Friday, July 15, 2022

On the Topic of Trucks

Last night's special Common Council meeting about the truck routes through Hudson was encouraging not because any solutions were found but because there seems to be some acknowledgment among elected officials that the effort to get the trucks out of Hudson doesn't stop with doing a study that counts trucks and identifies alternate routes. Rather it requires a concerted and sustained effort.

Supervisors Michael Chameides (Third Ward) and Linda Mussmann (Fourth Ward) suggested that before Hudson can ask for the cooperation of other municipalities in the county--principally the towns of Greenport and Claverack--the City needs to do everything it can to relieve the burden of trucks. Neither mentioned it, since Council president Tom DePietro had declared that there could be no discussion of Colarusso trucks and the haul road at the meeting, but Chameides and Mussmann seemed to imply that the City could help itself by approving the haul road. Former councilmembers John Rosenthal and Rebecca Wolff both suggested, as they had when they were on the Council, that imposing and enforcing weight limits was a means of reducing the number of trucks traveling through Hudson. Rosenthal claimed that enforcing weight limits would reduce truck traffic in Hudson by half. DePietro said that Council attorney Crystal Peck was investigating the possibility of establishing weight limits on Columbia Street below Third. 

Speaking of the findings of the truck study, Donna Streitz spoke of Option 12, which was one of the ways for rerouting trucks identified in the study.

Streitz reminded the group that Option 12 cost the least, detoured all trucks around the city, and was favored by 69 percent of those who responded to an online survey about alternate truck routes. She suggested that focus groups needed to be conducted in Greenport and Claverack, but when she went on to speak about Colarusso trucks in the city, DePietro muted her. 
Former supervisor Bill Hughes advised that if the City wanted the cooperation of other municipalities, "You're gonna have to come with a carrot, and that carrot needs to come from the state." He suggested that some of the state's ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) money could be used to "incentivize things for other communities." 

Someone who identified himself as a new resident of Hudson and former resident of Huntington, Long Island, suggested that the City needed to make it harder for trucks to travel through Hudson, perhaps by enforcing the weight limit. "Let's just make it difficult," he urged the group. "Let truck drivers communicate with other truck drivers" to avoid Hudson.

Councilmember Margaret Morris (First Ward), who was one of the councilmembers who had requested the meeting, concluded, "We have to take action, because Greenport and Claverack are not going to step up." DePietro protested, "The Council doesn't have the wherewithal to lobby."

What was decided was that councilmembers would be part of an ad hoc committee to pursue the issue. Mussmann expressed her interest in being part of that committee, saying, "We need to argue that what's good for Hudson is good for the county."


  1. For clarification, I said that a weight limit on all City streets excluding the state truck route and the C-R district, would reduce half the volume of "heavy trucks," or Class 8 vehicles in Hudson. The chief culprit being Colarusso's traffic to the dock. Currently, after Colarusso's heavy trucks access the dock via their private road over the South bay, they exit the dock empty, through City streets to return to the state truck route at 3rd and Columbia. This is because they refuse to use their current private road in two directions, forcing more volume onto our beleaguered streets. We no longer have to suffer at their whims. A weight limit would eliminate that traffic west of 3rd Street in the 1st and 2nd Wards. Heavy truck traffic in that area is primarily generated by Colarusso's empty heavy trucks. Again, to repeat, Colarusso owns a private road that connects to the state truck route on 3rd Street/9G, so banning that traffic through the west of Hudson would not prevent Colarusso's trucks from reaching the dock, it would make them use their current private road in two-directions, rather than the arbitrary one-way that they currently use the road in order to game the zoning code and extort a favorable outcome for their expansion of operations at the waterfront. Most weight limit laws have an exemption for local delivery, so the smaller trucks heading to and from the water treatment plant would be exempt, as would legitimate local deliveries in other parts of the City. The Hudson police would have to actively ticket Colarusso's empty heavy trucks on local streets to force that current traffic to use Colarusso's private road. This simple modification of existing weight limits laws on Hudson's streets is a positive step toward controlling trucks through the City. And it is something we can do very easily.

    1. Yes, isn't the DOT's prohibition on northward turns from the private road - meaning turns from the causeway onto Rte. 9G and towards the city - for proposed plans only?

      In the present, why not force the company to use the state truck route exclusively for access to its private road. Perhaps a 25 mph speed limit on Rte. 9G can even be discussed (even for the sake of "discussion") to signal a willingness to ameliorate the DOT.

      When the company gets tired of that, it can finally finish its planned curbs and use its woodland road to and from the mine. The South Bay portion shall remain a single lane.

