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