Thursday, August 24, 2006

Freeman Info on Comp Plan Incorrect

Oh, I feel like everyone will come to the Saturday meeting upset with me for giving wrong information in the paper. But I never talked with the Freeman, HONEST. You can't get a copy of the plan at Town Hall. You will be able to get a summary of the plan Saturday at the meeting. You can't see the plan on the new (or the old) town website. The old one is static. The new one is under construction. You can see the draft, which is still being edited, on the worksite. My apologies for the confusion. Please let others know. Thanks, Ruth

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Comprehensive Plan Public Hearings Scheduled

Pass the word along, please. We're holding public hearings on the draft plan on Saturday morning, August 26th, at 10 am, and Thursday evening, August 31, at 7 pm. If you want to start reading the draft plan (I'm still editing and adding resources and images) you'll find it here. It will be moved to the new town site later this week. In the past we've held one meeting in West Hurley and one at Town Hall, but due to the lack of air conditioning in West Hurley, Mike Shultis arranged for both meetings in Old Hurley.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Where is that Comp Plan?

I know, it's July and we were aiming to finish in June. I won't bother to explain; it's too personal to be relevant to you. But I am making progress. I'm working on it full time now. (I worked on it full time for a bit in May, too, but just couldn't get it finished.) I'll keep you posted. Ruth Wahtera

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Smart Growth Toolkit on-line - great browsing

How to Use This Toolkit This is a really nice site about the tools communities can use to shape the growth of their town. Look at the slideshow section. It includes clear, illustrated powerpoints of zoning techniques. If you'd like to know more about the range of zoning and planning techniques other communities are using, you'll like this site. Thanks to the state of Massachusetts who put it together as a resource for their communities.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Rail Trail Work Party-Sat. June 10

Free tomorrow morning? Rail Trail work party, 9:00 am to get the last two berms covered with wood chips. Just show up with your shovels and rakes. Or go shopping at the Hurley Heritage Society's Barn Sale, Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Vision for the Future

Where do we hope we'll be in 2026? Here's a draft the committee thinks captures the Town's sentiments. What do you think? Today (2026) we enjoy living in a community that has maintained its beauty, charm, and neighborliness. Although our population has grown, more than 60% of our land is still open space. [In 2005, 79% is open space] Our efforts to balance protection of the environment and the rights of property owners through creative land use policies has been successful. The rich history of the Catskills, our stone houses, and the Maverick Center inform the design of our new construction. New pedestrian and bicycle paths connect residential areas with town services and recreation. Our children can move safely about the town despite traffic. Neighborhoods encompass a richness of diversity and a culture of neighborly support. Our visitors enjoy our history, the out-of-doors, our antique and crafts shops and our annual festivals. We consider ourselves fortunate to live here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Photos for the Comp Plan

I forgot to ask -- do you have photos, or could you take digital photos, of Hurley locations we discuss in the comprehensive plan? Do you know someone you could ask? (for love, no money) Things we could use -
  • Examples of Hurley's history
  • Rural character and environment
  • Route 28 Overlay deterioration
  • Samples of current housing stock and developments
  • Safety issues
  • Transportation/roadway illustrations
  • Home businesses
  • Logging
  • Unused light industrial district buildings
  • Parks/ball parks/recreation areas
  • Cornfields and bluffs
  • Reservoir
  • Scenic roadways and view corridors
  • Storm water run-off and flooding problems
  • Smoke from open burning
  • Senior citizen gathering or individual portraits - with permission
  • Schools
  • Main Street
  • Maverick
  • Design Standards at work - maybe Hurley Ridge Market
  • Tourism destinations
  • Traffic hotspots

Got the idea?

Send pictures or inquiries to me at


Ruth Wahtera

Traffic, Transportation, Road Network

Any comments on transportation? The County is currently studying 209 but their preliminary feeling is that it is adequate for the next 20 years, with the possible addition of left turn lanes. Route 28? A collector/connector system needed between Van Dale and 375? A connector road between Lucas and 209? Another bridge across the Esopus somewhere between Wynkoop and Marbletown - recommended in the 1969 plan. Other?

Design Standards - applied to what, by whom?

Dennis described communities developing design standards for commercial development, streetscapes, residential developments. The Open Space Plan recommends design standards for scenic roads (eg fences, signs) and view corridors. Hurley currently has no design standards. What do you think?

Town Center - Where is it?