      Unfortunately, nobody seems to appreciate that the private road across South Bay must still be considered in the current SEQRA review's study of the "whole action," primarily to consider truck numbers at the waterfront.

      The idea that the private road was already studied by Greenport and is consequently barred from any level of review is erroneous. Melkonian judged that there was no segmentation between the two reviews, which makes some of the seeming overlaps merely coincidental. Those who now argue that "the haul road [sic] was already studied" are necessarily assuming that there actually was some level of segmentation, except that there wasn't. They are totally discrete reviews.

      I always figured that Melkonian assumed a smart city would know how to exploit this.

  2. Carole, I suspect you find many silver linings in many dark clouds. The Council and its ineffectual yet dictatorial president are like so many fish out of water. The County has made it rather plain that they want a solution to the ACS causeway -- i.e. opening it for use. Fine. Do it. What's the problem? If that gets some trucks off the streets, at least a part of the problem is solved. And we need the County for 2 reasons: we need Greenport and Claverack to agree to move the state truck route, and because the proper person to lead this process, our erstwhile assemblywoman, is nowhere to be found. Of course her leadership chops, or lack thereof, are amply documented over the last decade of her Albany residence. It's politics, alderfolks, not "magical thinking makes it happen." Compromise is how things get accomplished in a heterogeneous community.

  3. Lawyer Friedman’s comments demonstrate how little he apparentlyl understands about land use planning law—or else, how little he cares to be honest about what he does know.

    Anyone with even a little familiarity with planning, zoning, SEQRA, et al. knows that the neither the Mayor nor the Common Council nor the Board of Supervisors can compel the Planning Board to do anything, one way or another.

    ... Nor should they try to do so, because it would be improper interference in a quasi-judicial review—polluting and compromising the legal process they have to complete on any application.

    Planning Boards are quasi-judicial agencies. That means they sit as judges, empowered and required to evaluate projects based not on the whims or wishes of politicians, but on the interpretation of muncipal codes and State regulations.

    The Planning Board cannot act by fiat on the orders of a Mayor or Council or Board of Supervisors—at least not without providing one party or another to the review with a slam-dunk win in court for arbitrary and capricious decisionmaking.

    The Planning Board cannot approve, deny, or modify (i.e. compromise) on the Colarusso application without being able to justify their decision on facts contained in the record which speak to the codes and regulations they are bound to interpret and enforce.

    In short, Lawyer Friedman again either has no idea what he is talking about, or is disregarding what he does know for some ulterior motive.

    As to Ms. Mussmann, she and her lawyer/friend Cheryl Roberts should be more forthright about their central roles as Waterfront Chair and its attorney in disregarding the will of Hudsonians and the State, acting instead to ensure that the residents of downtown Hudson got subjected to Holcim, O&G and now Colarusso truck traffic.

  4. John Friedman, have you not bothered to review any of the details of the Colarusso application? The company is claiming that a Federal restraint-of-trade statute prevents the imposition of ANY limits on truck volume. The company is already admitting that it foresees a 471% spike in volume, which would turn our waterfront zone into an industrial hellhole. If you're OK with that, then further discussion is pointless.

  5. Colarusso is claiming that they already have NYDOT clearance to cross routes 9 & 9G, but I think that should be taken with a very large grain of salt. It might just be more hot air coming from their counsel-- but if true, then I wonder if DOT approval trumps whatever local zoning laws are available to Hudson? It might be that the City retains its authority to approve or deny those crossings.

  6. Sam and Peter, as usual it’s “my way or the highway” with you both. I’m not suggesting strong arming anyone least of all the PB (which isn’t quasi-judicial, Sam, the ZBA is). I’m suggesting negotiating a settlement with ACS and the City. This still leaves the state truck route issue, of course, but both of you have ACS on the brain.

    1. I can tell you have not read the filings. The City is not a party to the lawsuit. The Planning Board is the only defendant. And the PB cannot settle the lawsuit without violating both local code requirements and SEQRA. The applicant having filed two applications, SEQR having been initiative, and the Board having amassed a gigantic record of review and input, there is no way to end the process which would be legal. In any case, the City can’t act on behalf of the PB in a case where it isn’t a named party.

    2. P.S. I would love to know what type of agency Lawyer Friedman deems the Planning Board to be... It is not legislative, or even quasi-legislative. It is not judicial.

      When conducting site plan review, as it is here, I’d say the Board is clearly acting in a quasi-judicial capacity.

