Established in 2006, KingstonCitizens.org is a non-partisan, citizen run community group committed to improving the quality of life of Kingston residents through accountability and transparency of local government. By providing citizens with timely and factual information, our work is meant to nurture citizen participation and empowerment through projects, education, and advocacy.
By Rebecca Martin
Please read to the end to review the call to action.
In December of 2017, the consultant Shuster/Turner Planning & Zoning Consultants, hired to lead Kingston in its Comprehensive Planning (CP) process, completed its work by submitting its CP Zoning recommendations.
The recommendations, shaped in part by a CP Zoning Sub-Committee of appointed citizens that met sporadically over the years, were uploaded to the City of Kingston’s website in January of 2018. VIEW
There have been many concerns voiced both publicly and in private, with whispers throughout historic, planning and zoning circles about this document. Those concerns were heard, and seemingly addressed by the Mayor of Kingston, in his state of the city address this year:
“In 2018….my administration will be focusing on overhauling our Zoning Code…I want to thank the past members of the Comprehensive Plan Zoning Sub-Committee for their work over the past few years reviewing our zoning and recommending changes to ensure we are consistent with State law. In 2018, I will be launching the second stage of the zoning update and will be recruiting local volunteers to delve into such complex subjects as affordable housing, urban agriculture, parking and parking waivers, form-based codes and much more. This work is necessary in order to ensure that our zoning is consistent with our Comprehensive Plan, spurs responsible economic development and preserves our community high quality of life.”
Currently, the Mayor is determining some sort of new CP Zoning group, and a process in how citizens will be able to participate. That was a bold move, and we all appreciated his leadership on the matter then.
City of Kingston Corporation Council Submits Legislation to Kingston Common Council, Applied to the Council Laws and Rules Committee.
While we wait, on March 28th, the City of Kingston’s Corporation Council Daniel Gartenstein submitted a communication to the common council requesting that, “In the interests of coordinating the review of proposed projects in the City of Kingston, our office is recommending that the Council move forward with combining the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Heritage Commission.” VIEW
Legislation was submitted along with his communication and assigned to the Kingston Common Council Laws and Rules Committee that will meet on Wednesday, April 18th at 6:30 pm.
This was curious to me as “Streamlining Historic Preservation, Cultural and Design Review 5264-1” is an item in the Comp Plan Zoning Recommendations document (Part III, Section C, #4). It is also one of the items that have been a point of contention for professional preservationists and others.
Anyone following this process can’t help but wonder – why has the executive branch chosen a single item from the CP Zoning recommendations to present legislation to be reviewed by the Common Council before a new CP Zoning group is established?
Corporation council serves at the pleasure of the Mayor, so this request seems out-of-step with the Mayor’s intent to establish a new CP zoning group, who I assume will be charged in looking at the document comprehensively before presenting recommendations to the council for discussion, debate and, passage.
This presents a confusing conflict outwardly to the public.
What does the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC) and the Heritage Area Commission (HAC) do in the City of Kingston?
As a citizen, you’d be hard-pressed to understand what the HLPC and HAC do by visiting the City of Kingston’s website. To look at the “Boards and Commissions” tab, you’ll find that on either page, there isn’t any information about their work. Only mostly a list of those who serve. To find information about either commission, you’d have to know to look in the City of Kingston’s code. There are no instructions to the public to do so, making it nearly impossible for anyone except experienced city government watchers to know.
Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission, as I understand it, is a regulatory body, charged in part by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). You can review the meat and potatoes of their work by visiting HERE.
The Heritage Area Commission, established in 1986 and overseen by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), is entirely different in their scope of work. You can review their role by visiting HERE
It’s possible that combining them isn’t a bad idea. But there are many questions still in doing so, including the real possibility of losing funding opportunities for the city if not done properly. As a good friend told me recently in discussing the matter, “the devil is in the details.”
Approaching CP Zoning Recommendations Comprehensively.
Our comprehensive plan hasn’t been updated since 1961. Zoning to match, for as long – although zoning amendments are a regular occurrence. Is cherrypicking an item from the new CP Zoning recommendations an emergency? If so, why? If not, a better course might be to allow a newly established group, which is imminent, to look at the CP Zoning recommendations comprehensively, and that includes streamlining commissions.
Citizen Call to Action.
On Wednesday, April 18th at 6:30pm in Conference Room #1 at Kingston City Hall (420 Broadway), the Kingston Common Council Laws and Rules Committee will meet. On their agenda, is legislation to ‘streamline the HLPC and HAC’.
We have been told by council members who sit on the Laws and Rules committee that no decision on this legislation will be determined. However, the language has been introduced and is now in the pipeline. That is significant.
Therefore, we suggest citizens who are interested in the topic to ask the following questions and make the following requests:
- That Corporation Council, who I presume will be present that evening, explain why legislation to streamline the HLPC and HAC has been pulled out of the CP Zoning Recommendations to start the review process before a new CP Zoning Committee or workgroup has been established.
- Request that the Kingston Common Council committee table the discussion for a time when the new CP Zoning committee/workgroup has completed its work.
By Rebecca Martin
At last week’s Town of Ulster Workshop meeting, we learned that the Town of Ulster Town Board as Lead Agency did not submit the Final Scope to Glidepath (the applicant) to make the April 2nd deadline. What happened?
DEC Requests Additional Air Quality Review and Comments.
In the DEC’s Commissioner Policy #29 Environmental Justice and Permitting, the “policy amends the DEC environmental permit process by identifying potential environmental justice areas; providing information on environmental justice to applicants with proposed projects in those communities; enhancing public participation requirements for proposed projects in those communities; establishing requirements for projects in potential environmental justice areas with the potential for at least one significant adverse environmental impact; and providing alternative dispute resolution opportunities to allow communities and project sponsors to resolve issues of concern to the community.”
City of Kingston’s Got Skin in the Game.
In the the City of Kingston, there are two “Potential Environmental Justice Areas“. One in Uptown and in the Rondout, downwind of potential emissions produced by the gas-fired power plant that is being proposed.
“If the air data indicates that the project’s potential impact area includes the Potential Environment Justice Area the applicant will be required to incorporate environmental justice into the permitting process and prepare a public participation plan as described in the attached environmental justice fact sheet.” state officials wrote.
In the Daily Freeman, it was reported that the other comments about the environmental review of the project from the state include:
- Finding that the project is located within an area of potential historical or archeological significance and may have visual impacts on the Hudson River National Landmark Historic District.
- Requesting an evaluation of whether the project is consistent with the state energy plan and suggested the developer consult with the state Department of Public Service.
- Noting that the project site has the potential for a “high abundance and diversity of amphibians and other vernal pool associated wildlife.” State officials added that there are also potential impacts on habitat for the Northern Long-eared and Indiana bats due to planned tree removal.
- A reminder that some of the property appears on federal wetlands maps and that the developer will need to conduct surveys to establish precise boundaries.
DAILY FREEMAN “Town of Ulster gets Two additional weeks to frame review of proposed electric generator”
Rescheduled Balloon Tests Monday, April 9th at 8:00am.
“Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley noted “that developers have agreed to find a way to conduct balloon tests that will accurately reflect the proposed height of emission stacks for the project. Tests attempted on Thursday were aborted early because balloons were popping when blown into trees, with the balloons that were seen above the tree line actually flown at 128 feet instead of the anticipated 100-foot height of planned stacks.” (Daily Freeman)
In a letter submitted to the Town of Ulster alerting the town of rescheduled Balloon Tests:
The Project sponsors plan to fly a five (5) foot diameter weather balloon at a height of 80 feet to simulate the height of the exhaust stack of the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. The balloon flight is tentatively scheduled for Monday April 9th at 8AM and is weather dependent. If winds or weather conditions are not favorable, this work will be rescheduled. It is anticipated that a red balloon will be flown at 80 feet and a yellow spotter balloon at 100 or 120 feet- all subject to field conditions.
This work will aid the Town in evaluating the potential visual impacts of the proposed facility located on property located between Frank Sottile Boulevard and Miron Lane. The site is identified on Town of Ulster Tax Map as Section 48.12 Block 1 Lot 20, Section 48.16 Block 1 Lot 1, and Section 48.16 Block 1 Lot 2.210.
Once the balloon is up, it will remain aloft for approximately two hours (again subject to weather conditions) to allow project representatives to photograph the balloon from sites within a five (5) mile radius of the site.
Receptors for visual analysis include the following locations based on the draft scope and a public document. One of our coalition partners, Scenic Hudson, suggests that members of the public near the following locations at the time of the balloon tests to please take and submit photos and impressions to firstname.lastname@example.org
- View from Hudson Valley Mall on Frank Sottile Boulevard;
- Not sure where the best place would be.
- View from westbound lane of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge;
- Cannot stop on the bridge. Maybe the consultants have obtained permission.
- View from Tivoli Bay State Unique Area;
- Suggested Poet’s Walk Park instead.
- View from Dutchess County Route 103 in vicinity of Ryan Road;
- Not sure if Ryan Road is the best spot. May be too far south.
- View from Lucas Avenue near Town-City boundary;
- This is too far. Only the plume would be an issue.
- View from NYS Route 209 in the vicinity of NYS Route 28;
- Possibly relevant. Plume would certainly be an issueÂ
- View from eastern shore of Hudson River looking toward project site;
- Rhinecliff waterfront park is the most likely location. Unless they drive north along the RR. Scenic Hudson will cover this
- View from Van Kleeck Lane (Between Quail Dr. and Ledge Road)
- Important location. Residents should be aware. Scenic Hudson will also check.
- Other critical receptors identified during balloon test;
- We should all be looking for the balloons from important places in the community
- Other locations of significance;
- Poet’s Walk Park
- Scenic Hudson will be there
- Ferncliff Fire Tower
- Scenic Hudson will be there
- Poet’s Walk Park
CITIZEN CALL TO ACTION
Attend the Planning Board’s public hearing and speak to the ICC’s Site Plans and Parking Waiver.
Monday, April 16th, 2018
City Hall Council Chambers, 420 Broadway in Kingston
The ICC Site Plan from March of 2018
by Hillary Harvey
On March 8, 2018, the Irish Cultural Center of the Hudson Valley (ICC) got a pass from the City of Kingston’s Zoning Board of Appeals to move on to the Planning Board’s Site Plan Review when it overturned another City Commission’s decision.
In what appears to be the City of Kingston’s first-ever appeal of a Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC) decision, the ICC appealed the September 25th, 2017, decision by the HLPC to deny the application a preservation notice of action, the approval necessary for the application to obtain a building permit from Kingston Building and Safety. HLPC commissioners cited concerns
HLPC commissioners cited concerns with:
- the width of the building
- the proposal’s harmony with existing buildings and the desired character of the neighborhood
- relation of the proposed building to neighboring buildings surrounding it
- and proportion (how it fits in overall with the district)
The Zoning Board of Appeals heard evidence on the appeal and decided that the HLPC had approved the application in the past. They rendered their decision to overturn the HLPC’s decision and issue the preservation notice of action itself on March 8, 2018..
We looked for another instance where an HLPC decision was appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals in the City of Kingston but weren’t able to find any evidence of one. The City’s Corporation Counsel together with the ICC’s lawyer determined that next step in an appeals process from their interpretation of the City’s Zoning Law for the HLPC:
Any person aggrieved by an action of the Commission in disapproving or limiting a preservation notice of action application and the Zoning Board’s support of such Commission action may bring a proceeding to review in a manner provided by Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules in a court of record on the ground that such decisions are illegal, in whole or in part.
What Are the Next Steps in the Process for the Public?
On March 19th, 2018, the ICC returned to the City of Kingston’s Planning Board for Site Plan Review and a Parking Waiver request. The Planning Board decided at that meeting to schedule a public hearing on those two elements of the application to be held on Monday, April 16th.
The Site Plan has been updated to address some of the comments from the HLPC. The ICC is required by the City to provide 55 parking spaces, based upon calculations of the square footage of the building. The ICC is offering to provide 8 parking spaces in a private parking lot next to the proposed building. They are requesting a Parking Waiver for the remaining 47 spaces based on the availability of municipal and street parking within 400 feet of the ICC property.
Call to Action
Citizens are invited to attend the Planning Board’s public hearing and speak to the ICC’s Site Plans and Parking Waiver on Monday, April 16th, 2018, beginning at 6:00 pm. Kingston City Hall is located at 420 Broadway in Kingston.
*The ICC would be but one element of commercial activity in the Rondout. Nearby restaurants, museums, and waterfront attractions already compete for parking. The ICC’s proposed uses and inability to provide sufficient parking for itself would increase stress on other local businesses and Rondout economic development.
*The Rondout neighborhood is a deeply residential neighborhood where the majority of housing does not have driveways and residents rely upon street and municipal parking, particularly in the event of snow emergency parking restrictions. The ICC would greatly increase stress on residents in relying heavily on municipal and street parking by preventing them from finding parking near their homes.
*The ICC’s proposal to use municipal lots for their parking needs would take away from mandated public access to the Marina and other water-based activities as outlined in the LWRP.
SAFETY (We don’t want the construction site to become an attractive nuisance.):
* The construction site needs to be secured with sturdy fencing or security guard every day.
* Any closure of Company Hill Path will affect business and restrict public access to a National Register of Historic Places site.
* What kind of funding do they have to complete the construction in a timely manner?
* What is their timeframe for construction? What happens if they don’t meet the timeframe?
- Don’t make a decision on the application on the same night as the public hearing. The Planning Board members need time to digest the information submitted at the public hearing and in some cases, may need to conduct further research. A vote that evening would appear to be a rush to approve the project.
- Deny the parking waiver.
- If site plan approval is granted, it should be contingent upon:
- No banquet hall use allowed, as the ICC promised.
- No noise permits granted and no outside speakers.
- No uses not fully enclosed in a structure allowed.
- Additional changes to the exterior should be reviewed by the HLPC.
- Only upon satisfactory answers to safety, access, and funding questions above.
Hillary Harvey is a journalist, and a zoning code activist, working for transparency and responsible development that considers the welfare of residents and small businesses. Together with her neighbors, she runs Grow the R-T Responsibly , a neighborhood collective dedicated to that cause. A yogi and devoted traveler, she lives in an old house in Kingston’s historic Rondout district with her college sweetheart and their three muses.
