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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I am looking for one or two locals interested in this issue to do an informal count of trucks on STATE STREET (and possibly Columbia). If you have a few hours available on weekday mornings for one or two days a week for a few weeks and can stand at a corner and count trucks tallying them on a piece of paper on a clipboard please let me know. No recompense involved, just the glory of being part of the movement to get the truck routes off of our streets. Email me at email@example.com serious inquiries only, please.ReplyDelete
Remember, what matters most is the POTENTIAL number of trucks to the waterfront (for any future owner too), and not the current truck numbers.Delete
The truck traffic through Hudson as a whole is a matter of environmental justice. However, granting the conditional use permit won't get the trucks off the city streets -- there's nothing in a conditional use permit to require Collarusso to use the haul road exclusively nor to keep their trucks off the city streets where they have a constitutional right to travel.ReplyDelete
The company has even acknowledged its plans to use city streets when it snows, if plowing the private road proves difficult.
As a matter of fact when the Colarusso lawyer stated on May 16, 2020 that "There's no sense paving on the other side of 9G if they cannot pave through South Bay," he was introducing a proposal which no one had ever contemplated before. The idea of paving the private road up through the woods to the mine was never entertained by either Greenport’s or Hudson’s Planning Boards.ReplyDelete
So as usual, the company was playing tricks with the City. Anyone paying attention has witnessed a continuous series of tricks, and knows how this has influenced the pace of the process.
But if people without the wherewithal to comprehend such things suppose they will hurry the SEQRA clock by bringing public pressure, then they understand even less about our laws than I’d supposed.
On the other hnd, to see the Common Council which is well informed about SEQR matters now piling on the pressure for the Planning Board is very disappointing.
It seems that everyone except the Planning Board is playing politics.
I say, hold fast Planning Board members. Find out on your own from NYSDOS if you're obligated to address this Common Council which is so hungry to politicize your task.
If Gossips has quoted the Council’s words accurately, then apparently its legal opinion was hasty and imprecise.ReplyDelete
Jeff Baker: "The Planning Board can be made to come before the Council to report …"
Tom DePietro: "[I will] invite them to present …"
Under General City Law, Section 27, no. 14, a Planning Board may be asked by the legislative body merely to “SUBMIT [a] REPORT.” There's nothing in the following about appearing or presenting said report.
“14. Report on referred matters; general reports. a. The legislative body of the city may by general or special rule provide for the reference of any matter or class of matters, other than those referred to in subdivision thirteen of this section [rules and regulations], to the planning board before final action is taken thereon by the legislative body or other office or officer of said city having final authority over said matter. The legislative body may further stipulate that final action thereon shall not be taken until the planning board has submitted its report thereon, or has had a reasonable time, to be fixed by the legislative body in said rule, to submit the report.”
Very well said John.ReplyDelete
But what we ought to be discussing is weight limits on trucks traversing city streets. In Hudson, THAT's the Environmental Justice issue of our time. (The trucks pass my window too!)ReplyDelete
Hey Gossips, is there any way you'd be willing to cover that part of the story? It was certainly discussed at length in the Council.
Weight limits of gravel trucks. This is our most pressing issue? Why?Delete
To show up at the end of a 12-year process and ask something as simplistic as that is beyond dopey. It’s the equivalent of a child asking why the sky is blue.Delete
Research the issue yourself. You can begin with the "search this blog" function above.
The Planning Board is an independent agency of the City that does not answer to the Common Council or its attorney. The PB should instruct its counsel to draft a stiff letter clarifying the relationship between the two bodies.ReplyDelete
The quickest, most direct way to get the trucks off Columbis St. Woukd be for the Planning Board to deny the haul road application. Otherwise, the application will have to go thru a full SEQR review where all the environmental impacts will be adjudicated. That would take two years or more, and will be a nightmare for all concerned. And the end result would be the same in any case-- the Colarusso operation imposes massive downside on Hudson with no economic upside for the City. SEQR is essentially a balancing act, and when the major negatives are weighed against the non-existent positives, the outcome will not be a happy one for the applicant.ReplyDelete
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I’m taxed way too much in Hudson to shrug at the health hazards of giant trucks and fugitive limestone dust. And I’m a fair distance from the gravel truck route. (Special message to special people: the state truck route through the city is a TOTALLY different issue.)Delete
G_F_T, you know so little about Hudson you must be new here. In 2001, the City did an extensive “generic” SEQR review on the same road in South Bay we’re talking about now. The City analyzed health issues and much, much more.
A new owner in 2014 was soon circumventing the very the subject of that 2011 SEQR review, proposed changes to our Zoning Code. With that study the creation of the Core-Riverfront Zoning District provided a legal red carpet for the owner to finish the agreed-upon alternative, a private road of wetlands and woodlands between State Routes 9 and 9G.
I’m not saying anything about anyone’s obligations, but at the end of 2015 the new owner upgraded and widened the entire length of that same private road with a subbase of #1 stone and a base course of item #4.
