Responding to Friedman's questions, city attorney Ken Dow said that the application was before the Planning Board and that body was gathering information. When asked by Alderman Rick Rector (First Ward) about a timetable for the site plan review process, Tom DePietro, chair of the Hudson Planning Board, indicated that the Greenport Planning Board, which has been granted lead agency status in the SEQR (State Envorinmental Quality Review) process, "doesn't plan to get around to SEQR until its February or March meeting."
Friedman went on to ponder relevant statutes of limitation. "It is not clear to me that what has happened [on the causeway] since 2011 is consistent with the city zoning code." He also asked, "Is the City estopped from enforcing its laws?" Speaking of the plans now being proposed Friedman went on, "What is clear is that they are adding a lane of travel that seems to me is prohibited by the zoning. . . . I just want to know what questions are being asked."
Audience member Timothy O'Connor brought up the work done last year on the haul road going east from Route 9G. The first part of the road going east--the first 930 feet--passes through a part of Hudson that is zoned Recreational Conservation. According to the zoning code, this alteration required a conditional use permit, but none was sought. O'Connor asked that the statute of limitations on this action be investigated.
Audience member Steve Dunn said he was very concerned about statute of limitations, citing the changes to the road through South Bay since 2011 and also the recently completed revetment at the dock. "Having read the zoning code as carefully as I can in the last two days," Dunn, who is an attorney, told the Council, "I believe that all those changes to the road--no matter how minor--required a conditional of use permit." Calling this "the most important issue facing the City right now," Dunn told Dow and the Council, "Someone needs to research this issue ASAP and generate an opinion letter we can rely on." Dunn further suggested that the City ask Colarusso to enter into an agreement to toll, or stop the clock on, the statute of limitations. Dunn asserted, "To the extent that the City's rights have been degraded, the City's bargaining position has been eroded."
The Greenport Planning Board is expected to continue its review of the proposed haul road at its meeting tonight, Tuesday, December 27. The regular meeting of the Planning Board begins at 7:30 p.m., but word is spreading that the haul road issue will be taken up during the workshop session, which begins at 6:30 p.m.
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