At the last Greenport Planning Board meeting, it seemed that the Order to Remedy (OTR) issued by the City of Hudson for work done by Colarusso at the dock without site plan approval from the Hudson Planning Board was holding up the review of proposed haul road. At tonight's Greenport Planning Board meeting, there was no mention of the OTR, and the process moved forward.
Pat Prendergast, engineer for Colarusso, presented the board with an updated EAF (Environmental Assessment Form). Ed Stiffler, who chairs the Greenport Planning Board, sought clarification about the hours given in the EAF. What was indicated was 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Stiffler questioned how this could be the case when Hudson ordinances limit the hours of operation at the dock to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It was explained that activity before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. would take place east of Route 9 and in the quarry.
There was also an answer about the number of trucks that would be traveling the haul road. Based on the information in the traffic study done by Creighton Manning, peak traffic was determined to be 142 trucks a day. That means, during a twelve hour day, in times of peak activity, a truck loaded with gravel would leave the quarry every 5 minutes, and every 5 minutes a truck would reach the western end of the haul road, travel past Basilica Hudson, cross the railroad tracks at Broad Street, and continue on to the dock. Stiffler read an excerpt from a letter written by Paul Colarusso attesting that peak traffic was 142 trucks a day and there were no plans to improve the dock, presumably beyond the improvements already completed.
When Planning Board member Michael Bucholsky asked about traffic in the future, JR Heffner, vice president of operations for Colarusso, said, "We would like to continue doing business, and the goal is growth." (Recall that, according to Nick Olivari's investigative report, one of the two mines currently being worked has 98.5 more years of productivity and the other has 127 years.) When Bucholsky asked if growth would "manifest itself in more trucks," Prendergast weighed in, declaring, "The peak rate is the most they can do. They can't make the stuff any faster. To do more, they'd have to spend millions of dollars for another crusher." Bucholsky then concluded, "So the number you have for peak applies for several years."
Bucholsky then opined that the number of trucks "coming out of the City of Hudson" would reduce emissions, traffic, and wear and tear on the city's infrastructure. "This is a good thing for Hudson," Bucholsky stated. "That's significant." Then then asked rhetorically, "What is the negative?"
Prendergast responded, "This is a win-win for everyone involved." He then asserted that the haul road was "pretty far removed from civilization" and noted that using the truck route through the city "is a liability for the company."
The board then voted to hold a public meeting "to receive comments concerning the environmental aspects of the project" on Tuesday, April 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meeting, which is anticipated may last until 10 p.m., will take place at Columbia-Greene Community College in the "large theater." The board will also accept written comments, which must be postmarked by Friday, April 21, and received by Monday, April 24.
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