By Rebecca Martin
Today, the Final Scope is due to be delivered to the applicant (GlidePath) by the Lead Agency (Town of Ulster Town Board) in the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster. Hundreds of comments were submitted over the course of 50 days, and we anticipate a copy of the Final Scope to review and to share to our readers when we do.
In the meantime, here is a 30,000-foot view of the next steps in the SEQR process to help citizens to plan. We, of course, will continue to break each step down to the best of our ability as they occur.
NEXT STEPS IN SEQR
The proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster
REVIEW: Follow along and learn more detail by reading “The SEQR Handbook”
1. FINAL SCOPE. The Final Scope is created by the Lead Agency to be delivered to the applicant, Involved Agencies and the public on Monday, April 2nd, 2018.
At the Lead Agency’s discretion, comments that were submitted during the Draft Scope public comment period (February 1 – March 22) may be found in the Final Scope.
What if my comments are not represented in the Final Scope?
Commenters can submit a written statement of anything missing from the Final Scope to the Lead Agency. At the applicant’s discretion, they may be included in the DEIS.
2. DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) is released. The DEIS is the “primary source of environmental information to help involved agencies consider environmental concerns in making decisions about a proposed action. The draft also provides a basis for public review of, and comment on, an action’s potential environmental effects. The DEIS accomplishes those goals by examining the nature and extent of identified potential environmental impacts of an action, as well as steps that could be taken to avoid or minimize adverse impacts.”
- The DEIS is based on the Final Scope and prepared by the applicant.
- There is no set time-frame for when the DEIS is delivered to the Lead Agency.
- Once the DEIS is released to the Lead Agency, they will have forty-five (45) days to determine its adequacy before either releasing it to the public or returning it to the applicant for further review.
If the Lead Agency Deems the DEIS as INADEQUATE:
If the Lead Agency determines any part of the DEIS as inadequate, it is sent back to the applicant, “…specifying the reasons for its unacceptability.”
- There is no time-frame for when it is to be further revised and returned to the Lead Agency.
- Upon its return, the Lead Agency has thirty (30) days to review the resubmitted DEIS to again determine whether or not it is adequate. There is no maximum time, however, for public comment and Lead Agency consideration of the DEIS.
- “The SEQR regulations place no limit on rejections of a submitted draft EIS, other than requiring that the lead agency must identify the deficiencies in writing to the project sponsor”
If the Lead Agency Deems the DEIS as ADEQUATE:
The Lead Agency must prepare and file a “Notice of Completion” to announce that it has accepted the DEIS and open the public review and comment period. A copy of the DEIS, must be filed with the appropriate DEC regional office, and with the involved agencies.
- The minimum public review period is thirty (30) days calculated from the filing date of the “Notice of Completion”.
What can the public request once the DEIS is released?
“The public may request a longer public comment period at this time as well as a public hearing, although public hearings are optional under SEQR. Lead Agency determines public hearings according to SEQR in the following ways.
- The degree of interest in the action shown by the public or involved agencies;
- Whether substantive or significant environmental issues have been raised;
- The adequacy of the mitigation measures proposed;
- The extent of alternatives considered; and
- The degree to which a public hearing can aid the agency decision-making process by providing an efficient mechanism for the collection of public comments.
In addition, in determining whether to hold a SEQR hearing, the lead agency should consider if there is a need for:
- An opportunity for broader public disclosure;
- Solicitation of important and informative comment by certain interest groups, technical specialists, or community representatives; or
- An opportunity for a project sponsor to briefly discuss the project and DEIS.”
3. FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement). “The Lead Agency is responsible for the adequacy and accuracy of the FEIS. The applicant may be requested to prepare draft responses to some or all of the substantive comments received on a DEIS. However, Lead Agency must still review any responses prepared by the applicant to ensure that the analyses and conclusions accurately represent the lead agency’s assessment. The Lead Agency may need to edit a sponsor’s draft responses. The Lead Agency may also consult with other involved agencies, or with outside consultants, but this in no way reduces the responsibility of the Lead Agency for the final product.”
SEQR does not require a public hearing or comment period on the FEIS. “Interested parties or agencies may choose to submit comments on a final EIS to clarify points made earlier, or to identify comments that have not been satisfactorily responded to in the final EIS. These comments could influence the lead agency, or other involved agencies, in making findings and taking final actions.”
There is such a thing as a “supplemental EIS” that “provides an analysis of one or more significant adverse environment impacts which were not addressed, or inadequately addressed, in a draft or final EIS. A supplemental EIS may also be required to analyze the site-specific effects of an action previously discussed in a generic EIS.” This is nothing to pay mind to now, but if necessary, it is a tool for further study.
4. FINDINGS. The preparation of written SEQR findings is required by the SEQR regulations for any action that has been the subject of a FEIS and are made by ALL Involved Agencies.
“A findings statement is a written document, prepared following acceptance of a FEIS, which declares that all SEQR requirements for making decisions on an action have been met. The findings statement identifies the social and economic, as well as environmental, considerations that have been weighed in making a decision to approve or disapprove an action.”
When the action is not approved.
If the action cannot be approved based on analyses in the FEIS, a negative findings statement must be prepared, documenting the reasons for the denial.
When the action is approved.
“A positive findings statement means that, after consideration of the FEIS, the project or action can be approved, and the action chosen is the one that minimizes or avoids environmental impacts to the maximum extent practicable. For an action which can be approved, an agency’s findings statement must articulate that agency’s balancing of adverse environmental impacts against the needs for and benefits of the action.
Each involved agency, not only the lead agency, must prepare its own SEQR findings following acceptance of a FEIS. Findings provide “the teeth” in the SEQR process because they articulate the basis for substantive aspects of each agency’s decision, including supporting any conditions to be imposed by the agency. Whether findings support approval or denial of an action, the agency’s reasoning must be stated in the form of facts and conclusions that are derived from the FEIS.”
When findings differ between Involved Agencies.
“Agencies involved in the same action may have entirely different findings. This can result from agencies’ differing balancing of environmental with social and economic factors, as well as from fundamental differences among agencies’ underlying jurisdictions. An involved agency is not obligated to make the same findings as the lead agency or any other involved agency. However, findings must be based on, and related to, information in the EIS record. If one agency prepares positive findings, and another prepares negative findings, the action cannot go forward unless the conflict is resolved.”
By Rebecca Martin
While cleaning out boxes of old materials, I came across three of the original “Ward 9 Community Group” newsletters from back in 2007. We’ve been at this a long time. The Ward 9 Community Group was the effort that ultimately established KingstonCitizens.org as it is known today.
June 21st, 2007 (Click on image for full newsletter)
Our monthly educational forum featured former Mayor James Sottile and GAR Associates to discuss the revaluation process in Kingston. The outcome, some residents saw their taxes double within a years time.
Minutes from a prior month’s educational forum on Sex offenders and current County Laws with former legislators Frank Dart and Jeannette Provenzano as well as DA Don Williams and more.
July 19th, 2007 (Click on image for full newsletter)
Our monthly educational forum featured the historian Lowell Thing to discuss how to care and repair your historic Bluestone Sidewalk.
Minutes from a prior month’s educational forum on GAR Associates and Former Mayor James Sottile to explain the revaluation process, and more.