      Per the Cooperative Extension:

      “One court has described quasi-judicial decisions in this way:

      “1. The action occurs in response to a landowner application followed by a statutorily mandated public hearing;

      “2. as a result of the application, readily identifiable proponents and opponents weigh in on the process; and

      “3. the decision is localized in its application affecting a particular group of citizens more acutely than the public at large.”


      “Proper notice of the hearing [must provide] everyone with an interest in the proceedings an opportunity to be heard and to hear what others have to say... Full disclosure to everyone of the facts being considered by the decision-making body (i.e., no ex parte contacts)... [And] an impartial decision-maker free from bias and conflicts of interest.

      “Decisions [are made] based on the facts of the case, not on political pressure or vocal opposition.”

      That’s precisely what the Planning Board can and must do.

    3. It’s called a “regulatory agency,” Sam. It enforces the statutory law through the application of regulations. It’s power is derived from the legislature, in this case the state legislature. It is empowered to regulate development in compliance with the municipality’s local laws.

    4. Lawyer John is mixing terminology and doesn’t seem to have even a rudimentary understanding of environmental law. There is no provision under (for example) SEQRA where an agency like the PB takes applications per the order of court, commences extensive review, accepts public comment, requires and commissions expert studies, and declares the project a Type I action with significant impacts... and then cancels the process because of some separate policy matter which is in the purview of other agencies, and has not been placed before it in the context of the review. It’s the very definition of arbitrary and capricious.

      The process has to be finished before any balancing act can be done, and “the supervisor of a totallly different town is a NIMBY who must be appeased” doesn't exactly qualify as mitigation.

      (Certainly not just because one impatient guy with a certificate on his wall and a shallow libertarian ideology, who hasn't submitted a single public comment in the process, thinks it would be expedient.)

      What you suggest is a legal absurdity and would make a mockery of the most basic land use procedures. Much like Colarusso asking a court to decide a matter it has already ruled on. Stick to writing cut-and-paste contracts.

    5. P.S. A Planning Board would be acting in a legislative capacity if it were creating rules and regulations, or deciding City policy. The Hudson PB has very limited ability if any to create rules or set policy. Rather, it is acting in a quasi-judicial capacity when it reviews applications, holds hearings and arrives at decisions on regulatory matters such as enforcing the Hudson code or conducting SEQR.

      Cornell Law:

      “Quasi-judicial refers to a proceeding conducted by an administrative or executive official or organization that is similar to a court proceeding, e.g. a hearing conducted by a human rights commission. A court may review a decision arising from a quasi-judicial proceeding.”

      In this case, the proceeding has not concluded, so the issue is not ripe; and the nuisance suit from Colarusso must be dismissed as untimely (as forcefully stated by the PB’s attorneys) so that the review can reach its necessary conclusion.

      There is no “Wait wait, stop the process, we want to cut a deal to appease Claverack” provision in either the Hudson code or SEQRA.

  7. Love to know what this mythical "compromise" looks like, because it seems all we're talking about is bending over and saying yes to Colarusso.

    What gets lost is that we’re not talking a shift of current traffic from the truck route to the haul road. Colarusso’s application anticipates a huge jump in traffic to the dock. The impacts on every other waterfront use—whether recreational or economic—will be profound. This is what the Planning Board, under SEQR, must review. Short circuiting that process in the company’s behalf is corrupt and a real disservice to the city.

    1. You answered your question: tie one to the other. Each side gets a way out. This addresses the ACS issue.

    2. They can’t be legally tied together.

    3. Not unless the parties agree. It’s called negotiation and the goal is a mutually acceptable modus vivendi. You really have a very binary understanding of the world.

  8. Sam is right. The moment you have a political body pressure what is essentially a judicial body, it's corruption. No different than a President asking "his justices" to do his bidding. Also, I still don't understand what, in a mythical compromise, would be Colarusso's give. They've proposed to widen a road that carries much greater volume. They're proposing a massive increase in truck traffic to and from the waterfront. They've publicly stated the city has no right to regulate volume. So given that, what's the compromise, which of course is a big question mark since a full SEQR review could reveal multiple impacts that are unacceptable?

  9. They agree to use the causeway exclusively. That’s the compromise. And, again, the PB is not judicial. However, whatever it may be (administrative), it can be lobbied, it can take information and testimony and it can decide. Remember, the magical thinking in City hall has extended to the PB — Verizon Wireless ring a bell (no pun intended)? It needs real guidance and a coherent public policy mandate founded in a desire to solve rather than dominate. This city needs coherent and pragmatic problem solving, decision making and leadership. Right now we lack most of those requisites.

    1. It is clearly acting in a judicial capacity when it exercises this function. And cell regulation is a completely different animal; the analogy is very poor.