Dennis Doyle has raised the question - Does Hurley need a town center? We've been discussing a connector road between 209 and Lucas Ave. One was proposed in the 1969 Comprehensive Plan. It could be developed with a town center in mind. What would we want located there, if we had one?

Smart Growth - Where?

We know that Hurley will grow over the next two decades. Where do we want that growth to occur? In the early '90's, the town adopted zoning changes with the expectation that growth would occur in the R-1 and R-2 areas. (Primarily the eastern portion of West Hurley and most of Old Hurley. Can anyone post a zoning map?) Does that still work?

Housing Affordability

Post your thoughts about housing affordability here--
  • Would you like to see affordable housing integrated into any/every new development?
  • What groups would you like to see have priority on the available units? Hurley residents? Elderly and disabled? Town employees? Civil servents? Young families?
  • What percent of the median should we be targeting?

Comprehensive Plan Issues

Dennis Doyle raised a lot of issues last night. We'd like your feedback. I'll start message threads on each of the topics so we can keep the discussion about each focused. To summarize some of his points for those of you who weren't there -
  • Change will happen, so shape it however you can.
  • Ulster County will grow by 40,000 - 80,000 by 2030. Hurley will probably absorb about 1800 of that growth.
  • In 1998 a household at 100% of the median income in Ulster County could afford 63.5% of the homes on the market. In 2004, that dropped to only 28.2% of the homes. (The median income in Hurley in the 2000 census was $51,055)
  • Local communities have more control over how that growth occurs than any other level of government, if you use the tools available
  • The more specific (he used the term precise) a comprehensive plan is, the more useful in controlling or shaping that growth. And, the more controversial.
  • Think long term but focus action steps on the immediate
  • Hurley, by state mandate, must accommodate a fair share of below market housing. We need to establish a way to do that. We can determine how and who gets priority.
  • Design standards are a useful way to ensure the on-going 'character of the community.'

Those were some of the things I took away from the presentation. How about you?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


7 pm Thurs, May 18

Hurley Town Hall

All Hurley residents are invited to attend this meeting sponsored by the Hurley Conservation Advisory Council (C.A.C.) to learn how the proposed Groundwater Protection Plan for Old Hurley will help preserve the quality and quantity of our town's water supply. We hope to see you there. Your Conservation Advisory Council

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Join us for this meeting - Predicting and Planning for Hurley's Future

Monday, May 22, 2006 7:30 pm Town Hall
The Town of Hurley Comprehensive Plan Committee has arranged for the staff from the Ulster County Planning Department to discuss the challenges that confront Hurley and the County as we grow into the next decade and beyond. • Population Growth • Planned Development Options • Employment and Business Opportunities • Water and Air Quality • Managing Traffic • Real Estate Values and Aging in Place Join us on Monday, May 22nd when the Ulster County Planning Department presents their projections to the Hurley Town Board and the Comprehensive Plan Committee. This meeting sets the stage for reviewing and adopting the Comprehensive Plan. We expect to publish the plan in June. Then the adoption process starts. The Committee will hold public hearings and send the draft to the County Planning Board for review and comments. Then we forward the plan to the Town Board. They must hold their own public hearing before taking action. On the 22nd - regular Town Board business from 7-7:30 pm. The balance of the meeting will focus on the future. We hope to see you there.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Paul Hakim in Limbo

click on link to read full Daily Freeman article of 3/22/06 by Donna Cafaldo

Friday, February 17, 2006

Hurley Town Board Seeks to Replace Paul Hakim, Head of Planning Board

(click on link for entire Freeman Article) Town Planning Board Chairman Paul Hakim will no longer be a member of the board he has served for 12 years and chaired for three if a resolution introduced by town Supervisor Michael Shultis Monday night gains approval.

Shultis wants to replace Hakim as the Planning Board head with newcomer Laurel Herdman.

