The CCPB's consideration of the project began with P. J. Prendergast making his now familiar presentation of the haul road, stressing its promised benefits to the City of Hudson resulting from rerouting trucks and taking them off city streets. As he has before, he dissed Rick's Point, which he considers to be a parking lot for riverfront park, as being totally unimproved, just dirt, and the real source of dust in the waterfront area. He was corrected by CCPB member (and Hudson resident) Robert Rasner, who told him the surface at Rick's Point was compacted gravel. Interestingly, Prendergast has added a new claim to his presentation: that it says "right in the City's DRI," referring to the City of Hudson's DRI" (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) application, that the City supports the proposed project, citing this sentence: "City officials and neighboring business owners support the expansion of Colarusso."
In advance of the meeting, Patrice Perry, senior planner for Columbia County, had forwarded materials to the members of the board which, when printed out, constituted a document that was more than an inch thick. It was Prendergast's project narrative, written in December 2016 and revised in February 2017, which includes in its appendices such things the traffic study done by Creighton Manning, the completed long environmental assessment form, and the project narrative for dock repairs. At the meeting, Perry presented the board with another document, a ten-page assessment of the project, which she proceeded to read aloud. The document analyzed the project in terms of eight considerations: (a) compatibility of various land uses with one another; (b) traffic generating characteristics of various land uses in relation to the effect of such traffic on other land uses and to the adequacy of existing and proposed thoroughfare facilities; (c) impact of proposed land uses on existing and proposed county or state institutional or other uses; (d) protection of community character as regards predominant land uses, population density, and the relation between residential and nonresidential areas; (e) drainage; (f) community facilities; (g) official municipal and county development policies, as may be expressed through comprehensive plans, capital programs or regulatory measures; and (h) such other matters as may relate to the public convenience, to governmental efficiency, and to the achieving and maintaining of a satisfactory community environment. It concluded by making the recommendation that the board approve the project for these reasons:
The proposed improvements to this private road for use by trucks hauling gravel from the mine in the Town of Greenport to the City of Hudson, will allow for the removal of truck traffic from the NYS designated truck route through local roads and state highways in the Town of Greenport and the City streets of Hudson. The overall result will be a positive impact through the reduction of truck traffic, through the Town of Greenport and the City of Hudson.
The use of this road through private property will likely increase the efficiency of the gravel transport operation from the Greenport mine to the City of Hudson, a positive economic impact for this an established enterprise in Columbia County.
These road improvements support the goals of the Columbia County development policies to encourage balanced economy through business development and expansion and retention of existing business.Rasner, who had himself studied all the documents presented, asked if his fellow board members had done the same. None had. He then urged that, since the board had thirty days to act on this referral from the Greenport Planning Board and twenty-three days remained, they hold off voting to give members time to study the issue. In this, he had the support of only one other member of the board, Cheryl Gilbert, who is from Kinderhook. One board member told him, in effect, "You may be interested in this, but I'm not. I'm willing to follow the recommendation of staff"--staff being, it seems, Patrice Perry.
The vote went forward, with members of the Columbia County Planning Board voting 5 to 2 to approve the project. The two dissenters were Rasner and Gilbert.
This referral to the Columbia County Planning Board is a part of the Greenport Planning Board's site plan review of the segment of the proposed haul road located in the Town of Greenport. The Hudson Planning Board will also be making a referral to the CCPB as part of its review of the segment of the haul road that is in Hudson.
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