Hudsonians concerned about the impact on our waterfront of the proposed Colarusso haul road showed up in force this evening for the Greenport Planning Board workshop session, which preceded the regular meeting of the Planning Board. Typically, the workshop takes place in a conference room in Greenport Town Hall, but tonight, because of the number of people interested in witnessing the proceedings, the workshop was moved to the courtroom, where the regular meetings of the Planning Board take place. The room has a posted maximum capacity of sixty-six, and that limit was being strictly adhered to. Gossips was only allowed to enter the room after someone else left. Present at the meeting, but not visible in the picture below, were Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton, First Ward alderman Rick Rector, and Mitch Khosrova, counsel to the Hudson Planning Board.
|Photo: Julie Metz|
In the workshop session, Planning Board member Michael Bucholsky asked about the mining permit already in place. The question prompted Ray Jurkowski, the engineer retained by the Greenport Planning Board and the Hudson Planning Board, to voice what has been feared by many: "They are calling this a haul road, but this is an expansion or an extension of the mining permit."
During the regular meeting of the Planning Board, Pat Prendergast, the engineer for Colarusso, reported that the project was "still in front of DEC for permits to do work on the South Bay causeway." He explained that the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) cannot issue permits until the SEQR process is completed. He said the Department of Transportation permitting process was "down to the final edits" and noted that no permits were needed from the Army Corps of Engineers or the NYS Department of State.
After Prendergast presented his summary, Jurkowski told him that he wanted to "concentrate on the narrative," the document prepared by Prendergast, on behalf of Colarusso, at Jurkowski's request. Jurkowski asked that the narrative be expanded to include an overview of the project and a timeline. "The narrative doesn't provide as much information as it could," said Jurkowski. Specifically, he wanted more detail on various aspects of the proposed project: hours of operation, number of trips, access to the haul road by the public. He acknowledged that the details were provided "in the appendices" but maintained, "It's not fair to make [the Planning Board and the public] put everything together." It was decided that Prendergast and Jurkowski would meet, with the chair of the Greenport Planning and the board's legal counsel, to discuss the shortcomings of the document, "to make sure all the items are addressed."
Ed Stiffler, chair of the Greenport Planning Board, described, for the benefit of the members of the public present, the process and procedure they would follow in making a SEQR determination. When the Greenport Planning Board has what they consider a complete application for the project from Colarusso, they will schedule a public hearing. The hearing will take place at Columbia-Greene Community College, to ensure that all who are interested can be present and comment. He indicated that each person wanting to comment would be permitted five minutes to speak. Those with more information than can be articulated in five minutes are urged to submit written comments. Stiffler said that written comments would be accepted for seven days after the public hearing and a full transcript of the hearing would be available as soon as possible after the hearing.
When Prendergast had packed up his charts and the Planning Board was ready to move on, Khosrova, legal counsel to the Hudson Planning Board, rose to tell the Greenport Planning Board, "I'm not certain we are on the same page." He was referring to a question Stiffler had addressed earlier to Prendergast about scope of the project. Stiffler asked Prendergast to confirm that the project in Hudson ended "at the beginning of the paved road"--that is, the southernmost end of Front Street. Prendergast confirmed that was the case. Khosrova maintained that the SEQR process "can look at anything that related to the operation," which would include the dock. The definition of the project, according to the Greenport Planning Board, the lead agency in the SEQR process, does not include the dock.
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