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ROSENDALE PLANNING BOARD                                         


JANUARY 17, 2008


Meeting was opened at 7:08 p.m. with Supervisor McDonough calling the roll for both Boards.

            PLANNING BOARD: Billy Liggan                   Present

                                                            Joe Havranek               Present

                                                            Fred Greitzer                Present

                                                            Randi Morf                   Present

                                    (Alternate)      Nick Mercurio               Present

                                                            John McEnrue              Excused

                                                            Peter Perry                   Excused

            TOWN BOARD:                     Patrick McDonough     Present

                                                            Manna Jo Greene         Present

                                                            Ken Cluen                    Present

                                                            Rich Minissali               Present

                                                            Bob Gallagher              Excused


ALSO PRESENT: Chuck Voss, Dave Plant of C.T.Male; Mary Lou Christiana, attorney for the Planning Board; and about 40+ residents.


Supervisor McDonough advised that meeting was a workshop for discussion of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Town Board and the Planning Board for procedures involving the Joint Environmental Review Board (JERB) forming to conduct the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) for the application of Hudson River Valley Resorts, LLC; this is not the time for general input from the public but he will entertain pertinent comments.  He further explained that the MOU has not been available until tonight and the Board members are viewing it for the first time.


Fred Greitzer stated that after speaking with Ms. Christiana that under #7 it should be that any motion passed must be by the majority of each Board separately.

A motion was made by Fred Greitzer; seconded by Rich Minissali to change #7 to reflect “that any proposed action shall require a majority of each Board, separately”.              Roll Vote:  9 Ayes.                   


Item #9 had brief discussion of the responsibilities of the Town Clerk and the Planning Clerk; Town Clerk will be responsible for minutes; Planning Clerk will handle dissemination of information (Ms. Christiana will define the responsibilities).


Item #11; question was asked what happens if the applicant does not provide escrow or continue to keep it current.  Ms. Christiana and Joe Havranek both concurred that the application would be considered incomplete and the process would stop.


Item #14-end; Councilwoman Greene suggested that when the JERB has a “hung vote”, before going to arbitration we should try mediation; she suggested Ulster Mediation.   Ms. Christiana stated that we should not have “co-lead agency” without arbitration being in place in the MOU; JERB picks the arbitrator experienced in SEQRA.

Ms. Christiana said that there are deadlines to be met through out the process and the applicant would have to waive each process; Joe Havranek stated that the applicant said they are amenable; he said that most applicants would waive deadlines so that a thorough review is done.  Randi Morf said that she feels we should keep the applicant out of the arbitration process; Ms. Christiana agreed that if we disagree, the applicant should not have to pay for the arbitration.  Ms. Christiana said that all reference to the applicant should be removed.


Discussion followed about various aspects of the process; Councilwoman Greene stated that Albany said we need to forecast every step in the process and account for every step.

Ms. Christiana restated that the State sets the process; we will have DEC review the  MOU before we accept it.

Question was raised if DEC doesn’t feel that co-lead agency will fly, what will happen?  If after discussion DEC still wants lead agency and the DEC Commissioner has to make a decision, he can not approve co-lead agency so it would have to be Planning Board, Town Board or DEC.


Fred Greitzer asked that a memo from the Ulster County Planning Board, signed by Robert Leibowitz, dated January 14, 2008, be entered into the record; this was not the recommendation of the full Ulster County Planning Board but of Mr. Leibowitz.  Fred stated that he is a representative to the Ulster County Planning Board but he can’t speak even to clarify or correct information.  Fred feels that this memo is “strictly the opinion of one member and not the full board; Ms. Christiana stated that we can “challenge the opinion”.


Concern was shown for public input; the process allows for public input both at public hearings and as written comments as per Supervisor McDonough.  It was stated that public input should not be part of a Town Board meeting as this can muddy the process and the input does not become part of the record for the public hearing; there is a proper time for all comments.


Discussion covered some areas pertaining to the “process” and “personal opinion”; opinion must be set aside and review on merit and application of the code.  Fred suggested that members not attend any outside sessions on either side of the issue; Councilman Cluen also stated that opinions should be set aside and the “findings” are not based on opinion but merit and application to the code.


