The Germantown Waterfront Advisory Committee hosted a group of about 40 people for about 1.5 hours early on Sunday morning to review and plan a course of action to respond to the proposed Amtrak gates & fences. We were joined by Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, Germantown Sportsman's Association, the Columbia County Sportsman's Federation, Trout Unlimited, the Germantown Fire Department, residents, and local business owners.
Germantown's Supervisor, Robert Beaury, was also in attendance. He plans to write a letter to the Department of State to request additional information. The letter will also request that the current comment period be halted, as many feel there are too few details with which to make informed comments. The Town will instead request that the DOC conduct meetings with the public in each affected municipality, and that a new 30-day comment period start at the conclusion of the last meeting. Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson plan to write a joint letter requesting the same.
In parallel, the Germantown Waterfront Advisory Committee plans to continue research and outreach efforts in order to fully comprehend the potential impacts to the Town, and to form alliances with potential partners in addressing the proposal. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.The letter from Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper to the Department of State referenced in the press release begins:
Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper have each received numerous phone calls and emails expressing opposition to Amtrak's proposal to install gates and/or fences along the railroad right-of-way in Rhinebeck (Rhinecliff), Tivoli, Germantown, Stockport and Stuyvesant. As longstanding proponents of expanding public access to the Hudson River, we share their concerns. . . .The letter concludes:
Given the outpouring of public concern and the need for the public to participate meaningfully in this decision-making process, both Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper believe the 15-day public comment period is partial to the applicant's interest and insufficient for affected stakeholders. Fifteen days is simply not enough time to capture the public's concerns regarding the proposal's impact on the loss of river access and to viewsheds. Public information provided by Amtrak to date is completely inadequate making meaningful public comment impossible. Additionally, we believe that the proposed gate and/or fence installation, while part of one application, have very different ramifications at each location, and as such require separate public meetings.
Therefore we request that public information meetings be held in each municipality where gate and/or fence installations are proposed--Rhinecliff, Tivoli, Germantown, Stockport and Stuyvesant. Rail representatives must provide each community with the specific details of all proposed gates and/or fences and provide data to justify each project individually. Each meeting must be part of the official public record with a stenographer recording all public comments. Only upon the conclusion of the final community meeting, should a 30-day comment period begin. This would ensure that everyone interested in this issue has ample opportunity to submit informed written comments to the Department of State.Gossips will stay on this issue as it develops. Meanwhile, the current public comment period ends on Thursday, March 29, at 4:30 p.m.
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