Saturday, July 15, 2017

Colarusso and the Hudson Planning Board

On Thursday night, the Hudson Planning Board held a public hearing on the repairs made to the dock last year by A. Colarusso & Son without seeking the required permits from the City of Hudson. It will be recalled that, in January, code enforcement officer Craig Haigh issued an Order to Remedy for the unauthorized work; in February, Colarusso appealed the OTR to the Zoning Board of Appeals; and in May, the ZBA denied Colarusso's appeal and upheld the OTR. Now the already completed project is before the Planning Board. The public hearing on Thursday was part of the Planning Board's review.

During the public hearing, comments were made by Julie Metz, Timothy O'Connor, John Rosenthal, Peter Jung, Ted Gramkow, Melissa Auf der Maur, and Tony Stone. Common themes in their comments were the need to take a holistic approach to the dock and the haul road, evidence and suspicion about intensification of industrial activity, questions about Colarusso's ultimate plans, and concerns that the safeguards against industrial expansion, which were written into the City's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program zoning, be enforced. When Danette Koke launched into a statement about the aesthetic impact of industrial activity at the dock, Planning Board chair Tom DePietro stopped her, saying that the public hearing was for gathering information, and her statement was inappropriate because it was emotional. If you are curious to know exactly what was said, Jess Puglisi recorded the entire meeting for WGXC. That recording can be heard here

After the public comments had been heard, the Planning Board moved on to its regular meeting, but they did not close the public hearing. DePietro indicated that the board will continue to accept information pertinent to the dock project until their regular meeting in August. 

The board then heard the amendment proposed for parking at Galvan Armory to create the spaces required if COARC Starting Place is to move into the basement of the building. (More on that later.) That done, the conversation returned to the dock, when Colarusso engineer P. J. Prendergast asked if the board needed more information from him. There was an exchange between Mitch Khosrova, counsel to the Planning Board, and Prendergast and the lawyer standing in for John Privitera about the relevance of information sought by the board. Prendergast asserted that the volume of mining undertaken was irrelevant, because mining activity was overseen by other regulatory agencies. DePietro objected, telling Prendergast that "the volume speaks to things that are under our purview." Prendergast denied that the dock repair had anything to do with the intensification of industrial activity. 

On the topic of truck traffic to the dock, Khosrova told Prendergast, "The board needs to know that it is within the threshold of safety. Colarusso certainly has the numbers for how many trucks go to the dock." He later pointed out that the only information provided so far was that the peak number was 142 round trips a day. To objections from the Colarusso lawyer that this information was not relevant to the dock repair, which he stressed was done for public safety, Khosrova insisted that the dock and the haul road were integrally related: "If you didn't have the dock, you wouldn't need the haul road; if you didn't have the haul road, you wouldn't need the dock."

When Khosrova asked about mitigation for noise and dust at the dock, Prendergast claimed, as he has before, that the source of dust problem was Rick's Point, which he called "the parking lot for the city park," where, he complained, there was "not any improvement at all." The following video, provided to Gossips by a reader, effectively puts the lie to Prendergast's claim that dust does not emanate from the Colarusso dock.



  1. Colarusso is not running anything close to 142 trucks a day. That is a bullshit number intended to set the baseline for truck traffic much higher than it actually is.

  2. The only reason the landowner is now forced to stand before the City is due to an erroneous judgement about relevancy. Whatever the company's lawyers believe to be relevant or not relevant to the Planning Board's evaluation is of little account.

    The holistic approach in the Planning Board's evaluation, which was also reiterated in every public comment, is given with the zoning itself. The landowner will greet this unanimous approach with suspicion, but the approach was laid out in sufficient detail by City and State attorneys in preparation for the 2011 zoning amendments.

    Have the company's lawyers really not absorbed the meaning of the Zoning Code? Their arguments are helpful, though, in getting Hudson officials and residents to penetrate and value the intent of the Code.

  3. " give them an inch and they will take a mile" following code is for peons apparently

  4. What should be the penalty for Colarusso doing what's necessary to provide the governor with a improved pier?

    1. Colarusso doesn't even own the pier. The face of the wharf, at very least, is owned by the people of the State of New York.

      The company admits as much, the only question being how much of the wharf is owned by New York state?