Proposed Pilgrim Pipelines Project: Why Kingston and the Town of Ulster Must Stay the Course.

By Rebecca Martin

WHAT YOU CAN DO:   Hold the date and please attend this important local event on January 28th, 2017.

15107480_617901495059186_7368560605403904128_nThe Proposed Pilgrim Pipelines Project: What Citizens Need To Know and How Local Action Makes Global Impacts.  on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at the Kingston Public Library located at 55 Franklin Street, in Kingston NY from 1:00pm – 4:00pm.  Guest panelists scheduled to attend are Jeremy Cherson (Riverkeeper), Sue Rosenberg (Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipeline/CAPP) and Jen Metzger (Citizens For Local Power).    Brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org. This event will be filmed.  (more details shortly)

With President-Elect Donald Trump’s clear support in increasing the production of fossil fuels in our country, citizens want to know what local action they can take to protect their environment and our futures.

What is happening in North Dakota with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has been shocking.  Outside of phones calls and sending in resources, what can we do to help?

Here’s something that you need to know.  The same crude oil that would run through DAPL is the same crude oil that would also run through the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project through Albany on its way to New Jersey for processing and eventual export. That makes the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project a sister to DAPL.  By assuring proper process here, we can help to impact what happens there – and everywhere.

A powerful consideration.

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A brief background as to why the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project matters to the City of Kingston, Town of Ulster and Town of Kingston intimately.

Pilgrim Pipeline Holdings, LLC has proposed to construct two parallel pipelines each up to 20 inches in diameter that would run from Albany, NY to Linden, NJ along the NYS Thruway and through private property. In total, the pipelines would cover some 170 miles (including five laterals totaling nearly 13 miles), impacting 31 municipalities in Albany, Rensselaer, Greene, Ulster, Orange, and Rockland counties. The pipelines would receive an estimated 200,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude oil by way of rail into Albany, proposing to ship the crude oil in one mainline south and bring refined products back north.

The pipelines would run through several sections of the City of Kingston with even more pipelines crossings through the Town of Ulster (TOU).  It is also being proposed that one of the four pump stations (the only one that would be located near a residential area)  is to be placed only 200 feet away from a trailer park on Sawkill Road in the TOU impacting the Town of Kingston, too. 

Proponents have said that pipelines will reduce the need to transport crude oil using rails (bomb trains) or barges (in the case of the Anchorage project).   Kate Hudson of Riverkeeper disagrees.  “Having barges won’t prevent pipelines, and having pipelines won’t prevent barges, and transport by rail won’t prevent either of the others. None of these industries has made a compact with the others, saying, “If you move the oil, we’ll back out of the business.

In other words, more opportunities to move crude oil simply means more crude oil.  Not less.

The proposal has the potential for significant environmental impacts according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, stating that the Pilgrim Pipelines project “…would cross 257 streams and waterbodies (232 along mainline pipelines and 25 along laterals), including the Hudson River and multiple major and minor tributaries of the Hudson.  There are also 296 (9.2 linear miles) crossings of wetlands; including 25 crossings of NYSDEC protected freshwater wetlands (approximately 19 along mainline pipelines and 6 along laterals). Additionally, there will be four pump stations and 215 permanent access roads and temporary access roads at every mile.”

 

Next up?  A Draft Scope Document.

Last week, KingstonCitizens.org participated in one of the ongoing CAPP (Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines) meetings that was held in Kingston.  In attendance to help us all to clarify steps were Scenic Hudson, Riverkeeper, Food and Water Watch and other representatives from as far away as New Jersey.  The volunteers and activists, long awaiting the Draft Scope in SEQR (State Environmental Review Act), were anxious for an update. (More on that below).

What is a “Draft Scope” document?   A detailed description can be found in the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) SEQR guideline where it is described as  “a process that develops a written document that outlines potential environmental impacts of an action (the project) that will have to be addressed in a DEIS or EIS (draft environment impact statement).  It’s purpose is to narrow issues and ensure that the draft EIS is accurate and complete, ensuring public participation, open discussion and inclusion of all relevant public issues for a final written scope.”   