A possible move to replace Hakim has been a focus of speculation since a new Democratic majority, led by Shultis, took over the Town Board in January.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Friday, February 10, 2006

Hurley Planning Board

The Planning Board held its latest monthly meeting on February 6 with the proposed 652-house development on its schedule. The purpose was to approve the scoping document which was done with a few brief additions. This means that the developer may now proceed with the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Board worked with a final scoping plan put together by Shuster Associates, the Hurley town consultant, and primarily based on the developer's 27-page draft scoping document with additions from the public and the independent consultants, hired to review the work. When this final, final version is completed, copies will be sent to all Involved and Interested agencies and, hopefully, included here. Traffic caused by the development was a major concern of the meeting. In response to a question, the project's lawyer, Geraldine Tortorella, said that Lucas Avenue was the "proposed" access to the property, not the "preferred" one, and that they were continuing to press the State Department of Transportation for access to Route 209, their preferred access. It was suggested that Hurley Avenue into Kingston be added to the list of roads to be studied for traffic volume and that not only volume, but speed on Lucas Avenue and Route 209 be taken into consideration for times when the Community College classes let out, especially on the connections with Cottekill Road. There was discussion on the developer's proposal to describe "recently drilled or tested off-site wells on properties adjacent to the project site." Mr. Giebelhouse asked that they review many more than adjacent wells, reasoning that the aquifer was large and that residents with wells on the fringes of the aquifer would be the first to feel any diminution of the water by uptake from the development. It was pointed out that the county Health Department requires a minimum of 2,500 feet from the site for a study of the impact. The developers plan to identify the project's potential sources of water and do 72-hour pump tests on drilled spots to see if they're affecting off-site wells. This is the Health Department protocol, Ms. Tortorella said. They will include recharge rates and climatic conditions. They haven't done any of this yet. It was noted that a couple thousand seniors will presumably moving to the development so where will they eventually be buried? It was also noted that there probably will be more of an impact on the schools than the developer has indicated and that Hurley Recreation is a private club rather than a municipal entity. After the scoping document had been approved, Planning Board Chair Paul Hakim said that so far all they've heard from the Board and from local residents is what they did NOT want to see. He would like to hold a public meeting, a brainstorming session, on what people would LIKE to see in the development. This would help the Town meet the long-range goals in the nearly completed Comprehensive Town Plan. He mentioned senior housing as an example and it was added that people in Hurley can't afford the $400,000 houses which the developer is proposing to build. Mr. Hakim also mentioned recreation, the Rail Trail and traffic as examples of development matters for which he would like public input. This meeting might be held some time in March. Mr. Hakim also said he would like Dennis Doyle, Director of the Ulster County Planning Department to give a public presentation of what's happening throughout the county that will affect Hurley. For instance, projections show that the population of Hurley will double by 2030.

posted by Virginia

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Hidden Forest Scoping Document Deficient in Areas

The Hidden Forest "Draft Final" EIS Scoping Document appears to be deficient in several areas. While SEQR permits considerable flexibility in the format of the Draft and Final EIS; the organization of the Hidden Forest "Draft Final" scoping document is such that essential components of an EIS are missing or obscured. For example, rather than present project alternatives early in the document, as would be done for a Federal (NEPA) EIS, the project alternatives are located at the back of the document, and are not the focus of the study. Mitigation and monitoring for each proposed alternative (which seem to focus on traffic design and the number of housing units, rather than the overall project spatial footprint) are not specified. A summary of impacts by alternative is not included. The scoping document does not indicate that an alternatives matrix (an important EIS component) will be developed for the draft EIS. According to NYSDEC, one of the purposes of the SEQR scoping process is to provide an initial identification of mitigation measures for antipated project impacts. This is not provided in the scoping document, and normally would be a component of the alternatives analysis, had the document been organized such that the project alternatives were highlighted. Finally, the emphasis of the scoping document is heavily weighted towards traffic and socio-economic impacts. These two categories of impacts are presented in considerable detail, relative to impacts to natural resources (wetlands, wildlife, soils, hydrology, etc.).If this is because information on these study components is lacking and requires further data collection/environmental studies, it should have been stated in the scoping document, as identification of the extent and quality of information required to complete the EIS is also specified by NYSDEC as a primary objective of the SEQR scoping process.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Groundwater Protection Plan Draft

Click on "Link" below to download and view a preliminary draft of the Old Hurley Groundwater Protection Plan. The C.A.C. Conservation Advisory Council requested this report in response to the residents of Hurley who listed the preservation of the quality and quantity of the town's drinking water as their number one environmental priority. The Hurley Town Board and the Planning Board have recently been presented with a draft of an Old Hurley Groundwater Protection Plan which was prepared at no cost to Hurley by Steven Winkley, Groundwater Specialist of the New York Rural Water Assoc. (NYRWA), a Claverack-based non-profit organization, funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Winkley has worked on similar projects for a number of area communities, including Saugerties and Woodstock. The report was prepared with the cooperation of the Rolling Meadows Water Corp. It is expected to be reviewed by the Town Board and the Planning Board and presented to the residents of Hurley in a public meeting.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Hurley Rail Trail Needs Some Help!