    2. John, but wait. Use the causeway exclusively for what? Current volume, greatly ramped up volume, volume that makes the city’s only public waterfront useless? What are the economic and environmental impacts of this proposed compromise? What will be the effects of increased noise, dust and heavy trucks? What new hazards will it create at crossings? How will it affect nearby job-creating businesses? What will it do to enjoyment of the park, and eventual recreational development of the 4.4 acres to the south? Under SEQR, the Planning Board’s review of impacts on Hudson is supposed to find this out. And until it does, how do we even know there is a basis for compromise?

    3. Sam you remind me of first year law students I used to teach when I had the patience for bright, undisciplined children.

    4. Dkon — details surely need to be thought through and worked out. But solving difficult questions is often hard work and requires compromise. Won’t be solved on Gossips or any other blog/social media.

    5. Well, wouldn't that "thinking-through" demand an understanding probable impacts? Nobody seems to want to gauge those first. Why is that?


    6. There is probably no postgraduate degree which confers fewer guarantees of competence than a law degree. Law degrees do, however, confer on many recipients the belief that they know better than anyone else.

      Not that it should matter, but I’ve been deeply involved with more land use planning issues and attorneys that Lawyer John could ever hope to experience—and actually have paid attention to the process, unlike the guy who only remembers about land use what little he picked up in a first year law class.

      One thing one does learn from being around some the 1,400,000 people who have managed to pass the bar in the United States... is that most of them are terrible at their jobs.

      Luckily for many lawyers (especially those who put up their shingles in small towns) most clients are not in a position to notice that they are getting the equivalent of a really bad plumbing job.

  10. There is only one solution, declare eminent domain, take possession of the waterfront and shut the gravel transfer station down. The damage they have done to the property, the pollution in the ground there, the decrepit industrial structures, this diminishes the value. It's not worth much.

  11. However these problems are resolved (and I'm with P. Winslow in spirit here), perhaps a useful first step would be for Hudson to stop hiring the Colarusso company for civic jobs!?! We're just strengthening them while they attack and harm us. It's illogical. So what if they're the closest! Spend a little more and hire someone else! And this could (and should) apply to private customers as well.

  12. The following comment was submitted by email:

    Barring costly eminent domain, the best solution is the policy already adopted by the City in its 2012 LWRP; i.e. utilization of the existing one-lane road in the South Bay for "ingress and egress" both.

    The policy satisfies two challenges: the existing single-lane private road would naturally restrict truck numbers at the waterfront and also obviate any need for gravel trucks west of 3rd Street.

    In addition to being standing policy, the road sections east of Rte. 9G were all but completed by the Colarusso company in 2015/16 (albeit illegally). Completing the road sections internal to the mine are the company's problem, while the DOT informed me that the required but still missing curbs at the state routes could be built "in an afternoon."

    It's no longer amazing to me that the city's actual policy is never mentioned by Hudson's obtuse citizens nor its politicians.

    The greatest drawback to the already agreed upon plan is that once the problem is solved, all the things discussed above - particularly Linda Mussmann's despicable environmental blackmail, as mentioned by Mr. Pratt - would no longer be matters for discussion.

    - Timothy O'Connor

    1. The one-lane road through a protected wetland habitat was not intended to be a permanent “policy.” It was a short-term fix which allowed certain less-than-objective parties to get the LWRP passed while kicking the can of the real public issues down the road.

      The need for reconsideration of the use of the dock and exploration of alternatives was articulated both in the meetings, and in the LWRP itself. The State promised that this (incredibly contradictory and clumsily-written) Plan would ensure that the City and public would get another bite at the apple down the road. One suspects that Roberts et al. never thought anyone would remember that making changes would trigger a de novo review.

    2. Earlier in the process using the existing one-lane private road WAS the intended policy, though Roberts sometimes would make contradictory statements in error or when it suited her.

      In the May 2011 SEQRA draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (dGEIS), under section 2.0 on "major changes to the draft LWRP and the associated amendments to the City Code," it was recorded that "The draft LWRP identified the South Bay Causeway truck route as the PREFERRED TRUCK ROUTE for transport of ... aggregate to the port ..." [emphasis added].

      Later in the same dGEIS, at 3.1.46, Roberts specified that a route through the "LB/Basilica" driveway "WOULD BE the preferred alternative route if and when the alternative becomes feasible" [p. 3-45; emphasis added]. This was the "two-phased strategy" of the ultimately adopted waterfront plan which depended entirely on the feasibility of using "LB/Basilica."