To put it in simply, it is exactly like a table of contents for an environmental review.  Kingston being an Involved Agency means that we will have the opportunity to shape it.

What makes us an Involved Agency?

Digging up backyards in Kingston’s Ward One along the NYS Thruway is in the proposal, making the City of Kingston an Involved Agency in SEQR.    backyards-in-kingstonTherefore, our next steps must be to keep an eye out for the Draft Scope document. Once released, we will have a window for review so to make certain that any and all potential environmental impacts in our community are included for further study. (Although there is typically a 30 day window to make comments on the scoping document, Environmental and grassroots groups have already formally requested a 90 day draft scope comment period along with meetings in every impacted county, and every city in addition to one scoping meeting in NYC.)

Fortunately, elected and appointed officials in the City of Kingston have been incredibly responsive in a timely way to this proposal, hitting every mark with clarity and strength. Along with both the executive and legislative branches in concert here, Kingston’s CAC (Conservation Advisory Council) has taken an active role in reviewing materials and making excellent recommendations to our elected officials.  We thank them all for being such solid partners in this.

VIEW: Actions taken by Kingston City Hall

 

What’s holding up the Draft Scope Document?  Potential Environmental Justice Communities – and Kingston should be listed as one of them. 

As mentioned, we have been expecting the release of the Draft Scope Document for months now – ever since it was confirmed that the DEC and NYS Thruway Authority would co-lead the SEQR review process.  So what’s the hold-up?

Apparently, the Department of Environmental Conservation has two policies that have potentially come into play and this could potentially help us.

The first is 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.”

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There are nine potential environmental justice (EJ) communities in New York State as it pertains to the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines project. This determination is based on data from the 2010 census.  Although implementing the policy is not mandatory, it appears that it is being considered and therefore, there will be no draft scope until an extra consultation plan is in place.

As you can see here, the City of Kingston has a potential Environmental Justice (EJ) area according to the attached DEC map. However, Kingston is not one of the potential EJ communities identified by Pilgrim Pipelines LLC in their now defunct preliminary DEIS.

The City of Kingston and its residents should push the DEC and NYS Thruway Authority (the co-lead agencies in SEQR) to require Pilgrim Pipeline LLC to conduct an enhanced participation plan under the DEC’s Commissioner Policy #29 for Kingston by using this attached LETTER modeled after Albany’s South End Community.  It’s important, too, that we do this before the end of the year.

The second policy brought to our attention was Commissioner Policy #42 “Contact, Cooperation, and Consultation with Indian Nations“.  Issued in March of 2009,  the policy provides “guidance to Department staff concerning cooperation and consultation with Indian Nations on issues relating to protection of environmental and cultural resources within New York State.”  

It is unclear how this will be implemented as it pertains to Pilgrim.  The policy is being reviewed, however, and will no doubt inform this process in one way or another.

Access to Information, Process and the Law.

Those who have followed us over the years know how important it is to us to advocate for easy access to good information. From there, understanding proper process and the laws that are in place to protect us is imperative.

There are many steps up ahead, so it was heartening to learn the other night that the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines in part is a NY State project, therefore the laws are specific to NYS and not the federal government. This works in our favor especially in today’s climate, and we are thankful to have SEQRA guide us toward the correct outcome. But it only can occur if more of us commit to seeing the process through until the end by insisting on facts, following process and utilizing the law that protects us.

We can do this.

What’s On The Ballot? Ulster County General Election November 8, 2016

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FIND
your polling place in Ulster County

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Proposal #1:  “In order to improve services to the children and families of Ulster County, reduce the need to raise property taxes, and satisfy state mandates, the County of Ulster proposes to relocate the current leased site of the Ulster County Family Courtn, located at 16 Lucas Avenue in the City of Kingston, County of Ulster, State of New York, to a more suitable county owned property situated less than 800 feet from the City of Kingston line, located at 1 Development Court, Ulster Avenue in the Town of Ulster, County of Ulster, State of New York. Shall this proposition be approved?”          

