have a CAC

It has been almost two years since the concept of a Conservation Advisory Council was presented to the Common Council, in August 2012. Since then, Alderman David Marston (First Ward) has been working steadfastly to make it happen, and his efforts came to fruition on May 20, when the Council voted unanimously to adopt the legislation that would make it happen.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday, June 4, Mayor William Hallenbeck held a public hearing on the CAC legislation. Common Council president Don Moore opened comment by saying he was proud of Hudson. "We are a small city, but we have large aspirations to preserve our open spaces and our quality of life." Marston expressed his gratitude to the Council "for doing a careful and thorough job" of moving the legislation forward. Noting that Kingston and Newburgh already have CACs, Marston said that a CAC in Hudson would help inform the decisions the City makes that impact the environment and the river.

Despite the unanimous support of the Council, a pall seemed to rise on the CAC's prospects when the mayor asked Marston if the mayors of Kingston and Newburgh had executive powers in those cities' CACs. The mayor expressed concern that a CAC would reduce or limit the powers of the mayor and questioned if creating a CAC might not require a referendum. He made the point that the LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program) gives the mayor the power to create a Waterfront Advisory Committee and questioned how that would "mesh" with the CAC and how the CAC would mesh with decisions the mayor makes about parks with DPW superintendent Rob Perry.

Gossips left the hearing worried about the fate of the Conservation Advisory Council, which is so desperately needed as the City makes plans to eliminate CSO (combined sewer overflow) events and contemplates changing zoning to increase the permitted lot coverage. The good news is that the mayor, after almost two days of uncertainty, signed the legislation today. Hudson shall have a Conservation Advisory Council, whose members have expertise in conservation and are appointed by the Common Council.


  1. thank goodness, another "team" to poke sticks

    1. Shouldn't be hard to preserve the poor man's pathway to paradise, without generating the Arenskjold effect.


  2. Alderman Marston did the yeoman's work and will be long remembered for it. But the entire council, which voted unanimously, is to be commended.

    The mayor must also be thanked for eventually doing his homework on CAC's, although the following wording if accurate is terribly misleading.

    A Waterfront Advisory Committee (WAC) can be formed by anyone, and therefore can be formed by a mayor too.

    That's a far cry from claiming that the Department of State gives the mayor authority to create such a body!

    As far as I can tell, the state's "rules" for LWRPs, which function more like recommendations, invest the same authority to create WACs in the public alone.

    Of course a WAC created by the public would have to be formalized at some later time. Just so, it was the Common Council and not the mayor which created a formal WAC in January 2006, known as the Waterfront Advisory Steering Committee:

    "NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that a special committee be formed to solicit public comment so that an LWRP may be passed by this Council" [Resolution 3 on p. 8].;/content/Minutes/View/97:field=documents;/content/Documents/File/127.pdf

    At least one CAC in Columbia County dates to the 1970s, and has consistently done what all CACs are meant to do, which is to make information available.

    When wondering how his authority as The Decider would "mesh" with the decisions he makes about parks (other than the Promenade of course, which is legally owned by the Common Council), the mayor has nothing to worry about. A CAC decides nothing.

    So no worries Tom. A CAC does not regulate, it does not approve or disapprove, and it does not poke sticks. Its function is to provide information.

    Joe's observation is apt. Because the preservation of a right depends on first proving the right, he could substitute the word "prove" for "preserve" without hurting his meaning.

    As "the Arenskjold effect" taught us, as long as there's no dependable body in the City of Hudson to explicate the City Code, unless and until proven otherwise the code means whatever anyone in authority says it means.

    With the vessel "Mariana," our city government's customary state of discretionary authoritarianism led to an abuse of power and an injustice worthy of a public apology. I'm not sure if one was ever extended to the innocent boat owners, but I've never seen the Mariana at its berth since. (I say "its berth" advisedly; the Mariana deserves a permanent and honorary berth for the injustice its owners suffered at the bumbling, bullying hands acting under the mayor's authority.)

  3. oh my, are we all soon to have a tower of babel in a city of 7,500

    1. Hudson's always been a Tower of Babel where the law is concerned, with the strong man's arbitrary interpretation winning every time. In many respects, Hudson is mired in the 1940s.

      There are a lot of people who'd like to put that age behind us, except the latter people don't know how to work together.

      So in the end it's the same thing: every man for himself. Everyone's interpretation stands alone. You're entitled to your opinion, whatever it is.

      In a way, PoMo relativism is the perfect scary match to the 1940s mentality!

  4. Conservation: "a careful preservation and protection of something ; especially : planned management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

    Now, how will this new committee prevent further exploitation, destruction and (most of all) neglect of the fishermen's wharf at North dock?

    Acquisition of Water Rights To create a water right, one must make an appropriation. The essential elements of an appropriation are the diversion of water and its application to a beneficial use. A diversion is made simply by removing water from its natural course or location, or by controlling water that remains in its natural course. The requirement of application to beneficial use is satisfied by irrigation, mining and industrial application, stock watering, domestic and municipal use, and other non-wasteful economic activities. The definition of beneficial use of water has expanded in recent years to include environmental dust control and snowmaking, among others. An appropriator may remove the water from its source and put it to beneficial use at any location. In contrast to riparian water rights, there is no geographical limitation as to place of use. Concomitantly, the ownership of land bordering a watercourse carries with it no right to the use of the water in the absence of an appropriation. To gain access to the water source and to transport it to the place of use, the appropriator must obtain an easement, either by contract or grant, or by prescription (continuous, adverse use of an existing ditch). Many state laws provide the appropriator with a private right of condemnation to secure an easement between the source of the water and the place of use...

    Ushered out at gun point when by law should've been grandfathered in....

  6. Three items needed for a successful wharf; parking, docks and slips. For some unknown reason, neither city nor state can put the three together. At Rick's there is parking and docks, at the state launch, docks and a slip.

    The fishermen's wharf at North dock has all three but the Mayor's malicious fence restricts its use.