Tuesday, September 13, 2005


At their September 12, 2005 meeting, the Hurley Planning Board formally appointed itself the Lead Agency for the proposed “Hidden Forest” 652-house development in the absence of a request from any other Involved Agencies to take on the job, according to Chair Paul Hakim. A Lead Agency is responsible for undertaking, funding or approving an action, and for the preparing and filing of any required environmental impact statement (EIS). They decide what does and does not go into the EIS. Geraldine Tortorella, the lawyer and agent for the proposed project, made a site plan presentation at the meeting in which the primary change was that Lucas Avenue instead of Route 209 would now be the primary means of entrance and egress from the project. Route 209 would be listed as a designated alternative on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The change was apparently made because they anticipated lengthy and possibly negative negotiations with the New York State Department of Transportation about the road cut and traffic light at Route 209. Ms. Tortorella stated that “they” (presumably meaning her law firm of Hocherman Tortorella & Wekstein, LLP and the “contract vendee,” Hurley 209 Company LLC) are currently working on a draft scoping document. “Many studies are currently under way,” she noted, and explorations for water are continuing. The next order of business will be to work out an agreement with the Hurley Town Board on an escrow account from which the Town could draw any necessary expenses related to the project. The Hurley Planning Board has yet to schedule a date for a scoping session to develop an outline with the details of the topics to be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement. A series of relevant workshops might also be planned. According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), “The scoping process has six objectives: • focus the draft EIS on the potentially significant adverse environmental impacts; • eliminate non-significant and non-relevant issues; • identify the extent and quality of information needed; • identify the range of reasonable alternatives to be discussed; • provide an initial identification of mitigation measures; and • provide the public with an opportunity to participate in the identification of impacts.” A full environmental form is expccted to include information on: the project’s impact on land, water, air, plants and animals, agricultural land resources, aesthetic resources, historic and archaeological resouces, open space and recreation, critical environmental areas, transportation, energy, public health, and growth and character of community or neighborhood as well as noise and odor impacts. The law requiring all this is the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). It states: “Scoping must include an opportunity for public participation. The lead agency may either provide a period of time for the public to review and provide written comments on a draft scope or provide for public input through the use of meetings, exchanges of written material, or other means....The lead agency must provide a copy of the draft scope to all involved agencies, and make it available to any individual or interested agency that has expressed an interest in writing to the lead agency. ..All relevant issues should be raised before the issuance of a final written scope.” Therefore, anyone interested in having a say or just knowing about the ways in which this proposed development is going to have an impact on the future of Hurley (and Marbletown and Rosendale), should request IN WRITING a copy of the draft scoping statement from: Paul Hakim, Chair Hurley Planning Board Hurley Town Hall 10 Wamsley Place Hurley, NY 12443