YES    NO

 

DEMOCRATIC

Hillary Clinton
President
Website

Tim Kaine
Vice President
Website

Charles Schumer
US Senator
Website

Andrew G. Ceresia
State Supreme Court Justice (vote for two)
Website

Michael Mackey
State Supreme Court Justice (vote for two)
Website

Zephyr Teachout
Representative in Congress (19th District)
Website

Sara K. Niccoli
State Senator
Website

Kevin Cahill
Member of Assembly (103rd District)
Website

Sara W. McGinty
Surrogate Court Judge
Website

Philip Kirschner
City Court Judge
Website

REPUBLICAN

Donald J. Trump
President
Website

Michael Pence
Vice President
Website

Wendy Long
US Senator
Website

Andrew G. Ceresia
State Supreme Court Justice (vote for two) 

Michael Mackey
State Supreme Court Justice (vote for two) 

John J. Faso
Representative in Congress (19th District)
Website

George A. Amedore, Jr.
State Senator
Website

Peter Matera
Surrogate Court Judge
Website

CONSERVATIVE

Donald J. Trump
President

Michael Pence
Vice President

Wendy Long
US Senator

Andrew G. Ceresia
State Supreme Court Justice (vote for two) 

Michael Mackey
State Supreme Court Justice (vote for two) 

John J. Faso
Representative in Congress (19th District)

George A. Amedore, Jr.
State Senator

Jack Hayes
Member of Assembly (103rd District)
Website

Peter Matera
Surrogate Court Judge

 

GREEN

Jill Stein
President
Website

Ajamu Baraka
Vice President
Website

Robin Laverne Wilson
US Senator
Website

George A. Amedore, Jr.
State Senator
Website

Sharon Graff
Surrogate Court Judge
Website

WORKING FAMILIES

Hillary Clinton
President

Tim Kaine
Vice President

Charles E. Schumer
US Senator

Zephyr Teachout
Representative in Congress (19th District)

Sara K. Niccoli
State Senator

Kevin A. Cahill
Member of Assembly (103rd District)

Sharon Graff
Surrogate Court Judge

INDEPENDENCE

Gary Johnson
President
Website

Bill Weld
Vice President
Website

Charles E. Schumer
US Senator

Andrew G. Ceresia
State Supreme Court Justice (vote for two)

Michael Mackey
State Supreme Court Justice (vote for two)

John J. Faso
Representative in Congress (19th District)

George A. Amedore, Jr.
State Senator

Peter Matera
Surrogate Court Judge

WOMEN’S EQUALITY

Hillary Clinton
President

Tim Kaine
Vice President

Charles E. Schumer
US Senator

Sara K. Niccoli
State Senator

Sharon Graff
Surrogate Court Judge

REFORM

Wendy Long
US Senator

John J. Faso
Representative in Congress (19th District)

George A. Amedore, Jr.
State Senator

Peter Matera
Surrogate Court Judge

LIBERTARIAN

Gary Johnson
President

Bill Weld
Vice President

Alex Merced
US Senator
Website

 

What’s the Process? New Public Hearing Scheduled for the ICC (Irish Cultural Center)

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Last night, the Kingston Planning Board held its regular meeting with many items to discuss, one of which was the ongoing Irish Cultural Center (ICC) being planned in downtown Kingston. In September, citizens anticipated the planning board to make its determination in October for the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA),  but it was postponed because the ICC’s proposal scaled down its size (by 4.5%) after what appeared to be the public’s insistence for a project smaller in size and scale, and in pressing for a positive declaration in SEQR.  Later we also learned that it might have been influenced by a recent communication from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in late September.

