Established in 2006, KingstonCitizens.org is a non-partisan organization committed to nurturing transparency in local government through citizen engagement and participation.
Last night, the developer Robert Ianucci hosted a public informational meeting in the Rondout, where we learned that his initial design was nothing more than “a concept.” (Architect Paul Jankowitz @ 59:00 on Tape #1)
The public made some great points and suggestions, although a highlight for me, was the idea to create an architectural competition, to lay out guiding principals and then to invite some of the youngest and brightest architects from all over the world to consider what could be built there. “It doesn’t have to be traditional – and anyway, what you’re proposing doesn’t reflect the architecture of old Kingston at all.” (Starts at 00:00 on Tape #2).
The location is nestled into a residential area and nearby Riverview Baptist Church and the AJ Williams-Myers African Roots Library – communities essential to engage going forward.
Some of Kingston’s best organizers were present, including Ann Loeding who is collecting names for upcoming meetings and to solicit comments going forward. If you wish to be included, please contact her at: email@example.com
Thanks to The Kingston News for recording the meeting, brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.
(Photo credit: Clark Richters)
Today, Mayor Steve Noble and DPW Superintendent Ed Norman met with the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (UCRRA) requesting a short-term extension from single-stream recycling to dual stream recycling through June 30, 2019. It appears some headway was made – and we appreciate everyone’s efforts.
You can review the full discussion below thanks to The Kingston News and brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.
VIEW: “Kingston Residents Can Mix Recyclables Beyond Jan. 1, 2019” in the Daily Freeman
By Rebecca Martin
On Wednesday, December 12th at 2:00 pm the UCRRA Board is hosting a special meeting to discuss the City of Kingston’s request to extend the acceptance of SSR (Single Stream Recycling) beyond December 31, 2018. VIEW
This is an important step forward as if the City of Kingston and UCRRA can come to the table to agree, our single-stream recycling will continue to be managed by UCRRA through June 30th to allow the city of Kingston to complete its recycling transition plan. Otherwise, we will have to manage it on our own and that doesn’t make any sense in the short term. It’s KingstonCitizens.org’s goal to encourage a compromise.
We ask citizens who can’t attend this week to support UCRRA and the CoK in their negotiations on our behalf.
CoK Mayor Steve Noble
UCRRA Executive Director Timothy Rose, PE
Thank you for your willingness to work together on Kingston’s single-stream recycling transition. We respectfully request that UCRRA continue to accept Kingston’s single-stream recyclables until June 30, 2019 to allow us to complete our recycling transition plan.
Thank you for your consideration. Please distribute our request to all UCRRA board members.
By Rebecca Martin
In what was a ‘coordinated review’ of sorts, project spokesman Joseph Bonura and members of JM Development Group LLC gave an informational meeting at the City of Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC). It’s smart, because by meeting with our HLPC early – they will benefit by getting feedback on the proposal before their review process begins. This not only saves time in the long run, but it puts their best foot forward by starting off with a more realistic project in one of our historic districts. Already the project has improved by doing so – and we would expect that it will continue to go in the right direction with the input and guidance of our historic professionals.
Video from last evening was made by The Kingston News, brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.
By Rebecca Martin
Last evening, the Kingston Common Council unanimously passed Resolution No. 227 “Requesting an (Enhanced) Public Participation Plan for Lincoln Park LLC (also known as GlidePath and/or the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center) as per the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Policy (CP) 29.” This relates directly to a fossil fuel peak energy power plant being proposed in the Town of Ulster, where only 1.3 miles away (and downwind) is Kingston’s Rondout that includes an environmental justice area identified by the DEC.
What’s this all about and why is it significant?
For the last 12 months, KingstonCitizens.org – along with our environmental and citizen partners – have been following the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process for the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a 20 MW natural gas fired generation plant with diesel backup and battery storage project being proposed in the Town of Ulster, NY.
VIEW “Toolkit and Video: Residents of Ulster County and “G” Zone Counties: Temporary Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Power Plants to Address Zoning.