A gentleman in the audience asked why DEC should not be the lead agency.  Supervisor McDonough and Billy Liggan both stated that perhaps DEC would not look at issues of local concern with the same critical eye as the Planning Board or Town Board would.  Supervisor McDonough said that one benefit of DEC taking the lead agency position would be that it would remove the political animus from the process; the site plan review and the zoning review will give the Town ample opportunity to have our concerns heard and reviewed.  Billy Liggan said that the DEC review will primarily be the “birds, bees, and trees review”.


Joe Havranek stated that he is tired of the corruption accusations that have been made; DEC taking lead agency would remove that suspicion as would total “disclosure” when the accusations are made public.  He stated that process hasn’t started yet or it can be legally challenged.  He feels it is fiscally responsible to challenge DEC to have the matter resolved.  Gary Jacobson asked if it would be possible for DEC to be co-lead with the Town Board and Planning Board; Ms. Christiana said that would be under a court order.

Joe said that we are an involved agency and they can’t take that away from us.

Paul Rubin, Save the Lakes, suggested using a stenographer to take the minutes; he further stated that his professional opinion would be to have DEC spearhead the SEQRA review and work together (all interested parties).

Councilwoman Greene asked where we are if the Town Board feels further study is needed and DEC turns it down; she favors scoping sessions from the outset.

Joe Havranek stated that scoping is not part of the DEC process; we could put certain conditions into the MOU (scoping, meetings being held in Rosendale, working technical group have Rosendale representation).

Ms. Greene agreed that DEC has a high level of expertise, however certain issues affecting community character such as, public access, economics and traffic, might not be looked at to the same degree as by the Town Board/Planning Board.  Supervisor McDonough stated that his concern is that DEC would be looking at issues from a more regional than local aspect.

Billy Liggan stated that an Article 78 has been filed against the Belleyre project by Greene County for stoppage even though DEC is favoring the project.

Joe Havranek gave a definition of  “scoping” as defined by NYS; it’s a way to focus concerns of environmental and social nature, a mechanism to bring together all issues for lead agency to consider and form the outline for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).  This becomes the table of contents for the EIS and the applicant has to address all the issues.


Supervisor McDonough stated that there is a tentative meeting with DEC next week; we will go to them with a revised MOU to see where we should go; he feels that DEC will not budge on a joint lead agency review process.


Questions was raised about the zoning application; Supervisor McDonough said that the present zoning does not include spa, health club and yoga center uses or for sale housing, but we are not there yet, we have to go through the SEQRA; a coordinated review will follow.


Supervisor McDonough stated that there was an “action alert” being circulated that he was very disturbed by; he read the following comment’ “Unfortunately, the dissemination of incorrect information dilutes the very real and important issues and concerns that we are attempting to address, much the same way that attempts to disparage the character of town officials does.  Such tactics only tend to be divisive and counterproductive, and undermines the very important collaborative relationship between town officials and citizens that is imperative in a process such as this.  Please be careful not to alienate people who agree with the legitimate concerns which are being raised”.


Question was raised as to how we guarantee that escrow money will be there to cover costs needed for the various reviews and studies; Ms. Christiana stated that we stop the review process.  It is estimated that 2% of the estimated project cost is paid into escrow up front; when it is used up we have to go back to the applicant.


A discussion about updates to the comprehensive plan zoning took place and it was asked what would happen if changes were made during the process.  Fred Greitzer said that nothing in the zoning change application were addressed in the current comprehensive plan; Ms. Christiana stated that a comprehensive plan will not address all issues; the comprehensive plan and zoning must be in harmony.  Councilwoman Greene stated that with or without this project, our comprehensive plan and zoning need review; we did four (4) zoning changes while in the process of adopting the plan.  Ms. Greene suggested a moratorium on zoning changes until a review is done.


Joe Havranek asked Noelle Damon (Save the Lakes) if she knew who was handling their web site; she responded that she did; Joe asked that the e-mail addresses of Planning Board members be removed, these are personal addresses used by their families and should not be used for town business.


Councilwoman Greene requested that before a final decision is made on the MOU that it be brought back to the JERB for discussion.


Fred Greitzer moved that the meeting adjourn at 9:20 p.m.; seconded by Joe Havranek.  A unanimous “aye” vote was recorded.


                                                                                    Respectfully submitted,



                                                                                    Joan S. Jordan

                                                                                    Town Clerk