Thursday, May 7, 2015

What About That Environmental Review?

On April 21, on the eve of Earth Day, the Common Council voted 1,205 (aye) to 728 (nay) to postpone until June 16 voting on the resolution declaring the sewer separation project, which would direct millions of gallons of untreated storm water runoff into North Bay, a Type II Action. The intervening time, which at that point was eight weeks, would be spent doing an environmental review and completing an EAF (Environmental Assessment Form).

Before the vote was cast on the proposal to postpone, there was talk about getting the review done in the limited time, there was mention of a special meeting to allocate funds and authorize a contract, there was the suggestion that estimates by solicited from two engineering firms. More than two weeks later, with less than six weeks' time left until June 16, there has been no special meeting on this subject, and it would appear that the Common Council has been too preoccupied with the crisis of the police and court building to attend to this issue. 


  1. If the council's other worries look more important than environmental issues, then recall that we're talking about $600,000 yet to be released.

    The ONLY THING standing in the way of the promised money is the open question how the environment may be impacted by the project.

    The council already assumes it can fall back on Corporate Counsel's claim that environmental considerations are immaterial (last month Mr. Whitbeck said that anyone unhappy about it is free to sue the city). Thus the council is inclined, however unconsciously, to delay the 3.5-page Environmental Assessment Form until it is too late.

    The greatest absurdity is that a verifiable timeline hasn't been established by anyone in a position of authority, and certainly not by our representatives.

    So rather than pick up the phone and ask the grant administrator firsthand, the council's delay will likely land it in a forced crisis that's a fake crisis!

    Our representatives won't know any better unless they PICK UP THE PHONE!!!

    Our NYS HCR grant administrator is named Charles Philion, and his office number is: (518) 474-2182.

    Because Mr. Philion is employed by the People of the State of New York, anyone should feel free to call and ask for clarification. But certainly ask your alder(wo)men why, after 5 months of guessing, they haven't done so themselves.

  2. Of course this could be a situation like the police/court building, where the council only solicited a single consultant.

    But if Saratoga Associates said no, and the council is thinking of turning to Delaware Engineering as the back-up, they should all think again.

    When even the appearance of a conflict of an interest is sufficient reason to look elsewhere, then what would it mean to pay these people money - money which should have been covered by the grant as a project cost, but which may have been lost thanks to them - so that they may assess their own work?

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg with this firm.

  3. “CEDC and the CCIDA are public entities, using our tax-dollars for economic development. We have a right to full transparency on how these funds are being allocated. But most importantly, we deserve to have confidence in the integrity of the board members and the processes used in their decision-making.” - Sam Pratt

    The National Historic Preservation Act requires that any federal funds granted must accommodate the continuous historic and prehistoric use.

    The South Bay was filled in by federally funded developers (illegally) filling it in and eliminating the historic use, Navigation.

    Left unchecked, the Landgator will forever pave where the Navigator flows freely.

    The area between the flood line and the mean high water line is meant to be preserved to promote access to Navigation. And now, a man named Flood has to act as if he has no idea where the flood line is.

  4. Not bad for five minutes of research:

    Hudson Valley Planning and Preservation, Monroe
    (845) 893-0134

    Community Planning & Epa Associates, Berne
    (518) 872-9753

    Behan Planning Assoc., Saratoga Springs
    (518) 583-4335

    Harlem Valley Ecological, Dover Plains
    (845) 240-5986

    Charles P May & Assocs., Fishkill
    (845) 896-2747

    DesignerG Services, South Salem
    (914) 533-5640

    Environmental Design Partnership, Clifton Park
    (518) 371-7621

    Barton and Loguidice, Albany
    (518) 218 - 1801

    Clough Harbour, Albany
    (518) 453-4500

    Mastrianni Joseph E Inc., Schenectady
    (518) 372-4739

    1. People may have forgotten that supplying a list of names from the phone book, simple as that seems, is the proper function of a Conservation Advisory Council (CAC). A CAC is like a library reference desk for environmental issues.

      The inability of the council to find an outside consultant capable of filling out a 2.25-page form (the city fills out the third page) should make it pretty obvious that Hudson needs the CAC that it created but cannot staff (cannot, as opposed to will not).