On October 26, Gossips reported that the Greenport Planning Board had informed O&G that no further action would be taken on their application to create a haul road from the quarry to Route 9G until O&G had submitted an application to the Hudson Planning Commission for the continuation of the road through South Bay to the river. What wasn't reported in that post was that the action was prompted by a letter from Hudson city attorney Cheryl Roberts, in which she suggests that "the Greenport Planning Board postpone its decision on site plan approval as currently proposed until conclusion of the GEIS [Generic Environmental Impact Statement] in order to comply with SEQRA's regulations and to avoid claims of segmentation in violation of SEQRA."
The letter goes on to say: "Under current zoning, 'transportation services' are a permitted use within the Industrial District, therefore, arguably O&G would have no obligation to submit an application for site plan approval to Hudson's Planning Commission, and the Commission would have no jurisdiction under SEQRA to initiate an environmental review. . . . Upon passage of the LWRP and its enabling legislation, expansion of the use or modernization of the port or causeway for shipping purposes would subject O&G's operations to review as a conditional use." In other words, only if the Common Council adopts the LWRP, which currently supports the use of the abandoned railroad bed as an industrial road, would the City have any control over the use of the "causeway." If the LWRP is not adopted, O&G can, in the opinion of Roberts, go ahead and use the railbed as a road "as of right."
Among the recipients of Roberts' letter was Jeffrey Anzevino at Scenic Hudson, and a few weeks later, Mark Wildonger, planner at Scenic Hudson, sent in a letter to Cheryl Roberts, stating that Scenic Hudson disagreed with the opinion that "constructing a new road along the abandoned railroad bed (causeway) across South Bay would constitute a permitted use in the Industrial District." Wildonger argued that the term "transportation services" relates to "some form of public transportation associated with a railroad station" and should not be construed so broadly as to include a heavy industrial road for hauling aggregate. Although Hudson's Code does not define "transportation services," Wildonger pointed out that other New York municipalities have defined "transportation services" to be related to passenger transport. Further, he noted out that the Code expressly prohibits uses in an Industrial District that "are noxious or offensive by reason of emission of odor, dust, smoke, gas, fumes or radiation, or which present a hazard to public health or safety. . . [325-17.D (1)]," concluding that "O&G Industries' proposal to use the abandoned railroad grade as a new road for use of heavy trucks hauling aggregate (80 roundtrips per day according to the City of Hudson LWRP DGRIS pg 3-5.2) would likely result in increased emissions, fugitive dust and other adverse impacts with the potential to present a hazard to public health or safety."
Gossips is not aware of any response from the City of Hudson to the letter from Scenic Hudson.