When speaking to scale, they reported that, “The scale is very large in comparison to surrounding commercial and residential buildings.”  In regard to ‘Massing and Design Features’:  “The rectangular flat roofed façade with full width double height porches, does relate to the historic façade of the D+H Paymaster Building that was located adjacent to this site. Though the scale of the proposed building is much larger.

READ   SHPO’s letter to the Kingston Planning Board dated 9/30/16

No matter. A new draft of plans were presented last evening. The good news is that the ICC is listening. They have removed a proposed banquet facility and commercial kitchen that would eliminate parking by 2 parking spots (from 39 to 37). The proposed theater also decreased in size to 171 seats in total. There is a good description of all of these things in the attached video.

VIEW video from last evening’s meeting.

So what are the next steps in the process for the public? 

A public hearing is imminent, where the public will have the opportunity to view the new draft plan (available in the planning office, and not online) and then provide comments to the planning board for their consideration.  Last night, the client presented its new draft and the planning board announced what appeared to be a decided upon date for a public hearing of November 2nd.

According to the City of Kingston Zoning Code Section 405-30 , it states that #6 “ The Planning Board may hold a public hearing on the site plan if it determines that the matter is of wide public interest. If such a hearing is held, it shall be held within 62 days of the official submission date of the application, and notice shall be given at least five days prior to the date of such hearing by publication in the official City newspaper.”

If we are correct, that means that the planning board has 62 days to orchestrate a public hearing.  In this case based on a November 2nd public hearing, there are only 12 business days to respond and, according to comments made in the video, a final draft plan isn’t yet complete for your review even though the clock is already ticking.

So how does the planning board conclude review time before public comment? What’s their process and in this case, does it provide ample time for all parties involved?  It all seems so arbitrary even if it isn’t.

Finally, in an article released by the Daily Freeman today about the meeting last night, we were disheartened by the headline,  “Irish Cultural Center attorney says opponents of Kingston project are ‘dishonest’“.   After reviewing video from last night, we realized that Mr. Pordy’s comments were not taken out of context. In our 10 years of doing this work,  we can tell you that citizens truly advocating for their community are not dishonest. They deserve respect, and are wading through a maze of new information while trying to understand how city government works. It’s a very steep learning curve, and the majority of citizens that we have had the privilege in getting to know all want nothing more than to support their city’s best interests where they live and do business.   –  RM

The Hijacking of a City of Kingston Social Media Site?

A recent Hudson Riverport Post on Facebook
A recent Hudson Riverport Post on Facebook

In 2015, the city of Kingston initiated the Hudson Riverport, a project that had “engaged the services of the firm Perkins+Will to produce an Implementation Plan, a Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) and a Market Conditions Update for 192 acres of Kingston’s Rondout Waterfront under the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) Program of the NYS Department of State….The Common Council determined by resolution on October 6, 2015 that the Implementation Plan/Draft GEIS was complete and ready for public review and set a public hearing date. The comment period spanned October 8th through November 23rd with a public hearing on November 12th in Kingston City Hall Common Council Chambers.”  

On October 11, 2015 in the Daily Freeman, an article “Kingston Seeks Public Input on Brownfield Plan” was printed/posted announcing the city initiative as well as the City of Kingston’s Hudson Riverport Facebook page that apparently had been created in 2014.

Just about a year later on October 10, 2016, we happened to notice language in a post on the City of Kingston Hudson Riverport Facebook page that appeared odd.   To a recent article in the Daily Freeman, “Kingston Council Advances Downtown Flood Control Effort” it said in part that, “…The current administration should be thankful that the proposal was already written. All they had to do was get the design work started and resubmit the request for construction funds…”

That didn’t sound to us like the current office of Economic Development speaking.  It is a fact that the “Hudson Riverport at Kingston” is a Facebook page created, owned and operated by the city of Kingston. So why would it suggest that  “the current administration should be thankful that the proposal was already written…” for a project that it continues to organize and maintain?

Curious, we looked at the ABOUT section of Hudson Riverport of Kingston NY page, and there wasn’t a description or any details connecting the page to the City of Kingston initiative for which the social media site was created for when it was set-up.   (VIEW: Hudson Riverport ABOUT section).