August 16th, 2007 (Click on image for full newsletter)
Our monthly educational forum featured then Director of SUNY Ulster Retired and Senior Volunteer Program “Volunteering in your community: citizenship can make a difference!” The following month, we hosted the first educational forum on updating the City of Kingston Comprehensive Plan with Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Suzanne Cahill and Dennis Doyle. There were over 100 citizens in attendance!
Minutes from a prior month’s educational forum on caring for your Bluestone Sidewalks with Lowell Thing, and more.
Meanwhile, Scenic Hudson generously included the coalition of partners in their scoping comments document that included new members, the Woodstock Land Conservancy and Kingston Land Trust. The teamwork for this process has been exemplary – all for the public good.
You can review Citizens for Local Power Draft Scope comments by clicking on the image below:
“I’ve been involved in the Kingston Democrat Committee since the Election of Trump. I’ve come to love politics, discussion, and the fact that one voice can make a difference when heard by the right people. People coming together to speak about their thoughts and views is the definition of democracy. But recently our democracy has been challenged by another force. The NRA has time and time again over-ruled common sense in favor of money, and corrupt politicians have followed suit. People don’t feel safe at school, or at events of any sort. Many students at Kingston High School have been eager to take some sort of action.”
Tonight, the Kingston Common Council’s Laws and Rules Committee will vote to pass to the floor a memorializing resolution “Calling on State and Federal Elected Officials to Act Now to Eradicate the Use of Firearms in Mass Shootings and Unlawful Acts of Violence”. Milgrim’s effort will help to engage Kingston youth in civics and in support of stricter gun laws.
“As students who cannot vote, it’s important that we take part in our local government in any way possible – such as attending Laws and Rules committee meetings. It’s such an incredible statement for students to show up at a government event, and let our presence take the place of the votes. We are excited to stand up for what we believe to be the moral thing to do. We’re tired of feeling anxious in school – that another student could get angry at us one day and replicate the horrors of the school shootings we now hear about on a daily basis.” says Milgrim. “I’ve finally found something that can give me hope. I feel as though my voice is being heard with this stricter gun law memorializing resolution.”
The Kingston Common Council Laws and Rule Committee will be held on Wednesday, March 21st at 6:30pm at Kingston City Hall (420 Broadway) Conference Room #1, top floor of City Hall. The memorializing resolution is being proposed by Ward 3 Alderman and Majority Leader Rennie Scott-Childress.
VIEW the facebook event.
Kira also enjoys participating in the weekly Kingston of the Democratic Committee meetings where she has volunteered time to work on the committee’s website.
“It’s because of local government, and the adults in this community that are supportive beyond belief that I can go to Democrat breakfasts and meet the congressional candidates and get these awesome opportunities. Every student should have these same oppertunities. Everyone’s voice should be heard. There’s a whole reservoir of thoughts that is constantly being shunned from society; we students have ideas that are never shared because we have struggled to jam our foot in the door and be taken seriously.” says Kira. “Now that we finally have, the door is flying wide open.”
By Rebecca Martin
Since the Draft Scope for the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center project (a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster) was released on February 1, citizens have been focused on improving the document with many generous not-for-profit partners and experts who have provided support and assistance.
One of those experts is the Hydrologist / Hydrogeologist Paul A. Rubin, who spent all day yesterday at a weather station nearest to the proposed site, to create the following maps that can help us to identify air quality scoping items.
“I focused on finding and assessing data from the nearest weather station with wind velocity and direction data (available through Weather Underground: KNYKINGS15). This Kingston weather station is approximately 13,590 ft south of the proposed emission tower (~ 2.57 miles; elevation: 138 ft msl). I reviewed five years of weather data and selected assorted wind speeds as a basis to calculate wind/emissions arrival times outward from the proposed emissions stack, downloaded imagery data, and generated the attached maps using GIS technology. The only difference between the three attached maps is the background base.The assorted colored circles represent example emission plume arrival times for assorted wind speeds. Arrival of stack gases at the outer rings would require worst-case temperature inversion conditions with minimal wind dispersion.”
Air Quality Scoping Issues: Identify all potential human receptors that may inhale toxic exhaust emissions from the Lincoln Park stack under worst case weather conditions (e.g., temperature inversions). Identify all potential adverse health impacts (e.g., CO2 poisoning/hypercapnia).
(Click on link or image for full map)
(Click on link or image for full map)
(Click on link or image for full map)
WHAT TO EXPECT
VISIT: Our Facebook Event Page
On Sunday, March 4th, a Public Comment Brainstorming Session will occur at the Town of Ulster Senior Center located at 1 Town Hall Drive in Lake Katrine, NY (adjacent to the Town of Ulster Town Hall).
Citizens will have the opportunity to work together with experts to draft strong comments of concern for study as it pertains to the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant being proposed in the Town of Ulster. Participants will work with a projected Google Doc. The afternoon will be facilitated by Rebecca Martin (KingstonCitizens.org), Laura Hartman and Regis Obijiski (TownOfUlsterCitizens.org). Please bring your computer and any materials you wish to share with others.
As this is a ‘potluck’ affair, citizens are invited to bring a dish to share. Food will be organized and served throughout the day thanks to Vince Guido.
This event is open to all citizens, NFP and municipal leaders wanting to contribute.
SCHEDULE AND EXPERTS
10am – 11:30am: ON EMISSIONS AND NOISE
Experts on Hand will include Evelyn Wright, Energy Economist, Sustainable Energy Economics, and member of Citizens for Local Power
11:30am – 1:30pm: ON COMMUNITY CHARACTER, COMMUNITY SERVICES, RUPTURES/FAILURES AND CULTURAL RESOURCES.
Experts on hand will include Kevin McEvoy
1:30pm – 2:30pm: ON FLORA AND FAUNA
Experts on hand will include Nora Budziack
2:30pm – 4pm: ON WATER (SURFACE, GROUND, WETLANDS, STORM WATER, WASTEWATER AND INFRASTRUCTURE)
Experts on hand will include TBA
4pm – 5pm: ON SOCIOECONOMIC, FISCAL AND ALTERNATIVES
Experts on hand will include Audrey Friedrichsen, Land Use and Environmental Advocacy Attorney, Scenic Hudson
VISIT ToU “Proposed Project” page for all relevant Lincoln Park Grid Documents.
By Rebecca Martin
On Sunday, March 4th, Citizens of Ulster County (and beyond) are invited to a Public Comment Brainstorming session in the Town of Ulster. The event, created to support citizens in creating Scoping comments for the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center project, a gas-fired peak power plant project in the Town of Ulster, will occur from 10am – 5pm at the Town of Ulster Senior Center (1 Town Hall Drive) in the Town of Ulster.
With a positive declaration announced on February 1st, the Town of Ulster (as Lead Agency) also released the Draft Scope for the proposal. Coalition partners (that include Catskill Mountainkeeper, KingstonCitizens.org, Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, CAPP – NY and Sierra Club Mid-Hudson Valley) and the public requested through letters and petitions a 90 day public comment period. The Town approved 50 days, instead of 30 – making the deadline for public comment to be Thursday, March 22nd.
What is Scoping in SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) and why is it so important to the public and a project such as the proposed GlidePath Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired peak power plant in the Town of Ulster?
