Thursday, September 21, 2017

Who's the ZEO?

On August 29, the South Bay Coalition submitted a formal request to the "City of Hudson Zoning Enforcement Officer" for "an accurate delineation of all boundaries between the City's Recreational Conservation District and its Core Riverfront district." The request goes on to say: "The requested clarification is a necessary prerequisite for public understanding of a road proposal by A. Colarusso and Son, Inc. . . . " 

As is illustrated on the zoning map below, the Core Riverfront District (C-R)—the darker shade of greenextends like a rat's tail through the Recreational Conservation District (R-C)the lighter shade of greenacross South Bay to Hudson's border with Greenport on the east side of Route 9G. The rat's tail, of course, is the path of the controversial haul road.

It's important to know the exact width and location of the rat's tail as it cuts through South Bay because the proposal to move and widen the roadway may result in the road encroaching on the Recreational Conservation (R-C) District where a roadway for heavy industrial vehicles would be prohibited. Steve Dunn, in his letter to Colarusso president Paul Colarusso, noted a specific "choke point" where the haul road could not be widened without encroaching into the R-C District. The following is quoted from Dunn's 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 change of zoning, which will not happen. The attached zoning map, and graphic of where the haul road crosses out of the R-C zoning distruct and into the C-R zoning district, and where it is now only one lane wide (the "choke point" area), are submitted herewith. This for this portion of its haul road, the Colarusso trucks will need to continue to go "single file."
The map referenced by Dunn is reproduced below:

The original request from the South Bay Coalition, which was signed by sixteen people, was addressed to the "Zoning Enforcement Officer," but it turns out no one knew who the Zoning Enforcement Officer was. Craig Haigh, who is the Code Enforcement Officer, maintained that it wasn't his job, so for close to a month, the request for information was more or less in limbo while City Hall tried to figure out whose job it was to determine zoning district boundaries.

Last night, at the monthly meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals, ZBA chair Lisa Kenneally read a letter from Mayor Tiffany Martin Hamilton asking the ZBA to determine the boundaries between the Core Riverfront (C-R) and the Recreational Conservation (R-C) districts. The letter explained:
This request is spurred by several recent events or inquiries: a request was made to the City and forwarded to my office from a member of the public 
 asking for such a determination; a member of the ZBA, Steve Dunn, published a letter and information raising the question of whether the boundaries of the C-R district fully encompassed the "haul road" that is currently the subject of Planning Board review; and a letter dated September 14 from engineers Barton & Loguidice to the Planning Board in relation to the haul road recommended "the Planning Board solicit a formal decision from the appropriate City authority in relation to the zoning district," noting further that "The official Zoning Map appears to show that the proposed haul road may require crossing the Recreational Conservation (R-C) and the Industrial (I-1) Districts.
The mayor urged the ZBA to gather the information needed to issue a determination. Kenneally told her colleagues on the ZBA, "We can't determine this on our own, but we have the tools to do so," explaining that they would be seeking "information and guidance from the lawyers and engineers."

1 comment:

  1. NYS General City Law, §81-a(4): "Unless otherwise provided by local law or ordinance, the jurisdiction of the board of appeals shall be appellate only ... [etc]."

    City of Hudson Code, at §325-37.A(2): "The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have all the powers and duties prescribed by law and by this chapter, which are more particularly specified as follows ... Determination of the exact location of any district boundary shown on the Zoning Map."

    Damn, how'd I miss that?!

    Many thanks to our City's clever lawyers for not missing it, and also to Craig Haigh who correctly surmised that this interpretation was not his to make.