During the public scoping process, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in its “Comments on Draft Scope” (March 20th, 2018) for the proposed “power plant” under Air Resources stated that, “Air Permit Applications are subject to the Department’s Environmental Justice Policy (CP-29).”
The intent of the Commissioner’s Policy (CP) requires the applicant to incorporate environmental justice into the permitting process and prepare a Public Participation Plan.
Kingston’s Environmental Justice area that was identified as being potentially impacted (in Rondout, Kingston, only 1.3 miles South of the proposed project location) would be provided with sufficient time, tools, and the opportunity to clearly voice, and have their comments be considered.
On July 23rd, 2018, Mayor Steve Noble wrote a letter to Kelly Turturro (DEC Region 3) as a follow-up, asking that the DEC “…send a written notice to the applicant requesting that it immediately commence compliance with the requirements of the Department’s Environmental Justice Policy, as specific in the Department’s March 20, 2018 Comments on Draft Scope.”
Process Steps: Passing Resolution No. 227.
As we awaited an update from the DEC and GlidePath on this matter, on October 29, 2018 KingstonCitizens.org asked that the Kingston Common Council amplify the Mayor’s request and also ask that the DEC direct the applicant to prepare and submit an enhanced Participation Plan for review and approval, so that it can be implemented before the public comment on the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) is opened – which we are expecting to be delivered at any time.
The process steps included getting the item on the Public Safety Committee agenda for November for discussion. The resolution language was looked over by Kingston’s Corporation Council, and sent out of committee to caucus where it went to the floor to be voted on last night – and passed unanimously.
It was a great night for this item to be on the agenda, too, as we also got to witness the Municipal ID program as well as the Mayor’s 2019 Municipal budget all pass unanimously. We’d like to thank our elected and appointed officials and staff alike for their thoughtful leadership and hard work.
18:20 – 21:40
Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org
37:15 – 38:40
Sue Rosenberg, CAPP-NY
48:55 – 51:33
Iris Marie Bloom, CAPP-NY
Local Law of 2018 Municipal ID Program passes unanimously
Resolution #220 to approve the city’s general fund budget for the fiscal year 2019, as Amended.
Ward 3 Alderman Rennie Scott Childress (Majority Leader)
Ward 9 Alderwoman Andrea Shaut15:02 – 17:19
Ward 5 Alderman Bill Carey17:24 – 18:08
Ward 7 Alderman Patrick O’Reilly
23:57 – 27:13
Ward 6 Alderman Tony Davis
Resolution is adopted 9/0
Last evening, we attended the Sunset Gardens Tenant Association meeting at the Town of Ulster’s Senior Center. One after another, tenants of apartment complexes in the Towns of Ulster and Esopus spoke of the shocking disrepair, unsafe conditions and treatment of those living at Sunset Gardens (ToU), Lakeshore Villas (ToE) and Black Creek Road (ToE). Special thanks to Laura Hartmann and all of the citizens from Sunset Gardens who had the courage to organize.
The culprit – E & M Management – the real estate investment and management company based in Brooklyn, NY is mostly new to the area, gobbling up apartment complexes that include “68 apartments across from the Rondout Creek” in downtown Kingston and a vacant parcel near the Maritime Museum to build the “Kingston Waterfront Plaza”, a mixed-use project. There is speculation that they are looking at Dutch Village, too – in uptown Kingston.
Although the planning process in Kingston is complete for their new build downtown – with a negative declaration in SEQR which is absolutely unbelievable – we are continuing our efforts to advocate for an improved development process for our planning department and planning board. We will keep a close eye on this company and work with our neighbors to assure that if E & M and all of their LLC partners want to come to our community, it is not on their terms.
Thanks to Clark Richters of The Kingston News for filming the event, brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.
By Rebecca Martin
There was a big turn-out at last evening’s Planning Board meeting, where several items of interest were discussed. They included a Communications Tower being proposed near Colonel Gardens (a public housing complex in Ward 7); The Irish Cultural Center’s (ICCHV) site plan public hearing; and a new proposed project, the ‘Super Garage’ located in the Rondout, Kingston.
Here are highlights.
