Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Rain Date for Talking About North Bay

Because it is predicted that there will be rain all day tomorrow, the public conversation about North Bay, which was supposed to happen outdoors at the Furgary Boat Club at 1 p.m., has been rescheduled. The new date for the event is Sunday, May 22, at the same time and in the same place.



  1. The City has over-utilized North Bay for 230 years. Another three weeks can't hurt.

    But rather than begin a conversation only in fantasy terms, like that habitat is just so much candy sitting there waiting to be kayaked, why not approach things by asking what we don't know about the bay, and should know.

    Otherwise we're exactly like the Common Council last year, which got every question backwards concerning the bay during the SEQR Environmental Assessment Form process (EAF).

    The Aldermen had no overview of the City's cumulative negative impacts, and the exercise ended in confusion. Why do we suppose we'll do a better job than our elected representatives? Because we'll set out by indulging in pipe dreams?

    Of course people will want to showcase their development visions, especially those who've never been in the bay, but what would a more rational approach look like?

    The Common Council never completed their EAF, because Council members put the goal of answering its questions ahead of actually knowing anything (!).

    Not to repeat the same, typical mistake, we ought to begin by conducting an inquiry.

    What's the point of planning efforts which can't answer questions like these:

    What is the bay? What's in it that we put there? What's in it that nature put there? How do its waters move - how much, and how fast? What affects the bay's water quality? What is the history of water monitoring in the bay, and how can we get those figures? Which policies already regulate the bay, and why? What is the meaning of a National Register listing for the shantytown (it's officially eligible), and does listing influence the State Legislature who's asked to "alienate" the shacks for private use? When is a municipality justified closing off access to its waterfront?

  2. Coasting Trade, In maritime law: Commerce and navigation between different places along the coast of the U S as distinguished from commerce with ports in a foreign countries. Commercial intercourse carried on between different districts in different states, different districts in the same state, or different places in the same district, on the sea coast or on a navigable river.

    The future planers of North Dock might want to consider the historical perspective of an attorney named Daniel Webster.

  3. It's a shame our servants didn't ask everyone's input thirty years ago.

    We'd have this meeting now in dry boathouses with heat and light, May or December.

  4. Planning for North Bay will go nowhere unless we begin by appreciating how little anyone knows about the bay. Pie-in-the-sky dreams typically lead to disappointed hopes, so the smart money counsels a slow and thoughtful approach.

    The land conservancy's Concept Master Plan for North Bay has plenty that's worthy in it, but also parts that are outdated, and more than one oversight and/or terrible suggestion which should be challenged.

    Notwithstanding its defects, the conservancy's plan has earned a patina of inevitability, but not because anyone has actually read it. The plan's inevitability rests solely on the basis that it was initiated nine long years ago. (With those credentials, it should be elected to the Oval Office.)

    In a City that's still learning the hazards of excluding public participation (think: disastrous LWRP; deficient LTCP; disastrous BOA Program; mired sewer separation project), reflect on the fact that in nine years the public has never been invited to discuss the details of the Concept Master Plan.

    This fact gave the City and County no pause before entering A Memorandum of Understanding on the Concept Master Plan three years ago. In their agreement, depending on a completed preliminary review, the self-created momentum alone will invariably lead both governments to implement the plan.

    (In the same Common Council Resolution of October 15, 2013, we learned that "the County supports the Concept Master Plan," which begs the question how anyone at the County level could now suggest covering the grasslands with solar panels.)

    All of the above has transpired without any public participation and, it must be added, without much knowledge either.

    So before residents start aping their politicians on the inevitability of the Concept Master Plan, consider that nine years is a meaningless time frame when the public was to be invited today FOR THE FIRST TIME to offer its comments on the plan directly to the land conservancy.

    In a republic, the correct way to look at time frames for public projects is "When did public participation begin?"

    Public participation will begin on May 22.