Unfortunately, we have reason to believe that the page continues to be administered by a past City of Kingston employee without having permission to do so, or without any guidance from the current Economic Development or Grants Management office. After looking around a bit more, there is at least one other just like it. An inventory of these sites needs to be collected.

The good news is that the City of Kingston is currently looking into the matter and will take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.  Apparently, in the past a city employee could create a Facebook page on their own, without there being a secondary employee to be included as an administrator.  That has now been implemented. However, for sites created prior to 2016,  if a person who worked for the city being the sole adminstrator decides to act maliciously,  they might take the entire site down where information meant for the public record that was posted over the years would be lost. Lets hope that that doesn’t happen in this case.

Perhaps the good news here, in an instance like this and if it ends up being what we suspect, will expose areas from past city management that must be improved.

There is no doubt that successful projects is the work of many.  It indeed takes a village (or a city in this case).  But for City of Kingston property to be used without authority or direction is inappropriate and completely misleading to the public. Aren’t city of Kingston staff and our elected and appointed officials from both the past and present days to be working on behalf of the public good?  City property is the public’s property. When you are no longer employed, elected or appointed, hand over important information in good working order so that the city can continue to run smoothly during each of its transitions. It is each of their duties to do so.

ADDITIONAL READING:

READ:   Daily Freeman Article, requesting comments on Riverport be sent to city-owned email address.

READ:   Pages 9-10 of Ec. Dev. Brochure, documenting the project.

READ:  Daily Freeman article about the public hearing process for the plan.

VIDEO: Memorializing Resolution Passes Through Kingston Common Council Opposing Anchorage Proposal.

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By Rebecca Martin

VIEW:  Kingston Common Council’s Memorizing Resolution:  “Resolution 214 of 2016: Resolution of the Common Council of the City of Kingston New York, Approving a Memoralizing Resolution Opposing the Adoption of the U.S. Coast Guard Proposed Rule 2016-0132.”

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Tonight, the Kingston Common Council passed a memorializing resolution “opposing the adoption of the U.S. Coast Guard Proposed Rule” for the Anchorage project with a vote of 7 – 1 (Ward 7 Alderwoman Maryann Mills being the solo ‘no’ vote, stating she had more questions. At this time, she seemed to be supportive of the Shipping Corporations request to create 43 berths in 10 locations, opening up 2400 acres to new anchorages in some of the most ecologically sensitive areas of the river.  42 of the 43 berths are proposed to be “long term” which means that barges could anchor there for days. This is not as the vessel operators like to say as being “nothing new”.  This would represent a huge increase in the anchoring of commercial vessels in the Hudson between the GW Bridge and Albany, turning our river into a parking lot for large barges and vessels while they wait for dock space to open up in Albany.)  Ward 4 Alderwoman Nina Dawson was absent this evening.

READ:  “Citing navigational safety, Kingston alderwoman won’t oppose Hudson River Anchorages.”  (Daily Freeman)

The U.S.  Coast Guard is taking comments until Dec. 6 on its WEBSITE. With the passing of resolution 214 of 2016, the Kingston Common Council will now be in a position to submit theirs, and join Kingston Mayor Steve Noble who earlier in the year, on August 22, 2016, submitted comments ending with “The City (of Kingston) has spent decades revitalizing its waterfront. Many organizations have worked to clean up the Hudson, to protect its habitats and make it attractive to recreation and tourism. For safety sake, transient vessel berthing is acceptable. Long-term use is not.”

VIEW 26:46 – 29:00:  Ward 7 Alderwoman Maryann Mills defend her position in support of the proposed Anchorage project during the Kingston Common Council Caucus on 10/3/16.  It begins at 26:46 and ends at 29:00.  (Video brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org by Clark Richters of the Kingston News.)

VIEW 40:46 – 44:09:  The passing of the memorializing resolution video is below. It begins at 40:46 and ends at 44:09.  (Video brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org by Clark Richters of the Kingston News.)