      Since 2011, short of the Council's amending the Final program to express more recent and welcome changes at the former L&B and Basilica - improvements which render the two-phase alternative totally unfeasible - we may be confident that a judge will recognize as the tacit and updated City policy a return to the once-preferred causeway route as the only feasible alternative by a process of elimination already explained in the waterfront program.

      Indeed, given the ongoing challenges for the city in the context of these new developments, the courts would place all of the emphasis on the conclusion in the Final LWRP that "Once the first phase of this plan is established, aggregate trucks would be prohibited from using Columbia Street to reach the port facility" (p. 27).

    3. 1) One can never know what a New York State judge will decide, and it’s dangerous to predict it. I’ve seen some truly berserk rulings which were obviously written without the judge having done more than skim the filings, containing statements clearly contradicted by the record.

      2) The Hudson LWRP, GEIS, responses to public comments, hearing records, State pronouncements, et al. manage to constantly contradict themselves and each other, when they are not simply indecipherable. For example, page 80 of the LWRP manages to execute multiple backflips while winking maniacally at the reader on the topic of the dock and truck traffic. One can pick from one page and draw one conclusion, then turn the page and draw the opposite conclusion.

      3) As a result, the intentions of both the City and State can be argued countless ways, depending on one’s point of view. There is a reason that the City of Hudson LWRP is one of the only ones in New York history to not be approved by the Department of State.

    4. One lens often used to delve into such matters is to examine the so-called legislative intent.

      Here, it may be difficult to discern because the Aldermen who approved the Plan said almost nothing then just meekly voted “aye.” 95% of them probably had not read one word of the document, and the remainder had at best skimmed it.

      But we do know what the lead attorney for the Department of State, Mr. Sharpe, told the Council when he explicitly addressed the dock, truck and South Bay concerns:

      SHARPE: “Here is how things will work: Presently, under the Industrial zoning—I’m assuming without deciding that the port use is one that would be permitted under the Industrial zoning—when the zoning changes pursuant to this change of law, if there are no changes on the property, if they continue to operate it the way they’ve been operating it, they will become a lawful nonconforming use.

      “They are *not* permitted under the new zoning as of right. They would go from being a use which may be permitted to a use that is not going to be immediately permitted under the new C-R district.

      “So therefore they are in a netherworld. They are not permitted in the new zoning. They may be permitted under the existing zoning. And if indeed they are lawful under the existing zoning, they would become a lawful nonconforming use. They would *not* be able to enlarge or expand under the CIty’s zoning. The existing zoning that you have does not permit expansions of nonconforming uses, my guess is unless perhaps if there is variance granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

      “So 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 a conditional use permit for the *entire* property.

      “If for some reason the culvert which is over South Bay is not able to bear the weigh of the trucks going over it, it may well be the they would need to seek repairs to it, and that would trigger the need for a conditional use permit.”

      Not a single Council member objected to this statement. Indeed, Cheryl Roberts then immediately agreed and rhapsodized (in what hilariously now reads almost exactly like Trumpian hyperbole) about how wonderfully, amazingly, incredibly, powerfully protective of the environment these provisions were for controlling what happened at the dock:

      ROBERTS: “I just want to point out that what Bill is describing is very protective… The zoning that has been drafted is very protective of the environment.

      “I mean, I don’t think I’ve seen anything this protective in many other statutes I’ve looked at. It really does nail it down.

      “I just want you to know, that Bill is proposing and describing addresses what concerns you had last July about getting a handle on the port and the causeway.”

    5. 1.

      In my scenario the court endorses the City's second-most "preferred" alternative to the now-impossible alternative (the LB/Basilica route; see Final GEIS pp. 2-4 - 2-6), being the failure of my own oft-stated preference.

      From the Final LWRP: "Once the first phase of this plan is established [i.e., the causeway route], aggregate trucks would be prohibited from using Columbia Street to reach the port facility" (LWRP, p. 27).

      Moreover, the second-most preferred alternative is, today, nearly complete, while the suffering and damage all the alternatives were designed to alleviate have only increased in the intervening years, the same suffering that a Supervisor Mussmann can exploit in Hudson's "potential EJ areas" by employing deceit, demagoguery, and manipulation.


      In your scenario the court, which you acknowledge is unpredictable, must parse the legislative intent of a mere advisor with total indifference to the City's actual adopted policy. (Incidentally, key parts of the lengthy quotation you provide from NYSDOS advisor William Sharpe don't appear in any transcript, Sharpe never having said anything about "netherworlds" or "as-of-rights.")