The Rail Trail following route 209 through Hurley was built with help from many friends. More work is planned, but a little help is needed. Eleven hillocks, or berms, were built to NY State specifications, in order to provide a buffer to the highway. Thanks to NYSDOT and landscape designer Tom Brodhead, over seventy trees and close to 400 shrubs were planted on and around the berms this November. Spring will be beautiful as the new additions take root and grow. But the berms could become and eyesore if not properly maintained. We’re asking for volunteer groups to “adopt” a berm for maintenance purposes. What does this mean? It can be as simple as occasional weeding. Further effort could involve planting ground cover or flowering bulbs, if desired. The Town Highway Department has committed to watering the berms during the crucial months of June and July. In addition, Linda will try to obtain mulch from the Landfill. Three of the berms have been adopted (Hurley Heritage Society and two by private individuals), leaving eight to go. It’s a good time to pick your real estate! We will even place a small sign at each berm to recognize the sponsoring group. Please contact if you have interest in participating. Click on "Link" below for Rail Trail information. Posted by Wally Cook

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hurley Officials Consider Suing NYC over Flooding

Note: see full article by Donna Cafaldo in the Jan 25, Daily Freeman Pg A6

Councilman John Gill proposed during Mond night's Town Board meeting that Hurley institute a class-action lawsuit against the NYC DEP. Gills call for action comes on heels of his attendance along with town Supervisor Mike Shultis at last week's press conference held by state Senator John Bonacic. Gill said he personally received damage to 100 acres of farmland, 50 of which he says can never be farmed again.

Include Army Engineers in Dam Inspections, Hinchey Says

01/25/2006 By Jay Braman Jr. , Correspondent KINGSTON - U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey says he has been getting lots of calls from New York City watershed dwellers lately. They wonder, he said, if their properties are safe after hearing recent reports that at least one city-owned reservoir dam in the Catskills is in bad shape, and others may not have been inspected properly. Hinchey wonders, too, and while he said his confidence in New York City's ability to take care of these problems and prevent others isn't completely shaken, he thinks it could use the expertise of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as it takes on the task. At a news conference Tuesday in his Kingston office, Hinchey, D-Hurley, formally called on the Corps of Engineers to assist the state Department of Environmental Conservation with dam inspections in the city's West-of-Hudson watershed where the city owns and maintains five reservoirs. The state agency conducts mandatory inspections of the dams every two years. In between, the city Department of Environmental Protection periodically inspects the dams. While lauding recent steps taken on the state level to make the state inspections yearly instead of every other year, Hinchey said he was alarmed by recent reports that city officials may have fudged routine dam inspection reports. Regardless, Hinchey says the Army Corps of Engineers would be invaluable asset. "With the support and expertise of the Corps, it is my hope that the (Department of Environmental Conservation) can increase the frequency and scope of dam inspections within the watershed, provide greater scrutiny of the inspection process and allay the fears of watershed residents," Hinchey wrote to Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C. "Initial discussions with NYSDEC indicate a willingness to partner with the Corps on this matter." Apparently, the Corps' New York District office is not permitted to get involved without permission from its Washington headquarters. But the office has been involved in related matters as recently as last fall, when it was invited to work with the Department of Environmental Protection on repair plans for the damaged Gilboa Dam in Schoharie County. "Yes, the Army Corps was involved with the Gilboa Dam situation," said Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection. "They took part in a workshop on the subject and reviewed the city's plans for stabilizing the dam. The Corps will also be involved in another Gilboa workshop in February, about the anchoring cables that are going to be installed." Hinchey said he has received congressional approval for a complete study of the watershed. He is working to get the funding for such a study, which he says is the first step toward ensuring the long-term integrity of the dams and prevent future flooding. So far, he said, New York City has only been concerned with supplying drinking water to downstaters. Now is the time, Hinchey said, for the city to prioritize flood prevention as well. Within the next decade, he said, the entire water supply system should re-engineered with flood prevention issues in mind. Meanwhile, Michaels said his agency is working to get a waste channel reopened in the Ashokan Reservoir that he said has been locked tight for years. Hinchey said that's fine, but noted that it would still release water into the Esopus Creek, just little farther downstream than where the reservoir spillway currently does. ©Daily Freeman 2006

