At the Common Council meeting on June 16, Alderman Shershah Mizan once again brought up the issue of gravel trucks, reiterating his desire that the Common Council make a recommendation to the Planning Board to grant Colarusso the conditional use permit needed to relocate, widen, and pave its private road through South Bay. Council president Tom DePietro told Mizan, "You can write to the Planning Board. It's not our job to second guess them."
Jeff Baker, counsel to the Council and formerly counsel to the Planning Board as well, advised that the Council as a whole could "make their views known." He also informed them, "The Planning Board can be made to come before the Council to report on what they are doing." DePietro said he would write to the chair of the Planning Board "to invite them to present to the Council and see what their timeline is."
Mizan is not alone in his desire to pressure the Planning Board to grant the conditional use permit. Gossips has learned that, last week, Fourth Ward supervisor Linda Mussmann sent letters to people who live or work on Green Street and Columbia Street, the route of the Colarusso gravel trucks through the city. In one of those letters, which found its way to Gossips, Mussmann identifies herself as "a friend of Tina Sharpe," executive director of Columbia Opportunities, and states: "I am organizing an effort to have people speak out about the Gravel Trucks that pass near your door daily here in Hudson, NY. I am seeking support for people to draft letters speaking to the need to address this heavy use of our streets here in Hudson--this traffic can move if the Hudson Planning board will give them the permits that Colarusso seeks to seek an alternative route--thereby removing the gravel trucks from Greene St." She then notes, "A July 14 deadline is approaching for the public to speak out," and offers to assist and send "more material on this effort."
Over the weekend, the sign in front of Mizan's house at the corner of Fairview Avenue and Green Street gained an addendum, which asserts that the issue of the gravel trucks is a matter of environmental justice.
The effort to get the Planning Board to give Colarusso the desired conditional use permits ignores two things. First, the Colarusso gravel trucks are not the only trucks contributing to the "heavy use of our streets." If they are gone, we will still have to contend with the eighteen-wheelers that make their way through our streets. Second, and maybe more important, Colarusso could get their trucks off Hudson streets right now if they were willing to. The Greenport section of the haul road--from Route 9 to Route 9G--has been approved by the Greenport Planning Board and could be completed were it not for what P. J. Prendergast, engineer for Colarusso, called "a matter of economics."
At the Planning Board meeting on May 16, Prendergast argued, "There's no sense paving on the other side of 9G if they cannot pave through South Bay." John Privitera, lawyer for Colarruso, added, "It's not just construction costs. It's the legality. They cannot begin part of the project without getting approval of the whole thing." Baker, then counsel for the Planning Board, disagreed. "In terms of SEQR segmentation," he told Privitera, "they could start building the Greenport section. There is no legal bar from them doing that now."
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