      I'd agree, however, that the company IS now in a netherworld having forfeited its right to operate this side of acquiring "a conditional use permit for the entire property" (Sharpe can be heard on the Wavefarm audio at 1:08:26).


      In conclusion, where's the willingness to enforce this loss of a right to operate? There's little evidence that any but a handful of Planning Board members even considered enforcement once the landowner-as-plaintiff lost its sham argument in court. Some of those members are already long gone, and even of those most - I would say all - were slow to get their heads around the court judgement.

      The current Planning Board and an alarming number of others in city government are now half under the sway of the deceitful Supervisor Mussmann (et al), cynically wishing to be seen alleviating suffering simply by giving the landowner what it wants.

      It's ever the ploy of the demagogues to exploit the general ignorance, but the success of this particular batch of lies in Hudson, so despicable that it will happily invent resentments along racial lines, must enter into the general calculus - the court's calculus included.

      And this is the climate in which you're counting on the court to agree, per a few spoken sentences by William Sharpe (other than the nonexistent quotations you provided), that the property owner is henceforth prohibited from transporting its products in perhaps the greenest way imaginable during a national economic downturn.

      Moreover, the court would have to act in total indifference to the city's adopted policy found in the 2012 LWRP and GEIS combined.

      Further, the unpredictable court would have to discern this prohibition when, after years, the City of Hudson proved incapable even when that would alleviate suffering in potential EJ areas.

      Which of our two outcomes do readers think is more likely?

      In your scenario, I predict that the court will hand the company its haul road with some simple reasoning that cites Greenport's [thoroughly dishonest!] SEQRA review. The City won't have the appetite or the money to appeal.

      As I've counseled for years, idealism often risks losing everything. Where the South Bay is concerned - and never forgetting the alarming number of ignorant and/or dishonest people under the sway of demagogues in and out of local government - it's not a risk worth taking. In the end the company will get its obscene "haul road," quite a price simply to be able to say that you were right all along.

      The city spent years (2008-2012) on a workable solution to this real and persistent problem. The fact that no one else above even referenced the circa 600 pages of the ultimate policy and its attached study is indicative of an idealistic proclivity, and should itself be entered into the strategic calculus as a massive blind spot.

    6. A short audio clip of the Council’s LWRP hearing was sent to the Planning Board by Ken Dow. Around the two minute mark Sharpe very clearly makes the “netherworld” comment, and also states that “They are not permitted under the new zoning as of right.” (I had my own transcript made; anyone who wants a copy should just ask.) So you’re just wrong there, Tim.

      Here is more of what Sharpe said (in a section prior to the Dow clip):

      “The proposed Core Riverfront district does not allow a port use as a permitted use. So immediately on the change from Industrial zoning to the C-R zoning, to the extent that the existing port use is a lawfully permitted use under the Industrial zoning, it would actually become a non-conforming use under the C-R zone. That means it is allowed to continue *without modifying* any of the structures, any of the uses on the property. And because the causeway is part of that zone and treated as an element of that property, should there be any changes to either a building on the property or a new building being constructed or changes to the roadway, it will require that the owner get a conditional use permit.

      “And there is an extensive list of requirements in the Conditional Use Permit section for an existing commercial dock operation. First among them is the idea that at least wherever possible, the public’s views from the waterfront and access to the waterfront where possible be preserved and protected. Certainly the views from public streets. There are a number of items that a Conditional Use would have to comply with: things like hours of operation, levels of noise, whether dust and other kinds of noxious or bothersome uses are generated on-site.

      “Those would be *prohibited,* as they are actually in all of the zoning districts in the City. A lot of the requirements which are in the Conditional Use Permit actually mirror other sections of the City’s laws and ordinances. They may not have been brought to bear before. But now they are actually in as specific conditions...”

      [*emphases mine*]


      So anyone trying to argue that the one-way road was intended to be a permanent policy should just sit with Sharpe’s explanation of the LWRP provisions a bit more.

      Anyway, the idea that the City made some good faith effort to craft a sound, permanent solution between 2008-2012 is living not in a netherworld, but a fantasy world. (Note: the LWRP process kicked off in early 2006, not 2008, building on the remains of prior effort in the ’90s).

      Rather, the administration at the time, shepherded by Roberts and Mussmann, brushed aside some 3,000 public comments, as well as public meetings and workshops, State guidance, a major Secretary of State ruling, the Comp Plan, and much more, to ingratiate themselves to one corporate entity who is no longer even here. After that, the State not only did not approve the LWRP, it made the South Bay Creek & Marsh a protected area.