The outcomes were mostly predictable. The proposed Communications Tower was tabled while the applicant performs a balloon test for visual impacts and looks at a secondary site in the Town of Ulster; the ICCHV was also tabled, although there was some confusion from the public as to what they were expected to comment on without materials or any communication/guidance by the planning department, and the “Super Garage” project and lot line revisions were both tabled as well.
We asked the planning board to table the proposed communication tower project (which they were going to do anyway), in light of learning about New Hempstead’s model law for cell towers. In order to allow the Kingston common council to analyze the overall planning issue and to decide where and under what conditions tower constructions may proceed, a brief moratorium on cell towers given our ongoing comprehensive plan and zoning amendment work could be requested.
Model Law (New Hempstead)
NYSDOS Recommendation on Communication Towers
NYSDOS Moratoria on Land Use
Robert Iannucci, the project applicant for the “Super Garage” project, will host a public informational hearing on Thursday, December 6th at 6:00pm at the Cornell Steamboat Building located at 108 East Strand in the Rondout.
Facebook Event on “Super Garage” Public Informational Hearing
At tonight’s City of Kingston Planning Board meeting, there are three topics that we are following. You can view them below to learn what they are and suggestions for what the public can do.
The meeting will be held at Kingston City Hall (420 Broadway) 3rd Floor, Council Chambers. For items without a public hearing, please arrive early to sign-up to speak. Public comment occurs at the top of the planning board meeting. Tonight’s meeting will be filmed by The Kingston News thanks to KingstonCitizens.org
Verizon Wireless Communication Tower in Ward 7
Item #7: #261 Flatbush Avenue SPECIAL PERMIT/SITE PLAN to install a wireless service facility/communication tower. SBL 48.74-4-31. SEQR Determination. Zone RR. Ward 7. Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless/applicant; John & Tirzah Sheehy/owner.
WHAT IS THIS?
When this item came up last month at the October Planning Board meeting, the Board “voted unanimously to table the application and refer it to the Ulster County Planning Board. Staff will work with the applicants on preparation of visual simulations as well as a balloon test to show the height of the tower. The public hearing will remain open until the November Planning Board meeting.” Ward 7 Alderman Patrick O’Reilly spoke during public comment (O’Reilly represents Ward 7 where the communication tower is being proposed). According to last month’s minutes, O’Reilly was “interested in knowing how much radiation is emitted from these types of towers. He said that there are already cell towers on top of the neighboring water tower and that this would be in addition to those. Also, he is interested in the visual of the tower and how it would look from the surrounding neighborhoods. He said that there are beautiful views in that area and he would like to know how these views would be affected.”
Of note, the location of this tower is in close proximity to one of Kingston’s public housing complexes.
By Rebecca Martin
(Click on the image to view the Ulster County Board of Elections Sample Ballot)
Attached is a copy of the 2018 General Election Ballot that includes Proposal Number One, “An Amendment Shall Section C-10 of the Ulster County Charter be amended to provide for the creation of an independent Redistricting Commission, designed to exclude political influence in revising county legislative districts, as proposed and unanimously approved by the Ulster County Charter Revision Commission.” Make sure on election day, that you turn the ballot over to find the referendum, located on the back of the ballot.
By Marissa Marvelli
October 17 was a great day for historic preservation in Kingston for three reasons:
1) Mayor Noble, in presenting his proposed budget for 2019, announced that he is creating a permanent part-time preservation administrator position in the Planning Department. Members of the community have been advocating for such a position for years. If the Common Council approves the Mayor’s budget, The City of Kingston will soon have a knowledgeable person on staff to answer questions about district boundaries, help applicants with projects needing commission approval, promote historic tax credit opportunities, advance municipal preservation goals, and more. (Click on image to review Mayor Steve Noble’s 2019 Budget Announcement starting at 15:50 – 16:36)
2) Following the Mayor’s budget presentation, the Common Council’s Laws & Rules Committee convened for its monthly meeting. Chair Bill Carey announced that the committee is no longer considering the Corporation Counsel’s draft legislation to merge the Heritage Area and Historic Landmarks Preservation Commissions (HLPC). Instead, other solutions are being studied to improve the efficiency of the two commissions, such as eliminating overlapping application reviews.
