Monday, March 19, 2018

They're Back

This morning, it was discovered that a vanguard from GSI (GeoStabilization International) has returned to the scene of the crime: the escarpment along the railroad tracks in Hudson.

Gossips followed the story last summer and fall, as GSI stripped the rock face of all vegetation, removed loose stones, and installed anchor bolts. When Historic Hudson, Scenic Hudson, and the City of Hudson raised a ruckus about this happening without a coastal consistency review by the Department of State, a stop work order was issued, but it wasn't enforced until after part of the rock had already been sprayed with the dreaded shotcrete.

On September 26, there was a long awaited public meeting with the Department of Transportation, during which the DOT stressed how critical the work was because of the imminent danger of pieces of the cliff breaking free and falling onto the railroad tracks. The public was given until October 11 to comment on the project, and many did, asking why slide fences couldn't be installed at the base of the cliff instead of permanently defacing the cliff by spraying it with concrete. 

Despite the appeals, two days later, on October 13, 2017, the Department of State made its determination that the "proposed activity, which has been modified, is consistent with the New York Coastal Management Program." Here's the description of the "proposed activity, which has been modified":
The scaling of exposed sections of rock face to remove loose material; the installation of anchor bolts; the installation of drainage infrastructure; the application of tinted and sculpted sprayed concrete to the rock face; and the installation of vine like planted material at the top of the rock face.
The modifications were that the shotcrete will be "tinted and sculpted" and "vine like planted material" will be installed at the top of the rock face.

It appears that GSI has now returned to carry out the last three steps: installing the drainage infrastructure, applying the tinted and sculpted concrete, and installing the "vine like planted material" that's meant to convince us that this is a natural rock face.


  1. It appears that only two of the NYSDOS's eleven "Criteria for General [Coastal] Concurrence" applied in the circumstances.

    1. "Other than for the exercise of riparian or littoral rights the activity is entirely on property owned or otherwise authorized by the owner for use by the proponent of the activity."

    Yes, CSX owns the bluff beneath the Promenade.

    2. "The activity is compatible with community character in design, size, and materials."

    Other than ownership, everything turned on this single criterion presented here in its entirety. This tells us that the DOS made an aesthetic call on our behalves, and also against our wishes.

    The Criteria for General Concurrence is found in Section 9, page 13:

  2. "vine like planted material"

    how quaint