The purpose of scoping is to narrow issues and ensure that the draft EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) will be a concise, accurate and complete document that is adequate for public review.
The scoping process is intended to:
- ensure public participation in the EIS development process;
- allow open discussion of issues of public concern; and
- permit inclusion of relevant, substantive public issues in the final written scope.
The scoping process can also allow the lead agency and other involved agencies to reach agreement on relevant issues in order to minimize the inclusion of unnecessary issues. Finally, scoping should help the sponsor avoid the submission of an obviously deficient draft EIS.
In a recent document provided to us by Andy Willner (founder of NY/NJ Baykeeper), he outlined for the public “SEQR for GlidePath Scoping”:
The Scope of Work shall require the applicant to:
- consider relevant environmental impacts, facts and conclusions as required under SEQR;
- assess relevant environmental, social, economic and other adverse impacts;
- certify how this project can be consistent with social, economic and other essential considerations
- assess how the action avoids or minimizes adverse environmental effects to the maximum extent practicable, and that adverse environmental impacts will be avoided or minimized to the maximum extent practicable.
This is the “teeth” of SEQRA, and the only provision which clearly takes it beyond a mere environmental full disclosure procedure, and requires substantive results:
- Therefore by including these analyses in the required scope of work the agency will have the information to enable it to consider fully the environmental consequences and to take these consequences into account when reaching a decision whether or not to approve an action.
The scope of work shall include language that requires the applicant to prepare an EIS that must assess:
- the environmental impact of the proposed action including short-term and long–term effects,
- any adverse environmental effects,
- any irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources,
- and “growth inducing aspects” of the proposed action.
The Scope of Work must require the applicant to consider all viable alternatives:
- ………….contain an evaluation of “alternatives to the proposed action. The analysis of alternatives has been called the “driving spirit” of the SEQRA process. The “range of alternatives must include the no-action alternative,” and “may also include, as appropriate, alternative:
- scale or magnitude;
The Scope of work requires the applicant to assess the cumulative Impacts to water, air, wildlife, and quality of life:
What are the cumulative impacts?
- These are impacts on the environment that result from the incremental or increased impact of an action(s) when the impacts of that action are added to other past, present and reasonably foreseeable future actions.
- Cumulative impacts can result from a single action or a number of individually minor but collectively significant actions taking place over a period of time.
- Either the impacts or the actions themselves must be related.
- Cumulative impacts must be assessed when actions are proposed to or will foreseeably take place simultaneously or sequentially in a way that their combined impacts may be significant. Considering the cumulative effects of related actions insures against stratagems to avoid the required environmental review by breaking up a proposed development into component parts which, individually, do not have sufficient environmental significance.”
Because it is often difficult to distinguish between segmentation and the failure to address cumulative impacts and courts often muddle the concepts the applicant must include in its scope of work information to assist the agency in determining whether or not the project will both address cumulative impacts and avoid segmentation:
- SEQRA generally prohibits “segmentation,” which is defined as “the division of the environmental review of an action such that various activities or stages are addressed under this Part as though they were independent, unrelated activities, needing individual determinations of significance. Accordingly, “[e]nvironmental review of the entire project is required before ‘any significant authorization is granted for a specific proposal.’ The SEQRA regulations prescribe the basic contents of an EIS
In the EIS, the lead agency is required to
- identify the relevant areas of environmental concern,
- take a “hard look” at them,
- and make a “reasoned elaboration” of the basis for its determination.
Additionally because this is a complex process the agency shall require the applicant to provide not just access to all of its consultants work products but funds to assist the agency in analyzing the materials to enable it to make a determination. The agency may use these funds to hire professional engineers, environmental consultants, and for legal advice.
VISIT ToU “Proposed Project” page for all relevant Lincoln Park Grid Documents.
VIEW: SEQR and GlidePath by Andy Willner
VIEW: SEQR Scope of Work by Andy Willner
HEADS UP: ON EMINENT DOMAIN AND THE TOWN OF ULSTER.
At the Town of Ulster Town Board Workshop meeting on March 1st, an item on eminent domain near the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center project lands certainly caught my attention.
During the meeting, Supervisor James Quigley’s description of “Discussion on start of Eminent Domain Proceedings on a portion of Parcel SBL 48.12-1-20, corner of Miron Lane and Sottile Blvd, owned by Kingston Landing Development Corp” seemed to indicate nothing more than the opportunity for the Town to acquire a parcel via eminent domain that would allow its entrance to the transfer station to be free and clear forevermore.
Later, during the public comment period, Town of Ulster citizen Dan Furman asked the Town Board, “….isn’t this what GlidePath is buying?”
“Yes. You’re absolutely right….the eminent domain takes it away from them before they buy it.” said Supervisor Quigley.
The Town Board has given permission for a survey to take place, and for Town of Ulster lawyers to start drafting paperwork for the transaction to be approved at the next Town Board meeting (on March 15).
To be sure, it is recommended that citizens look into this land agreement more fully and request an explanation as to the suddenness of this transaction and whether or not it is an emergency situation. If it is not, then perhaps it’s wise to request that the Town of Ulster delay any activity on lands that involves GlidePath and the Town of Ulster until the SEQR review is complete.
@ 6:28 – 9:06 – An explanation by the Town of Ulster Town Supervisor James Quigley on the need for eminent domain, where there is no mention of GlidePath.
@ 28:23 – 29:00 – Town of Ulster Citizen Dan Furman inquires whether or not the parcel under discussion re: eminent domain is a part of what GlidePath is looking to acquire. “Yes, you are absolutely right” says Supervisor Quigley.
By Rebecca Martin
There was a full house on Thursday night of concerned citizens giving testimony to improve the Draft Scope of the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster.
NEXT STEPS: Please join us during a full day Public Scoping Brainstorming session on Sunday, March 4th from 10am – 5pm at the Senior Center in the Town of Ulster (located at 1 Town Hall Drive in Lake Katrine). VIEW Facebook Event
Citizens will have the opportunity to work together with experts and draft strong comments of concern for study for the project to submit to the Town Board and applicant before the March 22nd deadline. A full list of experts who will be on hand that day to be announced.
The TENTATIVE work schedule is (TBA):
10:00 am – 11:30 am
On air quality and noise.
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
On community character, community services and cultural Resources.
1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
On vegetation and wildlife
2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
On water (surface, ground and wetlands), storm water and waste water.
4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
On socioeconomic and fiscal (can also include alternatives to the proposal)
Please join us. Food will available all day. This event is open to all citizens, NFP and municipal leaders wanting to contribute.
3:50 – 7:00
Chazen and Companies
7:01 – 20:15
Peter Rood, GlidePath
20:30 – 22:54
Sandra Pierson, Ulster Gardens Court
Air quality and seniors with compromised breathing issues.
22:56 – 26:20
Jeffrey Anzevino, Scenic Hudson. VIEW Testimony
Alternative analysis, Visual Analysis, Climate Change and GHG Emissions, Other Air Emissions, Fiscal Impact, Cumulative Impacts, Threatened/Endangered Species, Project Purpose and Energy Benefits, Compliance with Zoning.
Regis Obijiski, Legde Road
Safety and Emissions
30:13 – 33:27
Judith Carpova, Kerhonkson
Concerns of project/precedent setting for Ulster County.
33:28 – 35:15
Vicki Luckerini, Ledge Road (@ ground zero)
35:17 – 38:15
Lowell Thing, Ledge Road
“No additional pollution to my air or anyone elses.”
38:35 – 40:55
Suzanne Thing, Ledge Road
Availability of alternative sites to include alternative sites, not just for proposed project but an all battery alternative. What other sites might be possible?
41:00 – 43:03
Vince Guido, Old Flatbush Road
Table proposal until NYS has updated battery storage regs.
43:14 – 46:55
Susan Gillespie, President, Citizens for Local Power
Possibility of viable alternative and economic feasibility of project.
48:30 – 51:42
Dan Furman, Riesley Street
Diesel fuel, Emissions, Noise, Odor
51:44 – 55:00
Gloria Waslyn, Main Street, Ruby
Concerned about home value decrease and air quality
Marie Dolores Gill, Fox Run (23 year resident)
Air emissions, climate change, use and conservation of energy
57:31 – END VIEW Video of full Testimony
Laura Hartman, TownOfUlsterCitizens.org
Emissions, home values. How can Town Board represent its constituents as Lead Agency?
00:00 – 4:06 VIEW Video of full Testimony
Laura Hartman, TownOfUlsterCitizens.org
Emissions, home values. How can Town Board represent its constituents as Lead Agency?
4:33 – 6:15
Fred Neeson, Ledge Road
Karen Smith-Spanier, Lakeview Avenue
Potential impacts from EMF (Electro Magnetic Field), Financial impact on home values and accountability to the residents, Town Board to host a meeting to share the financial benefits from GlidePath….since this apparently such a lucrative project, so much so that someone from Chicago is coming to the Town of Ulster to create it, can the Town of Ulster make a renewable project in a different location and profit instead?
10:03 – 12:15
Brian Cahill, Town of Ulster (35 year resident)
Partial use in sync with Town of Ulster Comprehensive Plan? In the application, it requests being run 24/7 even though it’s a Peaker project. How many days do they plan to really run?
12:37 – 14:10
Sue McConneccy, Reisley Street
Lights on all night? Concern for nocturnal animals.
14:14 – 15:35
Valeria Gheorghiu, Attorney in Kerhonkson (office in Kingston)
Cumulative impact analysis, Tax assessments of homes near proposed project, Community Character
15:45 – 17:25
Wayne Spanier, Lakeview Avenue
Why would we want to continue to support fracked gas that would cause harm in other parts of the country when in our state, we have banned fracking?
Supervisor James Quigley
“Laura, for the organization you put into the process here reflects good on the community. The questions were direct on the issues…you’ve made some good points. What I’m hearing is “You don’t want more carbon. I get it.”
At last night’s Town of Ulster Town Board meeting, Town of Ulster citizens made a consistent request of their Town Board (who is Lead Agency in SEQR for the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant project in the Town of Ulster) for a 90 day public comment period during the Scoping process.
At the end of a productive public comment period, Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley asked the rhetorical question, “Can I see a show of hands how many people want the Town of Ulster to comply with NYS SEQR law?”
Confused, citizens responded, “What do you mean? The 90 days?”
“No, no, no, no. I asked a question. How many people want the town to comply with the SEQR law?” asked Supervisor Quigley.
“What does that mean?” said citizens.
“Well you should have done your homework before you asked for 90 days!” he snipped.
Stunned, the citizens yelled out “Who do you think you are?” and “We’re not voting for you next time.”
“Fine with me.” said Supervisor Quigley.
“I guess the answer is no for the extension.” said a citizen as he exited the room.
That appears to be the case. We’ll see.
12:07 – 15:32
Regis Obijiski Ledge Road, Town of Ulster
“…in light of the open meetings law, please publish changes to agenda at least 24 hours in advance so that citizens can make plans to attend…second point, please extend public comment in scoping in SEQR to 90 days….the proposed project has escaped far beyond a decision to accept or reject complicated concerns such as human health, environmental impact, safety and residential properties abound….third point, comments and questions from citizens who submitted comments and given verbally to GlidePath at their 1/17 meeting should ask those questions again by submitting them during the Scoping process….lastly we are planning citizens scoping meetings to dissuade or defeat the power plant as proposed.”
15:50 – 18:20
Laura Hartman, Birch Street, Town of Ulster
“….thank you Town Clerk for adding going forward meeting schedule onto the town calendar…as representative of the TownOfUlsterCitizens.org, I am submitting two petitions this evening. One with approx. 279 of concerned citizens throughout the Hudson Valley, and one with 57 signatures from your consituents here in the Town of Ulster….it was originally written and supported by (the coalition) and I thank them for their support….we request that you provide a public comment period of 90 days and we thank you for your consideration.”
19:04 – 24:00
Fred Gnesin, Ledge Road, Town of Ulster
“…I along with 137 homeowners along with 100 or so renters in Ulster Gardens apartments who will be affected by the GlidePath project as it is currently formulated. It would seem that consideration of this location was the result of visual impairment and lack of thoughtful and humane consideration of the proximate population. It should be noted that the estimated value of the 137 residences is conservatively valued at approximately $32 million dollars. The value of such homes would decrease by 20% – 50% depending upon the selling stampede to evacuate the area due to the realistic potential of pollution and catastrophic fire hazard, water runoff, wild life eradication, noise, etc. that the project will clearly present. The proposal contemplates an unmanned facility, controlled remotely from a point in the midwest….that is somewhat akin to auto pilot airplane without anyone sitting in the cockpit. Shit happens. No facility like this has ever been built by GlidePath….its outcome at best would cause irrevocable harm to innocent residents of the Town of Ulster. Your fellow neighbors are expected to sacrifice for some fat cat hedge fund managers from Chicago, and the ToU will have gained nothing but potential three mile island….”
“15 seconds…” said Town of Ulster Town Board member John Morrow.
“You can read the rest, unless I am granted the opportunity…” said citizen Neeson.
Additional time was granted by Town Board Member Eric Kitchen.
“….the project would not hire anyone in the area. It is a no-win situation for us….I am a registered Republican all of my life, an independent thinker and fiscal conservative. Partisan opinions have nothing to do with this matter. This is personal.”
24:24 – 28:33
Dan Furman, Risely Street, Town of Ulster
“…Something disturbing has come to light. We questioned their (GlidePath) credentials and how they could do this safety. “We’re experts! We know what we’re doing”. They told us during their presentations that emissions would be 195 lbs per kWh. Their poster said this, the slides said this, and the guys in suits and ties said this….but they were challenged that night on that number she said not only is the number too low, it’s physically impossible. Apparently she as right. She said GlidePath called her and said, ‘yeah, you’re right. There was a mistake on the spreadsheet. It isn’t 195 lbs per kWH, it’s 850 lbs per KwH.” …when you’re going to build a powerplnt like this, the residents living near it have two concerns. Emissions and noise. If they’re experts in the this, how could they make such a big mistake on that number, and stand up there and tell us…this isn’t like they spelled the Town’s name wrong, or put down the wrong address. That’s a mistake. What this says to me is that they don’t know. They are going to build 80 foot smoke stakes and they don’t know what’s going to come out of them…does that bother you? It bothers me. They are not experts. They are executives. That number is not only wrong, it’s stunningly wrong.”
