The repairs to the dock, undertaken without a required site plan review, and the proposed alterations to the haul road through South Bay are still before the Planning Board. On August 25, the City filed an Article 78 "to annul, vacate, and set aside the July 25, 2017, approval by respondent Town of Greenport Planning Board of a 'Negative Declaration' under the State Environmental Quality Review Act" on the Colarusso haul road proposal. There is a lot happening with regard to the Colarusso proposal, and at the center of much of it, by virtue of being the chair of the Planning Board, is Tom DePietro, one of the two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Common Council president in next week's primary. Today, the other candidate seeking to be the Democrats' choice for Common Council president, Steve Dunn interjected himself into the situation by sending a letter to Paul Colarusso, president of A. Colarusso & Sons.
During the candidates' debate last week, Dunn posited, "Half of life in just showing up," and went on to say, "Everyone should do what they can without regard for role or title." That's exactly what Dunn seems to have done. In a four-page letter, which he copied to the mayor, the city attorney, the executive editor and a reporter at the Register-Star, and Gossips, Dunn urges Colarusso (the company) to "change its tactics and reach out to the City of Hudson and negotiate with it in good faith to find a mutually acceptable resolution to its haul road proposal and avoid forcing Hudson to take action to permanently shut down over time the industrial activity at its port facility." The letter begins:
Your present course of action with respect to your company's pursuit of its haul road proposal is unwise, and ultimately self-defeating. I am writing this letter to try to persuade you to change course, and negotiate with Hudson in a cooperative manner to work towards a solution that both sides would find acceptable.
Your present tactics make no sense to me. If your goal . . . is solely to enhance the safety of Hudson's residents by reducing the use of Colarusso's haul trucks on Hudson's streets, and has no pecuniary motive, either to reduce Colarusso's operating costs, expand the volume of its operations or otherwise, then Colarusso's actions to date are inexplicable.
If, in fact, Colarusso's objective is to reduce its operating costs and enhance volume, with a view to selling out to a third party at a handsome profit, or otherwise, then in the end Colarusso's realization of such and objective is doomed to failure, and will ultimately result in the termination of all industrial activity on its dock parcel, for the reasons stated below. Thus, whatever Colarusso's real goals, they cannot be realized using Colarusso's present tactics.The reasons Dunn references take the form of "three obstacles" to ongoing dock operation, which are explained later in the letter. Again quoting from the letter:
- The haul road on Colarusso's property as it approaches Front Street crosses in the C-R zoning district, and cannot be widened absent a change of zoning, which will not happen. . . .
- The 4.38 acre legal parcel south of the dock legal parcel is likely still owned by the City of Hudson. . . . As a consequence, the City of Hudson and its licensees and invitees would have ingress and egress easement rights to the 4.38 acre parcel on a road that crosses through the dock parcel, interfering with the industrial operations on the dock facility. . . .
- Finally, the City of Hudson has the right at any time to adopt an amendment to its zoning code, "amortizing" out of existence the industrial use of the dock facility, the length of which amortization period is based on a formula involving the dock facility land owner recovering its investment cost for the acquisition of such facility, less its value when used for non industrial purposes, and no more. . . .
Dunn goes on to suggest that, "rather than expend its funds on a host of lawyers and consultants," Colarusso should "redirect them to a solution that does not involve its trucks traversing through the Hudson waterfront front." The two possibilities he suggests are a conveyor over the railroad tracks and reviving the idea of hauling gravel through Hudson on rail cars.
During the debate last week, when asked how he would approach the job of Council president, Dunn spoke of using "the skills I've developed as an attorney to help fashion compromise that works for both sides," adding, "That's what attorneys do." Dunn, whose only official role in city government now is as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, seems to be using those skills on behalf of the City even before he is officially a candidate for Council president, but he did say he thought "everyone should do what they can without regard for role or title."
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