By Rebecca Martin
At last evening’s Kingston’s Historic Preservation Landmarks Commission (HLPC), the group introduced a draft of an updated preservation ordinance, modeled after the 2014 preservation ordinance, in accordance with the Certified Local Government guidelines (SHPO) and with preservation ordinances from Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester.
Kingston having the rich history that it does, and seemingly everyone’s support to preserve it, requires clear guidelines, policies and laws which we simply haven’t had in place for a long time. Additionally, and for decades, the City of Kingston’s HLPC has been siloed from everything else. Today, we are on a clear path for a complete and proper reset of what is old and fragmented preservation guidelines. We encourage everyone to view this 50-minute discussion. It’s illuminating and exciting to see a process like this being handled so professionally.
You can follow along with the video (starting at 2:00) and the powerpoint presentation (click on image below for the entire PowerPoint) created by HLPC’s Vice Chair Marissa Marvelli.
KingstonCitizens.org is presenting a webinar specifically for all planning and zoning professionals living in the “G” Zone (Ulster, Orange, Greene, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess Counties). We hope that you or someone you delegate can attend on Tuesday, September 25 from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm. A Q&A segment will be allotted at the end of the presentations moderated by Rebecca Martin of KingstonCitizens.org.
Please register to attend webinar:
Attendance to this free webinar event provides credits for the following: AICP (American Institute of Professional Planners) and NYS Planning and Zoning Board.
This webinar event is brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org in partnership with Scenic Hudson, Citizens for Local Power and Riverkeeper. With support from TownOfUlsterCitizens.org, CAPP-NY, Catskill Mountainkeeper, NP Climate Action Coalition. Additional supporters TBA.
Today, over 25 residents gathered at a press conference organized by TownOfUlsterCitizens.org and Pat Strong, candidate for District 46 State Senate. The group met on Riesely Street in the Town of Ulster, a densely populated residential neighborhood and ‘ground zero’ for the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired fossil power plant project by GlidePath.
“Glidepath, a company from Illinois, who has never built a fossil fuel project, wants to come into our town, and build something we don’t want, we don’t need, and that gives us no benefits whatsoever.” said Laura Hartmann, one of the founding members of TownOfUlsterCitizens.org. “They come because they can get their emissions permits easier because of our clean air. They come because of the financial incentive from NYS of $1.4 million before they even flip the on switch.”
By Marissa Marvelli
On September 19th, the Kingston Common Council’s Laws & Rules Committee may discuss whether or not to throw out or to table the Corporation Counsel office’s draft legislation to merge the Heritage Area and Historic Landmarks Preservation Commissions. It will be nearly the fourth consecutive meeting for which this matter has been a topic, and it’s our opinion that the Council should not hesitate to throw out the legislation and instead, continue on the promising path that they are on now.
The council members who serve on the committee deserve praise for their careful study of the Corporation Counsel’s draft legislation and the reasons why it is being proposed. After a lot of information-gathering—particularly at their meeting in July where they heard directly from program administrators—it appears the broad consensus of the committee is that merging the commissions will not meaningfully address issues concerning the regulatory review process, and in fact, may create new problems.
And what are the issues exactly? What problems is “streamlining” meant to solve? Were other solutions considered before the legislation was put forward? No one could say for sure. The reasons repeated by city administration is that merging the commissions is a recommendation of the now disbanded Comp Plan Re-zoning Subcommittee without sharing any notes that show how that conclusion was reached. At face value, the idea to eliminate one step in the public review process by combining two related volunteer commissions would seem like a rational change. Why make an applicant appear before two separate commissions for a new business sign? No one is arguing in favor of such redundancy, but is there another way to solve this?
By Rebecca Martin
On Thursday, September 13th, the primary election will occur with polls open from 12:00pm – 9:00pm. FIND YOUR POLLING PLACE.
In the City of Kingston, registered Democrats and members of the Reform party will have the opportunity to choose their candidate for the races listed below. You may REVIEW the sample ballot in advance as well as to click on the links below to be taken to the webpages of each individual candidate.