Friday, September 22, 2017

More Colarusso News

The Register-Star just reported that Paul A. Colarusso, in a meeting with the Register-Star today, announced that the company is countersuing the City of Hudson, the Hudson Planning Board, and Hudson Development & Planning Agency. The story is reported by Amanda Purcell: "A. Colarusso and Son announce countersuit against Hudson."


  1. What great neighbors!! First Colarusso beats up the City of Hudson with their noxious truck traffic, and then they file suit. They don't seem to have an ounce of political sophistication.

  2. Has any City entity announced that it will be the "Lead Agency" for an imminent SEQR review?

    Nope. Instead, apparently based on a single comment made by the Planning Board attorney, the Plaintiff drew a premature conclusion.

    This lawsuit will be tossed out for a failure of "ripeness."

    But is it supposed to serve another, greater purpose, one in which a loss in court is immaterial?

    1. Now that we've actually seen the suit, the SEQR complaint is the "kitchen sink" thrown in for good measure.

    2. 1.

      Most of this lawsuit will not survive the ripeness test, but it seems that SEQR was thrown in to settle a bill-paying dispute. It's unsurprising that the terms of the dispute have implications for the role and the authority of the City Planning Board.

      As we heard during the last Planning Board Meeting (9/14), at this late hour the City is still inchoate when it comes to the matter and spirit of segmentation (though a technical term from the State's "SEQR" Act, for the following let's consider "segmentation" to mean, generally, the artificial separation of the components of a single project for the purpose of reviewing each component discretely).

      To all appearances, at its 9/14 meeting the Planning Board capitulated on whether or not the bulkhead review was related to the road proposal. For non-SEQR purposes the Planning Board's answer was No, and for the rest of the meeting a single overall proposal was divided into two discrete projects: a bulkhead and a proposed road.

      This change in policy contrasted with the City's previous distrust of segmentation, and was to be the subject of a final public comment cut off by the termination of the meeting (thus the called-out "read Gossips!," where the would-be comment appeared in the next-day's thread).

      Whether the context is a SEQR review proper, or only a Planning Board review pursuant to our Zoning Code, it's only rarely justified to segment a review by separating various projects from an apparently whole proposal. In the context of a planning review, the parallel to SEQR was made plain in a statement by the NYSDOS in 2011, to the effect that a conditional use permit issued for a single action in the C-R District is meant to trigger a review of the owner's entire property.

    3. 2.

      The legal challenge to the City attorney's invoice (found wherever the suit evokes SEQR) exploits our Planning Board's confusion where it combines projects in one context and separates them in another seemingly with no overarching philosophy.

      Parsing the August 17 letter from the Planning Board attorney to the applicant-cum-Plaintiff (attached to the lawsuit), we may infer that fees "related to the SEQRA determination" applied to work our attorney understood as having bridged the bulkhead and road proposals, each of which underwent their own SEQR reviews.

      But didn't this same City attorney create his own problems when agreeing to artificially separate one proposal into two for the purpose of the 9/14 meeting? What was the logic there?

      The Plaintiff is correct that any two SEQR reviews conducted for unrelated projects cannot overlap in the SEQR context. However, both reviews necessarily overlapped with the work of the City Planning Board which, for billing purposes anyway, entailed a special responsibility to preserve any and all such distinctions.

      Instead, and certainly from the time of its letter to NYSDEC Commissioner Seggos arguing for Lead Agency status, the City Planning Board still lacks a coherent vision of the City's Zoning Code, and the responsibilities that it entails not only for that Board but for the Zoning Board of Appeals as well. (As with the letter to Seggos, the Planning Board was ill-prepared to argue the inclusion of zoning issues in the Town of Greenport's SEQR review, let alone grasp the now-understood involvement of the City's Zoning Board of Appeals).

      That said, and notwithstanding the NYSDEC's improper segmentation of one review into two, neither SEQR review holds any sway over the manner in which the Planning Board may conduct its own review(s) of an applicant's serial applications. Indeed, the City is obligated not to perpetuate the spirit of segmentation which the NYSDEC arguably committed (in the technical sense) when it embraced the applicant's claims about its own bulkhead project.

      By answering our attorney's invoice with a legal challenge, the applicant/Plaintiff means to drive a wedge between the City's proper avoidance of segmentation in the SEQRA context and the Planning Board's unformed thinking about whether, and to what degree, it may review serial applications as part of an interrelated whole.

      The needlessly vague invoice of the City attorney which glossed over these issues practically invited the lawsuit's complaints in regard SEQR, and in a way which may determine the Planning Board's reviewing authority henceforth.

  3. I say let the trucks use the terrible streets in Hudon to get back and forth to the docks. Roads will be worse, pot holes and such. Then call A C and sons to fix the roads. Win win for Colarusso. In my opinion. Hudson is so backwards. And most of the city people come up across the Tappan
    Zee or a tunnel. Where's the rock come from??? ACS. SO KEEP using ACS, Y'ALL BE BEGGING THEM SOON TO FIX THE ROADS. JUST MY OPINION

  4. Colarusso Co still thinks it can come down on Hudson like a ton of bricks, not any more.{ We just fixed the bulkhead because we want to be good neighbor }. I don't know when that dock was built. Of course it had eroded so it need some work, because it would not last long before it fell into the river. 100's of tones of stone are dumped there for barge loading. With truck coming and going, heavy loaders moving around that undermines the dock,and Calarusso Co want the dock in good order. Good neighbor my ass.

  5. A cynical SLAPP suit. End of story.

    1. Well worth defining:

      "A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition."

  6. Ah so nice of them to sue the taxpayers of Hudson. One mans profits over those suckers paying into the local coffers. We must listen to sir Colarusso so he can not just have his house in Aspen, but perhaps purchase a fourth home in Key Largo as well.

    The rich have their needs too!

  7. About those references to "interstate commerce," the Plaintiff acknowledges that the causeway is a nonconforming use in the City of Hudson Code. In other words, the lawsuit tacitly recognizes no contradiction between this one local statute and federal expectations for interstate relations.

    Rather, the complaint relating to "interstate commerce" rests entirely on the mere potential for "further regulation" by the City, and not on actual acts or injuries perpetrated by the City thus far.

    The lawsuit's repeated references to "interstate commerce" concern acts which have yet to occur! (this goes to the question of "ripeness").

    Nor do I suspect that such acts would occur, despite the City's fair questions about projected truck numbers. To the degree that these numbers may indicate a planned intensification of the business, they also enlighten the City's concerns regarding William Sharp's catalogue of conditional uses.

    At worst, a court would perform a "balancing act" after requiring the Plaintiff to explain why local dust regulations are particularly discriminatory in the context of interstate commerce?

    But the Plaintiff's perception that the City may attempt to regulate business volume is not the same thing as its having done so.

    For the best explanation about the mention of "interstate commerce", see Signifier's SLAPP comment above.

  8. The city and state restricted interstate commerce 150 years ago, when they decided to sever all but one goat path to the people's shore.

    By placing the RR tracks where they did every new city "restriction" further obstructs the free flow of interstate commerce which is regulated by federal authority, not state nor city code.

  9. The three most powerful people on the planet are right now collaborating on infrastructure in New York and the argument is about a haul road?