Four months later - 18 months after the land purchase - the owner got a bigger and better idea, a widened road across the bay. The company notified the Planning Board with a SEQR Environmental Assessment Form on which “Yes” was checked for the question, “Is the proposed action a permitted use under the zoning regulations?”
Please explain these events Gravel_Freaking_Trucks.
It's not just the gravel trucks. The whole idea of a major truck route running thru our City is nuts. Getting the gravel trucks off Columbia St. and the waterfront is just a start-- the larger goal is to re-route the trucks altogether.ReplyDelete
For the time being, while the forces of ignorance and self-interest are combining to undermine the legitimate process, we should treat with utter suspicious anyone who’s eager to discuss the state truck route right now.Delete
As Hudson’s gordian knot, to conflate the state truck route with the solvable gravel truck issue gives the advantage to those who'd only sew confusion.
It’s important enough to keep the issues separate that, right now, no one should be discussing the state truck route at all. There’s no advantage in it and much to lose.
Linda Mussman made a similar move 14 years ago as Chair of the city waterfront committee. She’s a pro at magnanimous gestures while she’s actually undermining process and public participation in pursuit of narrow self-interests.ReplyDelete
Today, only a month after the applicant announced a plan to pave the entire road by pretending the issue was discussed before a previous Planning Board, here comes the shameless Mussman waving her same little piece of paper, “Look everyone, it’s peace in our time!”
Supervisor Mussman offers worse than poor leadership. In her latest display of bad faith she is blatantly manipulating uneducated though decent people who have no knowledge of her shady history with the gravel truck issue.
I recently asked Linda Mussman why she put her large A frame sign denouncing the gravel trucks DIRECTLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIDEWALK across the street from TSL. (Of course, the useless sign wasn't blocking pedestrians in front of her business!) Her justifications for her code violation and disrespectful behavior were classic Mussman - selfish, laughable and puzzling, even concerning. Unheimlich, you are spot on - she is no help to anyone but herself. Actually, I think she is UNHELPFUL (as in damaging) to the rest of us as she prefers to operate solo missions. She is exasperating, and I told her so. B HUSTONDelete
Nailed it again!Delete
All along the way, through the meetings, court cases, absurd committee presentations, etc., Colarusso has always acted in bad faith. They've consistently attempted to bully our city into submission, when, in reality, Colarusso needs Hudson---but Hudson does not need Colarusso! Enough with this unfinished business: deny their request, find other vendors for their types of services, and let's move on to all of the other significant issues facing Hudson!!!ReplyDelete
Ah, but we do need Colarusso just a wee bit. The hostage is in no position to claim that it doesn't need the hostage taker.Delete
As a counter-offer to banish gravel trucks west of 3rd street, the city should do whatever it can to promote the identical compromise reached in 2011 with the previous owner. That's the same alternative the Zoning Code was amended to facilitate, and which the current owner purchased with its eyes wide open.
If more recent demands from the DOT now require a variance for the 2011 compromise, then the city will be happy to facilitate a variance. We must still follow proper procedure, but because the SEQR review for the ZBA's variance was already conducted by Greenport the process of getting an approved crossing at Rte. 9-G will go that much faster.
The sooner we achieve the 2011 plan the better for all. If that amounts to less of a business expansion that the owner had hoped for, then buyer beware.
On the other hand, does anyone know how many trucks will be able to utilize the 2011 plan? Do we know that it won't increase truck traffic at the waterfront? That's a chance we'll have to take, and is the exact same risk the City knew it was taking in 2011.
We notice an increase of people demanding that the application simply be denied, but we must see the whole thing through. The issue will only be settled for good once the owner is satisfied with the compromise plan (three years in development!) which it purchased in 2014. Only then can we all move on.
The overall problem of truck traffic is certainly one of the issues which must be addressed in the very near future, but only after dealing with the Colarusso problem. If our local govt. doesn't have the will---or even a sufficient sense of basic self-preservation---needed to remove an aggressive, debilitating parasite, which constantly degrades everyone's quality of life, then Hudson is, indeed, in big, permanent trouble.Delete
I'm grateful for the continued sane voices of Peter and Unheimlich and Victor and others. For over 15 years we have been dealing with the issue of the South Bay and the 'haul road' (formerly the 'causeway'). It's a sad , sad state of affairs and I implore those on the Planning Board who are now studying this old hairy and tedious situation of manipulation to put an end to it and deny the Permit. It should be clear from prior court rulings that this is the right thing to do.ReplyDelete
It's an interesting story why it's now called "the haul road."Delete
It was the company that introduced the term and everyone just started using it.
Now I wasn't the one who discovered this, but it turns out that a "haul road" is a technical term in state law which provides the owners of such "haul roads" extra advantages under the law. Essentially, it becomes a component of, and extension to, whatever mine the road serves. Needless to say, in New York state mines enjoy a special status.
But here's what is so telling about Hudson. Even though the ruse was discovered early, in 2017, by then it was already impossible to change people's latest habit. And that is the real reason it's now called "the haul road," and probably always will be.
That should tell anyone all they need to know about Hudson.