Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Waterfront Developments

Last night, the Common Council, as a necessary step toward amending the zoning code to create a R-S-C-2 district, in the southwestern part of the city, where hotels would be permitted as a conditional use, worked its arduous way through the Full Environmental Assessment Form required by SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act). In the process, all involved seemed to have difficulty keeping the possible impacts of a change in the law separate from the possible impacts of a specific project--the hotel proposed for 41 Cross Street. The same muddying of the waters seemed to exist in the headline given to John Mason's report in the Register-Star: "Waterfront hotel plan gets environmental OK."

The process served as a reminder of the murky status of Hudson's Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP). City attorney Ken Dow explained that he had used the Department of Environmental Conservation's EAF Mapper to answer the initial questions on the form.

In response to B.i.ii--"Is the project site located in a community with an approved Local Waterfront Revitalization Program?"--the EAF Mapper answered no. Of course, that's the correct answer. After all the work and angst and tsuris, going back ten years or more, Hudson still does not have an approved LWRP, even though, ironically, the LWRP, adopted by the Common Council in 2011, is being used as justification for the proposed zoning amendment for which the EAF was being completed. It's no wonder some people's eyes glaze over whenever they hear the initialism LWRP.

Also at last night's meeting, the Common Council unanimously passed "A Resolution Stating the Desire to Seek State Funds for Replacement of the Ferry Street Bridge in the City of Hudson, New York." At the meeting about the bridge last Thursday, Jeffrey Cleary, from Senator Kathy Marchione's office, advised that the resolution should have no more than five Whereases. The resolution passed by the Council has seven.

1 comment:

  1. There's nothing "murky" about the status of the waterfront program. "Murky" is a euphemism coined by those who commandeered the program in the face of public protest, and then failed at their self-appointed task. The public knows that the LWRP is a failure, and not a mystery.

    Compare what happened in Hudson with the LWRP guidelines: "the keys to making the most of ... waterfront assets include a clear vision and plan, broad public involvement, creative partnerships, patience, persistence and a step-by-step strategy," (p. 1).

    Soon, we may see the same individuals who put themselves above those guidelines invited to help revive their failed program. Common sense should disqualify them, however, due to their personal interest in salvaging a dubious legacy.

    I'm delighted - though not surprised - that Mr. Dow has used the State's EAF Mapper. This must be the first time the Mapper was voluntarily employed by the City, despite the occasions it should have been consulted in the past.

    But reading in the R-S story about the Council's confusions, it appears that the Aldermen themselves didn't consult the EAF Workbooks, guidance documents created for the very situation in which they found themselves: