Friday, August 25, 2017

News from City Hall

Gossips just received the following press release from Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton:
Today the City of Hudson commenced an Article 78 lawsuit challenging the SEQRA “negative declaration” issued by the Town of Greenport Planning Board on July 25, in relation to the proposed modifications to the Colarusso haul road crossing the South Bay. The haul road, which crosses the South Bay causeway and terminates onto South Front Street at the Hudson waterfront, is a road by which heavy gravel trucks travel from the Colarusso quarry in Greenport to the commercial dock at the Hudson Waterfront. The Hudson waterfront area is of great concern to the City of Hudson as a whole, and this step—filing the Article 78 lawsuit—is needed to ensure that a proper and sustainable balance of uses and activities is maintained in the waterfront area, and that projects are carried out in ways that minimize unnecessary and avoidable adverse impacts upon the City. 
The essential purpose of SEQRA review is to require that before a project proceeds, it must be shown to be the course of action feasible to the applicant that has the least adverse impact on the surrounding community. I think that is an objective that all citizens of Hudson can support, and that is the objective pursued by the filing of this Article 78 lawsuit. 
Under New York law, when a proposed project may result in significant adverse environmental impacts, the reviewing lead agency is required to render what is called a “positive declaration.” The effect of a positive declaration is that it requires the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS. The importance of an EIS is that an EIS requires the applicant to do the following: 1) elaborate on the potential adverse impacts of the project, 2) identify and evaluate all viable alternatives, and 3) demonstrate that, among the reasonable alternatives available, the action taken is the one that best avoids or minimizes adverse environmental impacts. In short, an EIS ensures that a proposed project’s objectives are carried out by the best feasible means. 
In this environmental review, the Greenport Planning Board served as the lead agency. The City of Hudson and the Hudson Planning Board, however, were involved agencies and were entitled both to provide input into the lead agency’s decision and to have their input taken seriously. Many people, including residents of Hudson, City of Hudson officials, and legal counsel retained in this matter, have expressed their view that the legitimate concerns of Hudson and its residents were discounted or minimized and feel that the Greenport Planning Board failed to properly evaluate the potential impacts of the haul road expansion proposal on the City of Hudson, as is required by New York State Law. In addition, because the Greenport Planning Board adopted a “negative declaration” and did not require Colarusso to prepare an EIS, the City and its Planning Board have been deprived of the benefits of having an EIS prepared by the applicant. The City’s recourse, in light of the Greenport Planning Board’s inadequate consideration of the impacts on Hudson, is to submit the decision to the courts for review.  The lawsuit asks that the negative declaration be reversed, and that an EIS be mandated. 


  1. Best news I've seen in a long time. I attended most all of the sessions in Greenport, and can report that the process was a total sham.

  2. Congratulations Madame Mayor for doing the right thing.

    Whether or not people support the Colarusso proposal, the lawsuit concerns the conduct of members of the Greenport Planning Board who, to all appearances, were only looking out for their friends. Why else did Greenport want to be Lead Agency so badly? The proposal hardly effects the Town.

    We're going to hear a lot about "getting trucks off the streets," which of course the company can do any time it chooses. That's even a good first example of something the SEQR Lead Agency ought to have discovered, though Greenport's SEQR review really was a "sham" to quote eastjeezus.

    An astonishing detail which we're all underestimating is that everyone in the City prefers that the trucks leave our streets for good. Everyone also accepts that the company must use its existing causeway to achieve this, which is a plan memorialized in the zoning amendments of 2001.

    This is all news to Greenport, although the Applicant certainly grasps it. The company also understands that it can only expand its business at our waterfront if it builds a bigger road. Thus the fraudulent concern about "trucks on the streets" heard from fewer City officials than seven years ago:

    A shallow interpretation of the gentleman quoted in the comments section of the above post would believe him concerned with existing patterns of population concentration and distribution, and existing community or neighborhood character. Not so!

    With today's news, it would behoove us to consider the definition of "environment" provided by the State of New York. Following are the issues which Greenport should have analyzed, but didn't. Greenport took a shallow look rather than SEQRA's "hard look."

    "'Environment' means the physical conditions which will be affected by a proposed action, including land, air, water, minerals, flora, fauna, noise, objects of historic or aesthetic significance, existing patterns of population concentration, distribution, or growth, and existing community or neighborhood character," (ECL) §8-0105(6).

  3. What a waste of taxpayer dollars!