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.