28:57 – 31:24
Karen Spanier, Lakeview Avenue, Town of Ulster
“I am concerned with the 850 lbs per KwH. That’s why I am asking for 90 days, to have more time to do homework.”
31:52 – 34:55
Vincent Guido, Old Flatbush Road, Town of Ulster
“The ask tonight is to have a 90 day public comment period….I would urge the Town Board to give the residents to look at these documents, get the help that they need and even help to inform you. Do we want to sacrifice a little bit of tax base and an extended water line for the quality of life in our town?”
35:30 – 36:30
“How long before the citizens will know if you’re going to grant us the 90 days?
Supervisor Quigley: “Can I see a show of hands how many people want the ToU to comply with NYS SEQR law?”
Citizens: “What do you mean? The 90 days?”
Supervisor Quigley: “No, no, no, no. I asked a question. How many people want the to town to comply with the SEQR law.”
Citizens: “What does that mean?”
Supervisor Quigley: “Well you should have done your homework before you asked for 90 days!”
Citizens:: “Wow. Stunning. We’re not voting for you next time.”
Supervisor Quigley: “Fine with me.”
Citizens: “Who do you think you are? I guess the answer is no for the extension.”
The Town of Ulster will host a public scoping meeting on Thursday, February 22nd at 7:00pm at Town Hall. GlidePath was stated to be present by Town Board members at the recent Scoping educational panel. Citizens from around the county are invited to (and should) attend.
More details shortly.
On Tuesday, February 13, Citizens for Local Power hosted an excellent public educational forum “Battery Storage, Climate and the Grid: The Proposed Lincoln Park Project n Context”.
With a proposal on the table to build a power plant in the Town of Ulster that combines a 20-megawatt gas-fired plant with battery storage, the group brought together a panel of experts that included: Jen Metzger, Director, Citizens for Local Power (moderator) Energy Storage 101: What We All Need to Know with Dr. William Acker Executive Director, New York Battery and Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST); Karl Rabago, Executive Director, Pace Energy & Climate Center and Co-Director of the Northeast Solar Energy Market Coalition and, Emissions Impacts of the Proposed Lincoln Park Project with Evelyn Wright, Energy Economist, Sustainable Energy Economics, and member of Citizens for Local Power.
Video made by The Kingston News, brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org
Because Evelyn Wright’s presentation spoke directly to the Lincoln Park project emissions impact, we will start here and extract some of the key points that she made that is new information to us and important for our community to have.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO REVIEW
Emissions Impacts of the Proposed Lincoln Park Project with Evelyn Wright, Energy Economist, Sustainable Energy Economics, and member of Citizens for Local Power
1:38 – 2:07
GLIDEPATH MISREPRESENTED ITS GAS EMISSIONS NUMBERS. GlidePath said this week that emission rate / diesel emissions was to be 800-850 lbs/MWH and not 195 which is the number they gave us at their open house meeting in the Town of Ulster on January 17th. “I told them that I thought 195 was impossible, and last week they called to confirm me that they had made a mistake in their spread sheet. Sorry.”
5:31 – 6:51
TOTAL YEARLY EMISSIONS OF LINCOLN PARK PROJECT EQUAL TO ALL HOUSEHOLDS IN THE TOWN OF ULSTER OR 1.5% OF ALL OF ULSTER COUNTY’S EMISSIONS. The total emissions for the Lincoln Park project during the course of the year is 30,272 metric tons CO2 equivalent, about equal to the annual emissions from all households in the Town of Ulster, or 1.5% of all Ulster County emissions.
7:03 – 11:04
RENEWABLES DON’T REQUIRE FOSSIL FUEL FOR BACK-UP. “GlidePath is making the argument that this project is supporting clean energy and it supports renewables….I wanted to break that down for you, because I think that’s something we’re going to hear GlidePath say over and over, ‘Well, if you’re going to have renewenables you’ve got to have fossils to back them up.’ That’s not true here.”
12:01 – 13:18
IF OUR AREA DOESN’T NEED PEAK CAPACITY, WHY DID GLIDEPATH CHOOSE ULSTER FOR IT’S PROJECT? “We know that the peak load in this region is declining. so we don’t need this peak capacity here. Our air quality has been improving to the point where in the last several years, we haven’t had any unhealthy air quality days at all. This is not true downstate where they really do need this additional peak energy. It’s much harder to get your air permits to build a facility like this in places that the EPA has designated bad air quality….we live in a remarkably clean place but that is literally why they are proposing this project here because they think they can get the permits more easily here because our air has room for pollution in it.”
13:21 – 15:58
GLIDEPATH IS A STORAGE AND RENEWABLE ENERGY COMPANY. THEY’VE NEVER BUILT A FOSSIL PROJECT BEFORE. “Glidepath has never built a project like this before. They are a storage and renewables company…I don’t know how they convinced themselves this was a great thing for them to do in order to get into the NYS market, because they have not built a fossil project before.”
Please click on the image to review
45:01 – 47:19
ENERGY STORAGE IS CHEAPER THAN A “PEAKER”. “Energy storage is already cheaper than a Peaker…ths project (Lincoln Park) is about making a Peaker cheaper with storage but head to head, storage wins standing on its own and, if we continue to develop and use storage wisely, we can get it down to the range where it starts competing with combined natural gas and we can really do something about carbon emissions.”
Please click on the image to review
45:28 – 46:01
“DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEA IF THIS PLANT WILL MAKE NOISE?” “I heard Peter Rood (principal of GlidePath) say if he were a neighbor, his biggest concern would be the noise….these things are loud.”
On Friday, February 9th Environmental Advocacy Director Hayley Carlock and Land Use Advocacy Director Jeffrey Anzevino of Scenic Hudson joined close to 50 Town of Ulster residents and two Town Board Members (Morrow and Secreto) to discuss the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center’s SEQRA process and why public participation in developing the scope for the environmental impact statement is important.
“Public involvement reduces the likelihood that unaddressed issues will arise during public review of the draft EIS. From the public’s perspective, scoping is important because it offers an opportunity to ensure the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is as comprehensive as possible to minimize the project’s environmental impact on the community. It also increases the likelihood the project will be consistent with community values.”
Presented by Scenic Hudson. Sponsored by KingstonCitizens.org in partnership with CAPP-NY, Catskill Mountainkeeper, Riverkeeper and the Woodstock Land Conservancy.
Thanks to The Kingston News for filming this event, brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.
KingstonCitizens.org wishes to welcome our new sister organization TownOfUlsterCitizens.org, a non-partisan, citizen run organization focused on increasing citizen engagement and creating a better Town of Ulster, NY. VIEW
WHAT WE RECOMMEND
1. Town of Ulster Citizens should attend the next Town Board meeting on Thursday, February 15th and request a longer public comment period (90 days). VIEW
2. The public and municipal leaders are invited to attend the upcoming educational panel “Battery Storage, Climate, and the Grid: An Educational Forum hosted by Citizens for Local Power” presented by Citizens For Local Power on February 13th. VIEW
1. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13th at 7pm: “Battery Storage, Climate, and the Grid: An Educational Forum hosted by Citizens for Local Power”. VIEW
2. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15th at 7pm: Town of Ulster Town Board Meeting. Citizens should request for a longer public comment period in the Scoping process.
