Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Back to the Causeway

Gossips was just alerted to the fact that Colarusso regraded the causeway today.

What makes this newsworthy is that it apparently was done in blatant violation of Hudson's Core Riverfront zoning. 

On September 26, 2011, when the Common Council was about to adopt the City's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, William Sharp, the principal attorney for the NYS Department of State, explained the significance of the Core Riverfront District (C-R), shown in kelly green on the map below.

Sharp stated: "There is a list of actions which will trigger the need for a conditional use permit. . . . It would be at the point where something happens on the property, where the paving of the road--or the road needs to be regraded; if that's regraded, they're going to have to get conditional use permit for the entire property." The proceedings of the meeting were recorded and can be heard here. The first sentence quoted above is at 1:05:30; the second is at 1:08:26.

If the LWRP zoning, which was adopted by the City and is in force, despite the fact that Hudson's is not a "fully approved" LWRP, requires that regrading the causeway triggers the need for a conditional use permit for the entire property, why did this happen without a conditional use permit granted by the Planning Board?



  1. Ken Dow quoted from that same transcript when he wrote the City's response to the Colarusso lawsuit (re: bulkhead). Mr. Dow was confident that William Sharp's explanation of the amended zoning was, and is, permissible and appropriate in court. In a footnote to the court, he even provided the same link to the online audio which Gossips provides above. It's as good as a testimony, or it certainly will be if and when Sharp is asked to stand by his words.

    As for the "LWRP zoning," I think we can drop the LWRP part. The Council adopted new zoning in preparation for something that never happened, at least at the State level. Just the same, we still amended our zoning which we can now call by any name we like, such as our "2011 zoning."

  2. There's too much looking the other way; the City has to enforce the law.

  3. We all need gravel yes .... but we all need laws .... so is this the discretionary anarchy of the gravel bully in the City of Hudson? They do not have to obey the law? Where is the Common Council ? Where is the Mayor ? Where is the code enforcement ? Where is the Zoning ? Oh I get it they are all at the quarry having a good time and need to get to the waterfront for the sunset ?

  4. Blatant disregard of the law and of the public. Code Enforcement should be on top of this at once. And where does the City's Article 78 against Colarusso stand? Sitting on a Judge's desk or what? Enough of running roughshod over the laws.

  5. It turns out it was the City itself that gave Colarusso the okay.

    Evidently without consulting the text for the Core Riverfront Zoning District, the action was deemed "maintenance" beforehand, and that was that.

    However, under the Core Riverfront District at §325-17.1 at "(F) Standards for Conditional uses," the Code specifies "resurfacing of and improvements to the dock operations including private roads providing ingress and egress ..." Beneath that we find standards for "grading."

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines "regrade [as] to grade again," and the verb "to grade [is to] reduce (a road) to an easy gradient."

    Regrading is typically done to make land more level, and regrading and leveling are often used synonymously.

    Unusual to find in Zoning Code Definitions in New York State municipalities, the Town of Smithtown defines "regrading" as "any rearrangement of the topography of a property."

    The Town of Grand Island, NY defines "regrading" as "the excavating, leveling, removing, moving or sloping of topsoil, earth, gravel or other fill."

    A city in Minnesota, Vadnais Heights, is very specific when defining "regrading" as "the redistribution of more than six (6) cubic yards upon the same lot of any natural materials including earth, black dirt, peat, sand, rock, gravel, or sod."

    Recall that when the east causeway was given its initial surface around New Year's 2016, an action which widened the narrow dirt road to encroach inside the four-year-old Recreational Conservation District, the City deemed it "maintenance," also making no reference to the Code descriptions for either affected District.

    So the City is the lawbreaker and the City is the problem. It's the Rector administration that's failing to defend our interests as preserved in the Code amendments of 2011.

    As Pogo said, we have met the enemy and he is us.