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Latest Scoping News

At the Hurley Planning Board meeting on January 9, Miles Putman of Shuster Associates, the Town’s planning consultant, gave the Board a preliminary review of the developer’s draft scoping document. He expects to have a final review by the Board’s next meeting on February 6. This final review will incorporate reports from the consultant review team as well as the many comments received from residents of Hurley and neighboring communities. This final review will, on the Board’s approval, be distributed to all involved agencies. Even this preliminary review runs 19 pages. His final review is expected to include the following topics: bedrock geology, soils and surficial geology, topography and slopes, hydrology: surface waters (watercourses), hydrogeology (ground water), wetlands, vegetation and wildlife, air quality and noise, traffic and transportation, utilities, land use and zoning, cultural and historic resources, visual and aesthetic resources, demographics and housing, fiscal analysis, and cumulative impacts. Each of these resource categories in the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the developer will include the setting, the potential impacts, and measures to mitigate the impacts. Much of this review is highly technical. For instance, the part that interests most Hurley residents, that of hydrogeology or ground water, states that the Existing Conditions section will “provide a general description of existing groundwater conditions, including the presence, quality, quantity, extent and present use and rate of withdrawal of groundwater resources, including seasonal variations and fluctuations. Provide a discussion of locations of aquifers and recharge areas. It will acknowledge two recent studies prepared for the Town’s Conservation Advisory Council: Beinkafner’s study and ‘Draft Groundwater Protection Plan for the Old Hurley Area, Ulster County, New York,’ Steven Winkley, PG for the New York Rural Water Association, dated November 2005. Provide a description of off-site wells on properties adjacent to the project site.” The Environmental Impact Statement for the development, of which the main entrance is planned to be at 997 Lucas Avenue, should include detailed descriptions of many proposed actions, Including houses, streets, and existing zoning and site character. The review states: “The purpose or objective of the proposed action will be described as well as the public need for and public benefits(s) from the implementation of the proposed action.” The public does get to comment again when the developer submits the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. A more detailed version of the proposed development consultant review team is as follows: Bagdon Environmental, Delmar, NY--wetlands and terrestrial/aquatic resources; Eugene J. Boesch, PhD., Mahopac, NY--archaeological and historic resources; Creighton Manning Engineers, Albany, NY--traffic and transportation, air and noise resources; Brinnier and Larios Engineers, Kingston, NY--utilities and stormwater treatment. Shuster Associates will undertake the review of issues related to land use and zoning, visual and aesthetic resources, community services, demographics and housing, and will coordinate the work of the team. These consultant services will supposedly not cost the Town of Hurley anything. The developer has set up an escrow account with the Town for that purpose. Posted by Virginia

Planning Board Will Visit Development Site

At the January 9 session of the Hurley Planning Board and at the request of the Board, the lawyer for the developer presented the town with a large, framed color copy of the site plan for the 652-house development. This is now on view for the public in Town Hall. More detailed plans are available for public viewing in the Town Clerk's office. That office has also received transcripts of December's scoping meeting. The transcript is in both hard copy and in PDF format. It is still to be determined how this can be downloaded in homes. The period has ended for public comments on the scoping document which will offer in detail exactly what areas the developer must cover in its State-mandated environmental review. The Planning Board is still reading these comments and putting them together for the Town's Planning Consultant, Shuster Associates, to place into one format. The consultant hoped to have it ready by the next Planning Board meeting on February 6. Shuster Associates has assembled a consultant review team for Hidden Forest. There was some discussion at the meeting about whether the Planning Board can approve these consultants by itself or if it also needed the approval of the Town Board. It was decided to submit the question to the new Town attorney for his opinion. The recommended consultants are: Boyden Environmental, Delmar--wetland and terrestrial/aquatic resources Eugene J. Boesch, Mahopac--archeological and historical resources Creighton Manning Engineers, Albany--transportation Brinnier & Larios, Kingston--utilities and stormwater treatment The Planning Board wants to have a site visit sometime this month. The developer will assemble a team to lead the group from the Town consisting of members of the Planning Board, the Town Board and the newly chosen consultants. Findings from this visit are expected to be in the scoping document.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Mike Shultis enters his office and finds Gary Bellows computer inoperable and all files erased. Click on the word, "link" below or title "disappearing Act" above, to read the entire Jan. 5, Woodstock Times front page article by Andrea Barrist Stern. posted by Doris