      The Planning Board still has every option available to it, including most rationally and appealingly its power to deny the project permits as inconsistent with local zoning, SEQRA, Planning, and the fundamental best interests of the citizens of Hudson, who deserve a real waterfront which confers benefits to more than just one reactionary Greenport corporation.

    7. 1.

      I don't understand why you won't consider your own two-phased approach starting with your worthy goal to stop the port operation in accordance with Local Law.

      Right now, though, it seems you're putting all your eggs in one argument that relies wholly on the intelligence (though not too much) and good faith (but not too much) of Planning Board members.

      I say not too much because it appears you don't even want the Planning Board to consider that the most feasible alternative still exists - and in a more developed form - within the self-same SEQRA review for which the current review is "supplemental."

      We both know the members will never work that out on their own, so short of a true mandamus lawsuit against the city for allowing the port operations to continue you want the Planning Board to achieve that outcome for you.

      Understood, but if you leave it at that and refuse the spirit of compromise altogether, you stand to lose everything that I care about in South Bay.

      I emphatically DO NOT mean any new compromises, but only the compromise struck in 2011 which you continue to discount.

      I implore you and everyone reading this to retain the 2011 compromise of a single-lane two-way private road as the second phase of your argument.

    8. 2.

      Following an exhaustive analysis of alternatives between 2008 and 2011, today the only feasible option remaining in that plan must be the default option which, at various times, the City even considered its preferred option.

      In the event that anything further goes to court, it's very likely that a judge would seek to resolve the decade-old problem of gravel trucks in the city once and for all.

      In that scenario, if the City and Planning Board had already passed on the first and best option to halt the port operation in fidelity to the law, then the court should conduct the above process of elimination and consider that the once-preferred alternative is now nearly complete.

      Compared to getting a two-lane "haul road," the 11-year-old compromise would be preferable except that nobody even knows about it. The 2008-2011 SEQRA review of alternatives (for which the current review is a supplement! ... wake up people!) enjoys no attention and no support having long since disappeared down the memory hole.

      If it was even acknowledged, all of the above would be weighed by a court against competing claims which have widespread support in the city's potential Environmental Justice areas.

      Worse yet, the EJ account which is so detached from the actual history and facts (some of them codied; some merely in taped discussions) has only grown in popularity among the craven and/or ignorant politicians who favor the facile explanation for political reasons. These same specimens would gladly deliver a "haul road" as long as it curries favor in the EJ areas. It's bad faith and it's disgusting, but it must be reckoned with in a wider strategy else you risk losing everything just to say you were right all along.

    9. 3.

      But the good news is your claim - that the landowner currently has no right to operate at all - is entirely correct! You don't need me to tell you that; but I know it too. But as the years tick away, where has that gotten anyone? Where's the widespread support? Where are any lengthy discussions in city government on the many nuances it entails? Where is your own lawsuit against the City to actually halt the operation?

      Believe me, I'd have welcomed and supported a citizen lawsuit as the best and probably only way to realize the implications Ken Dow secured in the previous court case. Unless that happens, though (I'm in no position to do it), the false EJ explanation doesn't require any truth to become a substantial reality even in a judge's mind. That alone must figure into any calculated strategy to oppose it.

      You may have more faith in the courts than I do, or perhaps even less. If it's the latter, why do you suppose that in the current climate a judge who's confronted by the two arguments - (1) EJ falsehoods against (2) a citation of the Code alone - won't be more moved, perhaps by racial considerations, to resolve the entire issue along EJ lines?

      When neither side presents any alternatives - such as the actual but inexplicably banished alternatives studied between 2008 and 2011 - I'm afraid that most NY judges these days will simply legitimize the haul road plan along the lines of "EJ concerns" and be done with it.

      Those who aim for a purity of outcome often come up empty handed. Life is messier than that. Even the justice system is messier. An eventual "haul road" will be the result of ignoring the Great Compromise of 2011 and the South Bay will be the real loser. That's my greatest concern.

      (I continue to re-listen to the 9/26/11 audio to hear where Sharpe said "netherworld." More later.)

    10. Tim, I don’t believe there is any one way to skin this cat, and I don’t care how it gets done. Groups like The Valley Alliance and OHW have sought to engage the process straightforwardly, and in good faith.

      One does sometimes get the impression that you might rather see citizen activism fail completely than to have it succeed via any path other than one you imagine you can claim credit for. I’d love to be wrong about that, and in any case I can’t help with such problem.

      No one should care who gets credit, only that the people of Hudson win. Hudsonians deserve a waterfront which confers recreational, ecological, cultural *and* economic benefits for a wide range of residents, not one which provides unneeded extra income to a corporation from Greenport who sues the City constantly.

