JOINT MEETING ROSENDALE TOWN BOARD &
ROSENDALE PLANNING BOARD
FOR HRVR,LLC SEQRA REVIEW (JERB)
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.
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
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joan S. Jordan