Friday, December 17, 2021

Following Up

Last Thursday, Gossips reported that the Department of Environmental Conservation had, on its website, listed the Planning Board's SEQR determination on the Colarusso application as a negative declaration. Planning Board chair Stephen Steim and legal counsel to the Planning Board Victoria Polidoro both confirmed that the listing was DEC's error, and it would be corrected when DEC next published its ENB Region 4 Notices. That happened on Wednesday, December 15, and here is the notice as it now appears on the DEC website.
Positive Declaration - Correction of 12/8/21 Notice
Columbia County - The City of Hudson Planning Board, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Colarusso may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared. The action involves an application for a conditional use permit for the transport and shipment of goods and raw materials on a 116 acre parcel of property between the railroad tracks to the east and the Hudson River to the west, which is located within or abuts the Core-Riverfront Zoning District, the Recreational Conservation District, the Residential Special Commerce District and the Industrial District. The project is located at 175 South Front Street in the City of Hudson, New York.


  1. In 2017, our previous DEC overlord similarly bungled the “Notice of Complete Application” for Colarusso’s Freshwater Wetlands Permit. The error was committed by the notorious Trish Gabriel, the same woman who fabricated a title and date for a nonexistent underwater lands grant to Colarusso’s predecessor in the 1930s, and who, on the same occasion, lied in her official Response to public comments on the bulkhead-and-revetment project claiming that she was unaware of any larger project proposals. In fact, she was in Hudson to tour the proposed “haul road” project with Colarusso representatives six months earlier, and her dishonesty paid off for the company. It was Gabriel’s lie - or her incredibly short memory - which initiated the segmentation issue whereby the environmental review for one part of the project was artificially segmented from the second related review.

    If you’ve had any personal experience with these same DEC Region 4 bureaucrats as I’ve had, the most striking thing about every one of them is their towering arrogance, and ever the notion that the public’s role is subservient to their administrative will. By now, though, it’s pretty well known that Region 4 is peopled by bunglers, at least when they’re not cheating or lying outright on behalf of A. Colarusso and Son, Inc.

    This latest episode, spotted by yours truly, directly relates to Gabriel’s 2017 error.

    First, though, consider her repeated and wrong assertions in the permit that the proposal is to widen an “existing” road (not true, it’s to build a new road elsewhere); that its purpose is “to allow for two-way traffic” (not true, the existing road is already two-way); and that it’s needed for the purpose of rerouting “truck traffic that currently returns to the Colarusso quarry from [the dock] through [Hudson’s] most densely populated and most disadvantaged neighborhoods (not true, this alternative wholly ignores and rejects the alternative adopted into Local Law by the City of Hudson two years before Colarusso bought the property).

    But Gabriel’s technical error, also found by yours truly, occurred within the SEQRA process (the State Environmental Quality Review Act). She’d mistakenly reported in the ENB that the SEQR review had no lead agency and was “uncoordinated” (meaning that she’d done it herself with no other agencies involved). Not true! The Lead Agency was Greenport, and the Greenport review was officially “coordinated.”

    Why are such details important? Following was the City’s official comment on the erroneous draft permit penned by Hudson’s then-Corporate Counsel Ken Dow.

  2. City of Hudson Corporate Counsel Ken Dow to NYSDEC Region 4 Trish Gabriel, October 19, 2017:

    “City of Hudson officials were informed today that there was an error in the publication related to this Wetlands Permit, and that the SEQR review was not an uncoordinated review conducted by DEC, as indicated, but was, apparently, actually the SEQR review with the Town of Greenport Planning Board as lead agency. That SEQR review and the Neg Dec issued by Greenport is the subject of an ongoing Article 78 proceeding commenced by the City of Hudson against Greenport, challenging the validity of the review and the Neg Dec. (City of Hudson v. Greenport Planning Board, Supreme Court, Albany County, Index No. 5620-17). We question whether it is prudent to proceed to issue the Wetlands Permit at this point, when the SEQR on which it is based is being challenged in the Courts by the City of Hudson. Furthermore, Colarusso - the applicant - is not moving forward with their application to the Hudson Planning Board for site plan review of the haul road (which this Freshwater Wetlands Permit is for), and it appears that site plan review will be suspended until the completion of the litigation challenging the SEQR review. It seems that the Wetlands Permit is of no use until and unless the site plan for the project is approved, so again, we question the need to issue the permit now and urge that a final decision on the Wetlands Permit be suspended until the conclusion of the ongoing legislation.”

    The permit was subsequently issued.

    In an email exchange last October, Angelina Stewart, Gabriel’s replacement at DEC Region 4 and presumably the author of the DEC’s latest error stated that Colarusso’s “current [Freshwater Wetlands] permit for DEC ID# 4 - 1099-00038/00003 expires September 30, 2022.”

  3. Oh Good Lord, the details, the details - all important and another example of the disgusting corruption of the DEC's 4th district. AT least Hudson fought back and won that case, thanks to Ken Dow. And yet the ugly monster rises its head again. But thank you 'Unheimlich' for reminding us (those who care).

  4. For starters, that horrible tower and decaying hulk of a building need to be condemned and all operations ceased until they are removed, and heavy trucks banned from Front Street.

    1. Even Colarusso acknowledges that at least a portion of its hopper (or silo, or tower) sits on state-owned land. The ONLY question is, how much of it does?

      It's my claim shared by other researchers that 100% of the hopper sits on lands owned by The People of the State of New York.

      Either way, whether wholly or only partially located on state-owned underwater lands, it will be Albany that determines the hopper’s fate.