Friday, December 15, 2017

Sticks and Stones and All That

Gossips has twice mentioned the ill-considered language in Hudson's DRI application--back in August and this past Tuesday. Earlier today, Enid Futterman published a link to the latter post on, with the title "The (fatal?) flaw in the DRI." This was followed up by a scathing criticism by Julie Metz, also published on, of both the language and the response of those responsible when its potential consequences were pointed out: "First Do No Harm: Words, the DRI, and Hudson's Future."



  1. Each of the City's various bodies should consider going on record to protest the HDC's choice of language. The HDC has put undo pressure on the respective determinations which lie ahead for each, when the full count of involved City agencies is still poorly understood.

    State law specifies that the HDC's powers are limited before the City's legislature, and our Common Council has already received a concerned letter about the proposal from the Conservation Advisory Council. This can be forwarded to the mayor with a supportive line or two.

    Because the HDC claimed to speak on behalf of the entire City, the Common Council, the Planning Board, and (when it awakens to its role) the ZBA may go on record with some sort of statement. If their statements only address their concerns for a fair process, then that is better than nothing.

    Even if it's only a few sentences, a letter addressed to the current mayor from anyone who witnessed so many irregularities on their watch - from the illegal road-building east of Route 9-G, to the illegal bulkhead and revetment, to the dishonest road proposal itself (just wait till you see where the company claims our zoning boundaries lie!) - can leave a lasting legacy by going on record to criticize the HDC's poor choice of words.

    Everyone knows that the incoming government will take too long to catch up, so we're relying on the lame ducks to step up one last time. Will our politicians and appointed officials use these final weeks to do nothing, or will they decide that this issue is worth one last effort?

    Please, make a record of some kind.

  2. It is completely inappropriate for the City's economic development agency to be cheerleading an applicant while they have an active review in front of the Planning Board.

    1. Yes, it is most inappropriate.

      But if the involved City agencies voice no protest, then they're seen as implicitly agreeing with the language of the DRI application.

      I hope our officials realize that the imposition was caused by the broad statements of the HDC, and not caused by the public which hopes to mitigate the overall damage. I hope that our officials can recognize the difference and then do the right thing.

  3. Before Greenport argued to dismiss Hudson's Article 78 petition, the City was merely challenging the sufficiency of Greenport's SEQR review. (Colarusso is named as co-Respondant only as a technical requirement.)

    By quoting the DRI application in response, Greenport has accomplished a shift in which the court may now judge the overall value of the proposal. That's a different question than whether or not SEQR was honored.

    Greenport claims that the City is being capricious and unfair against the applicant - and by extension against Greenport - when in a different context the City profits by a claim in the DRI that it actually supports the Colarusso proposal.

    But for argument's sake, say that the City does support the proposal and that the DRI application gave an accurate account. In that case, where's the contradiction between supporting the proposal and also suing Greenport over its SEQR review? It's neither capricious nor arbitrary, to use Greenport's words, for someone to support a proposal and at the same time expect that a decent SEQR review be conducted, particularly where health effects must be properly mitigated.

    The alleged contradiction actually reveals some questionable attitudes among members of the Greenport Planning Board, and anyone who sees no purpose in the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) other than its potential weaponization in the hands of those who oppose projects.

    It's a short path from that kind of thinking to the assumption that anyone who supports a proposal will naturally welcome an insufficient SEQR review.

    So besides Greenport's implicit admission that it has aligned itself with the applicant's goals (by shifting the discussion away from the petition's actual complaints about the environmental review), when Greenport points to the DRI application for the City's supposed contradiction it is actually providing evidence of its own distorted notions about SEQRA.

    Thus, without taking sides over the application and the proposal which City agencies must still consider, the City's Planning Board and other involved bodies could document an important question in letters to the mayor and to their respective legal advisors:

    Do the courts perceive that properly conducted SEQR reviews imply hostility towards proposals, whereas those proposals which enjoy the support of majorities may acceptably fall short of the expectations of SEQRA?

    This seems to be Greenport's assumption, without which there's no contradiction between the disingenuous garbage thought up by the authors of the DRI application and the same city's court challenge over a SEQR review.

    Where it perceives a contradiction, the Greenport Planning Board is revealing its basic assumptions about SEQRA, which are arbitrary, capricious, and ultimately lawless.