VIEW Petition Language
3. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd. Public Scoping Meeting, Town of Ulster VIEW
4. THURSDAY, MARCH 22nd. Deadline for written comments.
1. Draft Scope for Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. VIEW
2. Concept Plan: Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. VIEW
3. Full EIS Part 1. VIEW
4. Full EIS Part 2. VIEW
5. FEAF for the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. VIEW
By Rebecca Martin
Last night (2/1), the Town of Ulster (ToU) Town Board added a late entry to their Town Board Workshop Meeting regarding the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant being proposed in the ToU. As Lead Agency, the Town Board presented and passed a resolution for a Positive Declaration (pos dec) determination in SEQR, as well as proposed a public scoping session on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 7:00pm at Town of Ulster Town Hall.
ToU citizen Laura Hartman attended the meeting last evening with several other concerned citizens. During public comment, Hartman graciously thanked the board for making a positive declaration for the proposal.
“I’d like to ask for 90 days for public input and for items like this to be listed in advance so that the public can have the chance to see (items that are of interest to them) to participate in the meetings” Listen at at 27:28
Our coalition of partners (that includes CAPP-NY, Catskill Mountainkeeper, KingstonCitizens.org, Riverkeeper, Scenic Hudson and Woodstock Land Conservancy) has been waiting for a pos dec determination. In preparation, we created a letter that was ready to submit first thing this morning to Supervisor Quigley and the ToU Town Board requesting a 90 day public comment period with at least two public scoping meetings given the magnitude of the proposal.
TAKE ACTION NOW.
Citizens can help. Please SIGN OUR PETITION and request that the ToUTown Board as Lead Agency allow for a 90-day public comment period with at least two public scoping meetings on the Draft Scope of the Proposed Lincoln Park Grid Project
A LITTLE INSIDE BASEBALL. Connecting the dots.
A Positive Declaration is “a determination by the lead agency that an action may result in one or more significant environmental impacts and so will require the preparation of an EIS before agency decisions may be made regarding the action. The positive declaration starts the EIS process.”
A pos dec and public scoping process is a great step for our communities and county. However, the ToU Town Board has already scheduled a public scoping meeting to occur on February 22nd without releasing the draft scoping document.
Why is that significant?
A draft scope is submitted to the Lead Agency (and in this case, the Town of Ulster) by the applicant (GlidePath via Chasen & Company, their consultant) to release to the public. I like to think of a draft scope document as a ‘table of contents’. Typically, a 30 day window occurs for the public to review the document so to be sure that all items of concern for study are included. There is no one better to do this work than the citizens who live within proximity to the project with the support of the environmental advocates who have dedicated their life’s work to the protection of the area.
All of these items end up in the scoping document and will require the applicant to pay for consultants to do the required studies. This will be a costly process for GlidePath. Given the public’s disdain for the proposal, it will be interesting to see how far they go as a true indication of it’s profitability.
Speaking of which, while a project is undergoing the SEQR process, it cannot apply for any applicable tax incentives or grants. So that is an entirely other item that citizens will want to pay close attention to as we proceed
The ToU Town Board has already set the public scoping meeting to be 2/22 according to their agenda item without the release of the draft scope. This is problematic and indicates that they intend to release it sometime between now and the 22nd, banking on a 30 day window. This would leave the public with limited time to review and ask questions for a proposal of great magnitude. As far as I know, this is the first peaker gas plant being proposed in Ulster County. The project plans to re-connect new gas infrastructure at a time that citizens living in Ulster County and New York State have expressed their intention to segue from fossil fuels to renewables. A natural gas peaker power plant created by a company from the Midwest most certainly doesn’t do that.
DAILY FREEMAN: Ulster Town Board Members Declare Proposed Electric Generating Plant May Harm Environment.
KINGSTON TIMES: Ulster Power Plant People Get an Earful at Forum.
VIDEO: Town of Ulster Citizens Tell Elected Officials and GlidePath “We don’t want this project”
“You’re adding fossil fuel infrastructure. NYS and Ulster County is committed to not adding fossil fuel infrastructure, yet your coming into our community and our state and you’re telling us now that we need you to put in increased fossil fuel infrastructure, a 50,000 gallon diesel tank? and fracked gas? That is not what NY voters have asked for from their government….. we don’t want it. We don’t need it.” – Town of Ulster Citizen, Ulster County
Last night, the Town of Ulster’s Senior Center was filled to capacity – mostly with Town of Ulster residents – to learn more about the Midwest company GlidePath’s proposed project called the “Lincoln Park Grid Support System”, a natural gas power plant in the Town of Ulster.
Based upon statements made by citizens, it was clear there was a great deal of skepticism regarding the safety and even the need for such a project in the area.
Established in 2013, GlidePath has ten renewable projects in its portfolio. The Lincoln Park Grid Support System project, a 20-megawatt hybrid natural gas (diesel back-up) and battery generation system/power plant proposed for the Town of Ulster, would be the company’s first gas-fired project.
Town of Ulster citizens took a show of hands to see who was in favor of the project and who was not. Only one hand in support was raised. Peter Rood, Chief Development Officer of GlidePath stated that it would be up to Town of Ulster elected officials to decide whether or not the project would be built.
Begins at: 23:56 – 25:00
An excerpt from VIDEO Part 2
“…all of our opinions do count for you to make a decision about moving forward….take a poll so you are well informed on who wants this project in the room…just to see.” ToU Citizen
“I don’t think this will advance the conversation.” Peter Rood, GlidePath
“…but you said our opinion counts.” ToU Citizen
“They do, but I’m not going to count them though.” Peter Rood, GlidePath
VIEW PART 1: Video of GlidePath Presentation
Some Key Moments
- “How much of the time will the gas portion be running. If you’re running 24 hours, your emissions are going to be a lot higher than your numbers.” 23:35 – 25:05
- “You’re adding fossil fuel infrastructure. NYS and Ulster County is committed to not adding fossil fuel infrastructure, yet your coming into our community and our state and you’re telling us now that we need you to put in increased fossil fuel infrastructure, a 50,000 gallon diesel tank? and fracked gas? That is not what NY voters have asked for from their government….. we don’t want it. We don’t need it.” 25:00 – 25:59
- What’s the economic benefit to the Town of Ulster? 34:25 – 36:15
- Jennifer Metzger, Citizens For Local Power explains why this project is being proposed in the Town of Ulster. 40:05 – 41:20
- Have you discussed this proposal with the school (Chambers)? 47:45 – 50:05
- Emission stacks height. 54:39 – 55:16
- “Many of us have stopped listening, because we are not on board with this….if I were working for this company, I’d have to go back to my boss and say ‘this community wouldn’t even let us finish our presentation and what does that say? Your graphics show us solar, wind, hybrid, reduction…this is not a solar project. We are don’t feel like we are being told the truth.” 55:19 – 58:45
VIEW PART 2: Video of GlidePath Presentation
Some Key Moments
- There is a Principal Aquifer located underneath the proposal. 23:34 – 23:49
- Citizens raise hands to oppose the project. 23:56 – 25:00
- “So far, we don’t think any significant impacts under SEQRA law exists” 32:38 – 32:50
- How long have you been talking to the town? 38:20 – 38:46
- Next steps in SEQRA? 38:48 – 39:24