Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Colarusso in the News

Nick Olivari reports today in the Register-Star that the Hudson Police Department has opened an investigation into alleged trespassing on Colarusso property: "Police probe alleged haul road trespass."

Coming just days after Gossips published photographs of the haul road that called into question the veracity of P. J. Prendergast's statement to the Greenport Planning Board that the road had not been impacted by Superstorm Sandy ("The water went up, the water went down"), my immediate thought was there might be a connection. That turns out to be a somewhat ego-fueled post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. The pictures showing the haul road after Superstorm Sandy were taken in 2012. The statute of limitations for trespassing in New York is three years. Besides, A. Colarusso & Sons didn't acquire the property from Holcim until late 2014.  

Gossips Note: The picture accompanying this post was taken by Gossips in 2011, from the shoulder of Route 9G.


  1. The landowner has a right, and even an obligation, to secure its property. If people trespassed against the Colarusso company, then they were taking their chances.

    Public access was a point on which the LWRP failed, though that was entirely thanks to the double-dealing of the previous landowner, Holcim US, Inc.

    I just hope for the sake of casual trespassers, if any, that the current landowner will be lenient.

    Going forward the message is clear enough to all: Keep Out.

  2. If you fly a camera drone along the haul road, is that trespassing?

    1. Probably depends on the altitude you fly it at, but that's a good question for an attorney. The Atlantic has an article on this from 2012. Laws may have been updated since.

  3. Sorry for asking a dumb question, but could someone remind us who owns what in the South Bay? I would assume the RR tracks, for instance, are owned by... whom? And that would mean Colarusso has some kind of deal with the RR to use its right-of-way? Etc. Thanks in advance.

  4. The access road alongside the tracks is a shared right-of-way, snaking back and forth over lands owned by the railroad and by the owner of the port.

    But the City owns 4.4 acres of riverfront land (still uncontested for some reason) which is serviced by the same access road.

    The deed for the 4.4 acres specifies that the access road is a "public way," and this concurs with mention of pedestrian access in the deed for the shared right-of-way itself.

    So what is the City waiting for? Our current corporate counsel (initials KD) wrote the original brief for the Valley Alliance. Are we supposed to wait until January, when he's gone, before we ask his advice? Let's get it together for goodness' sake!

  5. So who owns the South Bay and the "haul road" that runs through it? And when that road crosses 9G doesn't it need some kind of right-of-way? Shouldn't there be a light there?

    1. Within City limits, we're told that Colarusso Ventures owns everything including the South Bay portion of the haul road.

      The property deed, which the City and public had to research on their own at the County offices, refers to a Holcim-owned "easement" which is mapped on "Exhibit C." Unfortunately, the County's copy of Exhibit C is totally illegible.

      In one mention, the applicant referred to Holcim-owned lands currently within City limits, though the first Project Narrative (2016) stated that "after reaching the City of Hudson line [from Greenport], the roadway is owned by A. Colarusso and Son, Inc."

      The latter claim is likely the correct one, notwithstanding the dispute initiated by the company's surveyors about where the municipal boundary is. (Depending on the different scales of maps used, the line is drawn differently on the landowner's various maps. From one map to another, the different locations of the City line across the haul road is always to the advantage of the landowner.)

      The NYSDOT doesn't require a traffic light for trucks to cross State Route 9-G, but only a sufficient line of sight for motorists and truckers alike.

      Achieving the promised 1600-foot the line of sight is a very tall order, but then nobody even knows the number of trucks we're talking about.

      What would limit the number of trucks per year?

      Is it the number of barges? This was the specious premise of the Creighton Manning analysis. Market demands notwithstanding (it's predicted there will be two peak days per year), the presumption is that there's no barge traffic out of season. We know that's not true! (Also, the Creighton Manning study counted 18-wheelers, but failed to include the company's fleet smaller dump trucks: smaller trucks equals more trucks per barge.)

      Perhaps the truck numbers are limited by the capacity of the single rock-crushing machine. The company has suggested as much without mentioning that it's stockpiling aggregate at the quarry and will reportedly start stockpiling at the port too. Also, the next owner will certainly buy a second rock-crusher if the current owner doesn't acquire one first.

      Are the trucks limited by the amount of aggregate allowed in the mining permit? Sorry, we don't get to know that information, and the Greenport Planning Board failed to ask the obvious at the May meeting.

      In a letter from Creighton Manning on January 25, 2016, it was said the company would be shipping 110,000 to 150,000 tons annually. Later in the year, some experimental math reduced that total to around 70,000 tons.

      But in 2012 a company spokesman stated that 200,000 tons a year was "crumbs," and now it's rumored that the mining permit allows up to 900,000 tons per year.

      Naturally the DOT hasn't looked at any of the above, but has held entire meetings in Poughkeepsie about how to deal with the public on this issue.

    2. Joe Gallo From the NOR: When the legal question is simply public rights to canoe and fish on the river and along its banks, on a river that is usable for such activities, determining public or private ownership of the bed and banks is typically not important, because such rivers are typically navigable for Commerce Clause purposes anyway. Consequently, there is a public easement under federal law to use the bed and banks for such activities regardless of who owns the riverbed.

      This public easement “supersedes any claim of private ownership.” Private ownership of riverbeds is “a bare technical title, always subject to public rights to use the stream.

      When the road becomes riverbank, shouldn't passing through, from one to the other, be possible without any obstructions?

  6. Changing the name of South bay to into "the South flood plain" allows municipal home wreckers to complete the three card Monte of riverfront real estate. As a flood plain, incremental filling of the bay becomes "development," permitable, and never again navigable.