About half the fencing in Phase 1 of the proposal would be installed in Germantown, seriously impairing access to the river, and the Germantown Waterfront Committee has taken the lead in opposing the plan. On Saturday, the committee, in collaboration with Scenic Hudson, hosted a forum that explored balancing rail safety with public access. Reports about the forum have already appeared on HudsonValley360 and The Other Hudson Valley, but there are a few additional takeaways from the meeting of particular interest to Gossips readers.
The project must undergo a Coastal Consistency Review by the New York State Department of State. On Saturday, Jeff Anzevino of Scenic Hudson attributed Amtrak's recognition that they were subject to this review to the community opposition here in Hudson to Amtrak's plans to cover our rock face with shotcrete. The plan was discovered in July 2017 by a Gossips reader, and Gossips raised the alarm. The final outcome is less than perfect, but it is better than it might have been, and the attention we in Hudson brought to Amtrak and its activity along the river seem to be having long-term positive impacts.
The State Coastal Policies that are particularly relevant to the proposal to install fences and gates are these:
Policy 19 Protect, maintain, and increase the level and types of access to public water related recreation resources and facilities.
Policy 20 Access to the publicly owned foreshore and to lands immediately adjacent to the foreshore or the water's edge that are publicly owned shall be provided and it shall be provided in a manner compatible with adjoining uses.
Policy 21 Water dependent and water enhanced recreation will be encouraged and facilitated, and will be given priority over non-water related uses along the coast.Anzevino reminded people on Saturday that it was the State Coastal Policies that defeated St. Lawrence Cement and brought to an end the six-year-long battle against the proposal to build what was to be the world's largest coal-fired cement plant in Greenport. Anzevino also stressed the importance of having a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program in place, which "gives communities leverage in these issues"--something we need to bear in mind here in Hudson.
As things stand now, Amtrak, in response to a letter from the supervisors of the affected towns in Columbia County, said the plans would be "tweaked." Two public meetings were promised, which, it seems, will be informational meetings not public hearings. As Anzevino told the group gathered in Germantown on Saturday, the immediate goal is: "When this starts back up, we're mobilized."
To get up to speed on this issue, if you're not already, visit Gatesgate.org.
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