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

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