      (FWIW, in the SLC fight, we were under constant pressure from both within and without to cut a deal. Those who stood firm for what was right were vindicated. Those who wanted to take some easy way out either pretended they never argued for a deal, or attacked those whose fortitude led to an outright victory without making concessions which would have quickly been rendered empty. I am not saying that the situations are 100% identical, but we are talking about fundamentally the same planning and coastal issues in Hudson.)

      As for taking some legal action before the process ends, I’m not sure why you’d expect others to take that lead, when you could always have done so yourself. We’ve all been on the outside looking in on a series of administrations who seem to find it really, really difficult to say know to Republicans from Greenport. The burden for any more radical action should be not on you or me, or anyone else who thinks this is the wrong project in the wrong place—but on those who most vocally claim to object to the lower Hudson traffic. Why don’t they take action to shut the operation down, since it is subject to an Order to Remedy?

      (As much as she loves stunts and theater, you don’t see Linda storming Craig Haigh’s office. Interesting, that. That they don’t do so strongly suggests folks like Mussmann and Friedman are advocating for Colarusso, not for their neighbors.)

      Anyway… I again would cite the old maxim that if people start any from an assumption that they have to settle for less than they deserve, they’ll wind up with even less than they settled for. So we’ll keep staking out our high ground to help offset all the snakes wriggling in their wagon ruts.

    11. If the 2011 compromise is realized - with gravel trucks banned from the lower city and moderate truck numbers across the causeway limited by the existing road width - then I'll be satisfied that disaster was averted and that my years of work were well spent.

      But in that case, I promise you'll never hear from me again! (Save for your records: this will be true even if you want all the credit, I will be silent.)

      I think that nobody's reading this thread anymore.

    12. You’d be satisfied if a really unnecessary, sloppy and possibly even corrupt political plan, which ignored precedent and public input, and led to the City having an LWRP which gives it no State benefits, makes permanent an ungrandfathered activity which was never subject to any permitting review, and removes the possibility of Hudson ever having more than a rinky-dink waterfront? Oh.

  13. I'm glad Timothy finally chipped in with his logical reminder about 2012. The City should pay attention to that and the Planning Board

    1. What Tim posted is somehwat off, for those of us who were around for the process. The one-lane option was meant only to be a *temporary* fix to a problematic situation, to allow the rest of the LWRP to be enacted—not a permanent one.

      That temporary fix was only necessary because the Waterfront Chair, City attorney and Council President at the time did not have the guts to do what the Secretary of State had instructed—eliminate industrial uses, right way. A

      Similarly, no one in City government seemed to have the nerve (or integrity) to point out that the truck traffic which had never existed before, was begun by Holcim in 2006 for the sole purpose of skewing the LWRP. It had never been reviewed or received permits. Instead, the City Attorney deemed it an as-of-right activity requiring no review, which was absurd.

      After the passage of the LWRP, the City was supposed to continue discussing and exploring other routes and options, including sunsetting all truck activity to the Waterfront. Per the State, the LWRP was supposed to be written with the assumption that neither current ownership nor uses would last forever. Rather, it should represent what the Comp Plan, Department of State and others had indicated were the preferential uses.

      Moreover, the lead attorney at the State at the time of the passage of the LWRP explicitly promised that should *any* changes be proposed to the wetland route or dock, any and all claims of grandfathered use would instantly cease to exist, and the whole project and the use of the Waterfront would be reconsidered and re-reviewed from scratch, as if it were a brand new proposal.

      In short, treating the one-lane highway through a wetland should not be considered “policy.” Indeed, once Code Enforcement issued the Order to Remedy, his office had the power to shut down activity at the dock completely.

      But those who loudly claim to want the trucks off lower Columbia never seem to mention that option, only those which cave in to industrial blackmail.

    2. Thanks Jennifer.

      So sad to see newcomers fooled into talk about new "compromises" when the Great Compromise which the company knowingly bought into in 2014 already transpired in 2012.

      In Hudson, though, those who move the goalposts around with such ease are cynics who prey on the ignorance not only of newcomers but of those who actually took part in the original compromise.

      Can anything be more stupid? Only in Hudson.

  14. No one wants a gravel transfer station at the waterfront and hundreds of gravel trucks barreling through town. Decades of argument and legalistic work arounds have done nothing. There is only one solution, eminent domain, take the place over, shut it down. Have the property evaluated for pollution, soil compaction, removal of industrial structures, environmental remediation, then pay them what it's worth, it's not going to be much. If they want to keep the place, rezone the land as recreational. They can run a campsite there.