Thursday, September 18, 2014

Meeting of Interest Tonight

The Common Council Economic Development Committee has its regular monthly meeting tonight--Thursday, September 18--at 6 p.m. Instead of happening at City Hall, where committee meetings are typically held, the meeting will take place at 1 North Front Street. The reason for the change of venue is a presentation by Barton & Loguidice, a consulting firm of engineers, environmental scientists, planners, and landscape architects based in Albany, on "transportation and sustainability planning as it pertains to waterfront development." Sheena Salvino, executive director of the Hudson Development Corporation (HDC) explains the purpose of the presentation in this way: "to familiarize the committee and public with transportation and waterfront sustainability planning concepts; introduce projects from other communities; and look at potential streams of funding that may help Hudson address impediments to sustainable development."


  1. Uber politicans, abusing their positions, to eliminate our oldest traditions.

    In Hudson, all you need is a dollar and a scheme...

  2. 1.

    It was only in June that the Common Council authorized a Community Development Block Grant application for perhaps the most environmentally unsound project that any of our councils have ever endorsed. (Do my neighbors even know about this?)

    Yet at last night's Economic Development Committee meeting, we heard the attendees erupt as one in defense of the council's great commitment to "green infrastructure," the very thing that the above block grant attempt, if successful, would permanently subvert.

    What the above project intends is a diversion of unfiltered runoff directly into the North Bay. (In June, Alderman Haddad was informed by DPW Supervisor Perry that the runoff diversion was "into the river," a grossly inaccurate reply to the alderman's question which was apparently satisfactory to the council but not to the federal government.)

    Probably unknown to the aldermen is that Mr. Perry's actual intention to divert runoff into the bays - although totally outmoded nationwide and profoundly un-green! - is already the method in place for shedding the 5th Ward's runoff.

    The council is probably also ignorant of the fact that, in response to the waterfront program's environmental impact statement in 2010, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation frowned upon the same solution for the South Bay:

    "Redirecting storm water flows into South Bay would likely have a negative impact on the wetland ..." [GEIS 3.7.7].

    To the state's comment the Common Council replied: "Hydrological and ecological studies, among others, would be required as part of the approvals process for any future plan to redirect storm water flows into the South Bay from the City’s CSO system."

    Yet last December, our DPW Supervisor submitted yet another grant application which would almost certainly conclude with a simple diversion of runoff into the South Bay, exactly as the block grant project intended for the North Bay only a few months later.

    If the same possibility of a "negative impact" doesn't apply to the North Bay simply because the state only specified "South Bay," then where were these hydrological and ecological studies for the South Bay which "would be required as part of the approvals process"?

    The December grant was sought without any concern for adverse impacts, and the council approved that application too. Admittedly, the application had already been submitted before either the council or the public knew of its existence, so rejecting it after the fact would have been politically awkward. But the grant had also been presented as an actual improvement for the environment, which was less than forthright but entirely satisfactory to every alderman save one.

  3. 2.

    So where were the promised studies of potentially adverse impacts resulting from the December grant for Power Avenue (South Bay)? The answer provided was the predictable half-truth: "these are Type II actions under SEQRA which don't require further study." (Read: Go ahead and sue us, chump.)

    Our current and nearly visionless council should be ashamed to call itself "green," but they know that no one is paying attention.

    It's ironic that if what the council is really after is the lowest-hanging money and the easiest solutions, which I suspect is the greater truth here, then state and federal grants for green infrastructure are fairly easy pickings for municipalities that have any vision. That's a point the woman at last night's presentation was about to make before her time ran out. I'm afraid she'd have been wasting her time though.

    Probably also unknown to our faux-concerned aldermen is that within the city's several decades' worth of CSO (sewer) studies, there have been repeated recommendations for ACTUAL green infrastructures for the sole purpose of filtering urban runoff. But is there a single aldermen who'd be able point to any of these analyses of potential sites green infrastructure sites? Of course there isn't; just put the question to any of them and watch their deer-in-the-headlights gaze. (And don't expect them to ask anyone either.)

    Aside from the city's mismanaged and thoroughly dishonest Brownfield Opportunity Areas Program attempt in 2013, what do these aldermen really know about green infrastructure? Not a whole lot, judging from their ignorant actions.