Following is a letter sent today to the Greenport Planning Board, copying Hudson Government, local and state agencies.
The photo shows a recent meet-up between a family with small children and a Colarusso megaton gravel truck, a tragic accident just waiting to happen.
I urge all concerned Hudson citizens to make their voices hear now. Please write letters to the Greenport Planning Board, and attend their next meeting: JULY 25.
Edward Stiffler, Greenport Planning Board Chair
Subject: The Colarusso Haul Road Proposal
To: Chairman Stiffler, Members of the Greenport Planning Board, and its representatives:
As one of many concerned citizens of Hudson, and as a member of a Hudson Citizens group, I am writing to protest last Tuesday’s meeting of the Greenport Planning Board.
When Greenport was granted lead agency, your Planning Board took on a responsibility you are now shirking in the extreme. We know Greenport wanted lead agency in order to rubberstamp Colarusso’s proposal, but in fact, your task was to examine the real impacts of such a project on an adjacent city, to treat Hudson, your neighbor, with respect. Your task was to take SEQRA seriously. However, it is clear that your aim is to serve the interest of one company at the expense of our city and its citizens.
While your bias in favor of Colarusso has been apparent to Hudson from the beginning of this review process, we had a reasonable expectation after the Public Comment hearing at Columbia-Greene Community College that Greenport would listen to Hudson and follow SEQRA. As was stated by many who spoke at that public meeting, the SEQRA threshold for negative impacts is low. Even one negative impact should warrant a full review. However, it is clear that in spite of the obvious need for a full SEQRA review, you are itching to issue a Negative Declaration.
Last Tuesday’s Greenport meeting was a gross dereliction of your duty as Lead Agency and a shameful travesty of the intent of SEQRA, nothing more than a shill session in support of Colarusso, a company based in Greenport.
To review, the Colarusso Haul Road Proposal presents numerous negative impacts:
—damage to the very future of our waterfront and our city, economically, ecologically, and socially.
—noise and dust pollution from current and increased truck traffic
—safety hazards for pedestrians, cars, trains, and CSX rail infrastructure (see photo at the end of this letter) presented by current and increased future truck traffic
—damage to Hudson streets and buildings
—damage to sensitive natural wetland areas on the river and South Bay
—damage to the safety and enjoyment of our riverfront public park
Evidently, your attorney Ms. Benedict has not thoroughly read or understood either SEQRA law or our 2011 zoning laws restricting industrial activity at the waterfront, or she would be advising your Board to take the low threshold for negative impacts seriously. Colarusso and its representatives are still arguing segmentation. Ms. Benedict should have explained to your Board that separating the haul road from the dock is a textbook case of segmentation, which violates SEQRA. Like your attorney, members of the Greenport Planning Board evidently haven’t read SEQRA or the Hudson 2011 zoning law, which is all about phasing out industrial activity on the waterfront so that Hudson, like other riverfront cities such as Newburgh, Beacon, Peekskill, Catskill, and even tiny Athens, can create a waterfront with access and enjoyment for all citizens and visitors.
It is clear from what we have witnessed so far that Greenport does not respect Hudson, its government, its people, and its beautiful waterfront. Greenport does not have a unique waterfront to cherish and protect. Greenport’s main thoroughfare is a strip mall of big box stores and asphalt parking lots. We all shop there, but with due respect for your own choices, we do not want Historic Hudson to end up looking like Greenport. The time of heavy waterfront industry is in the past. That’s why the City of Hudson passed our 2011 zoning law.
In every meeting I have attended, Colarusso and its representatives have treated Hudson, our Planning Board, our Zoning Board, our city attorney, our Code Enforcer, and our citizens with the rudeness of a schoolyard bully. Colarusso has shown no good faith in its dealings with our city. The company requests a waiver of our zoning law’s Non Conforming Use restrictions, despite repeatedly withholding accurate information from Hudson about its current truck traffic and the clear negative impacts if they increase that truck traffic from current numbers.
No, the Colarusso Haul Road would not be good for Hudson, not in any universe the Greenport Planning Board and its representatives can invent with magical thinking. The Colarusso Haul Road proposal would irreparably damage our riverfront, as well as numerous cultural institutions, businesses, residential and recreational areas near and on the waterfront.
The economic, environmental, and social impacts of the haul road proposal are all negatives. There are no positives. Colarusso would continue to run trucks on Front and Columbia Streets and increase industrial activity on their haul road and dock.
Fortunately, however, Hudson has its clearly defined 2011 zoning laws, and an activated citizenry that will fight for the future of our city and our waterfront. We will not be cowed by the aggressive bullying of Colarusso and its attorneys, nor by Colarusso’s engineer, who couches his disdain for our city and its citizens with evasive maneuvers and attempts at “folksy” charm. We understand our 2011 zoning laws and we will fight to enforce them.
We, the concerned citizens of Hudson, urge you to fulfill your responsibilities and duties according to SEQRA and issue a Positive Declaration. This is the only logical conclusion based on the clear evidence of negative impacts on the City of Hudson. You have already been informed at the Public Hearing that failure to do so will result in at least one Article 78.
Full-time Resident and Property Owner