Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting It Right

It's been brought to my attention that I made a couple mistakes in my reports on meetings having to do with the LWRP last week, so I will endeavor now to correct them.

Legal Committee Meeting
When Sam Pratt brought up the October 2005 letter from Nancy Welsh, his point in doing so was to remind everyone that this document, which rejected the February 2004 draft of the LWRP and made very specific recommendations for revision, asserted that the LWRP needed to be revised in light of the 2005 Daniels decision on SLC's Greenport Project and the Common Council's rejection of the host agreement with SLC/Holcim. Here is the relevant excerpt from Welsh's letter. The entire letter can be found here.

Ch. 2 Pg 33, first full paragraph
In describing the SLC parcel, this section reads: "This entire area, which represents the largest single property in private ownership in the coastal area, is zoned for industrial use (I-1). The I-1 District permits a wide variety of industrial, wholesale and commercial uses. It does not permit public or commercial recreation uses, especially those which require a waterfront location, or residential uses which might be enhanced by such a site." This statement leads directly to questions about the compatibility of this zoning designation, as proposed, with the City's waterfront vision and goals. Indeed, the Hudson Vision Plan is clear about waterfront goals:

"The waterfront is currently zoned for industrial use. . . . The current zoning is far too broad and does not recognize the value of the waterfront as a historical, cultural, commercial and recreational resource for the City. The zoning classification also does not encourage the highest and best use of the land and thus reduces potential tax revenues to the City.

"It is recommended a new 'Waterfront Zone' be created that addresses the goals of the Vision Plan and the specifics of the Master Plan. The zone should be created immediately. To minimize conflict existing property uses could be grand fathered, but if they change ownership, the new owners would be subject to the new provisions. Permitted uses should include: recreation/open space, parking, residential (second story and above), retail, galleries, studios, office, restaurants, museums, outdoor markets, outdoor performances, street vending, marine stores, marine fuel and boat storage. Conditional uses could include: electronic transmission towers, public utility uses, transportation centers, railroad, ferry terminals. Accessory Uses should include: signs, outdoor cafes. Prohibited Uses should include: manufacturing, assembling, storing and processing products or facilities, outdoor storage of lumber, construction and building materials, contractor's equipment, trucks, vans, buses, retail or wholesale of vehicles or boats. Building heights should be limited to 45 feet from ground elevation to ridge or parapet line." (Hudson Vision Plan, pp. 85-88)

The related schematic concept plan depicts a waterfront park, recreational boating facilities, and mixed-use redevelopment of upland parcels, including restaurants, galleries, retail shops, museums, offices and residential space.

The LWRP must identify and provide for the following information: What uses, activities and infrastructure are needed to foster this vision of the waterfront? What uses/activities preclude this vision from being realized? What zoning category(ies) at what location(s) is(are) required to foster the uses, activities and infrastructure that implement the vision? What zoning will hinder them? What are the benefits and drawbacks that are being balanced? If the benefits are sufficient, how will the drawbacks be managed/minimized?

A similar analysis must be made with regard to water uses/activities, which may include recreational kayaks, power boats, charter and party boat trips, ferries, barges, the Coast Guard, and other uses. There needs to be some analysis of which of these different water uses make sense, given the characteristics of the Hudson waterfront and the articulated community goals. Can they all be managed in a way that fosters these goals? If so, how? If not, what changes must be made to existing conditions, or to laws and regulations, or through other mechanisms, in order to prevent conflict?

Ch. 2 Pg 33, first full paragraph, last sentence
"St. Lawrence Cement has proposed a major upgrade of its docking facilities and a new conveyor as part of a proposed manufacturing facility in the Town of Greenport (see following Dock Area Plan)." The Dock Area Plan must be removed from the LWRP (see comment below "Ch. 2 page between pg 33 and pg 34 Overall Dock Area Plan") and this reference to it revised. Further, all references to the SLC proposal will require revision in light of recent decisions by the Common Council, Department of State, and SLC.
South Bay Symposium
Erik Kiviat did not have misgivings about the Army Corps of Engineers carrying out a study of contaminants in the South Bay. Rather his concern was with having the ACE design an ecological restoration plan.

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