Ward 1 Alderwoman Lynn Eckert prior to the vote states that, “We are obligated to protect the public good. There are too many people who rely on a healthy, ecologically sound Hudson River.”

On the Proposed Anchorage Project: What Owners of Local Businesses in the Hudson Valley Can Do.

Thanks to Kris Seiz of Storm King Adventure Tours who has drafted a sign-on letter regarding anchorages specifically for local businesses.  We invite the Kingston business community, as well as possibly the larger Ulster County business community, to participate.

To read the entire letter, place your mouse pointer on the document to scroll and to sign.

Speaking With One Voice On The Proposed Anchorage Project.

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By Rebecca Martin

** Public comment has been extended to December 6th. Our post reflects this change. 

VIEW: Commercial Shipping Organizations Proposal

It is always great when we have the opportunity to sit down with Riverkeeper’s Kate Hudson who is the Director of Cross Watershed Initiatives there.  Her clarity on all of the issues she is charged with, and in this case the proposed anchorage project on the Hudson River, is a big help to citizens all throughout the Hudson Valley Region.

One of our big take-aways was to come to understand where we are today on the crude oil transport front. Having more anchorages means that empty barges traveling up from NYC can cut their travel time in half to park until a berth opens up in the port of Albany where shipments of crude oil arrive. There is much activity in North Dakota, and crude oil is transported on ‘bomb trains’ to Albany. Shipping companies are waiting (perhaps ‘frothing’ is a better term) to transport it back down the Hudson River to NYC so it can be sent out and processed in NJ and PA. This will become more of a problem for us in the Hudson Valley.

Why?

Last year, “With the stroke of a pen, President Barack Obama ended 40 years of U.S. crude oil export limits by signing off on a repeal passed by Congress earlier in the day….The restrictions lift immediately under a provision in the spending and tax package that the president signed into law. Congressional leaders earlier in the week reached an agreement to end the trade restrictions, established during U.S. oil shortages in the 1970s, as part of a grand bargain that includes tax breaks for renewable-energy companies and refiners….Repeal of the crude-export restrictions reverses four decades of a policy that has defined the nation’s relations with the rest of the world. Without the trade limits, the U.S. — now the world’s largest oil and gas producer — is free to export its crude, as it already does with refined products including gasoline. The U.S. Senate passed the bill with a vote of 65-33 after the House approved the measure 316-113 hours earlier.”

Read more…

Local Law #3 (Shooting Ranges in Kingston, NY) is Adopted by Mayor Steve Noble.

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Today, Mayor Steve Noble adopted Local Law #3 regarding “Rules and Regulations of Shooting Ranges in the City of Kingston”.  In a press release issued this afternoon, he states:

“Over the past few months, the City of Kingston facilitated an open public process to address an antiquated local law that was no longer relevant or appropriate for our community. In doing so, the members of the Common Council, particularly the Laws and Rules Committee, participated in a robust and critical dialogue. I sincerely want to thank our Common Council for taking on this arduous task, for thoroughly and completely investigating the gaps in language in the outdated law and identifying best practices and models to adopt. It is through this process we have before us a comprehensive and effective piece of legislation that protects the rights and interests of all of our residents.

Equally as important, I want to thank the members of the public who participated in this process. It is not easy to believe in something with such passion and conviction and be met with resistance from others who simply will not agree. I cannot offer a simple solution to the complex nature of conflicting values and opinions. All I can do, and will do, is continue to support the rights of each of our constituents to express these differences. I ask that in doing so, we each remember that the person with opposing views is still our neighbor and that a healthy dialogue is built on the foundation of respect and willingness to listen.

Before I signed this law, shooting ranges were not permissible anywhere in the City of Kingston. While some will contend that Kingston has historically hosted a number of shooting ranges, we cannot refute the fact that from 1978 until 2016 this activity was not reflected in our law as an allowable discharge of firearms.

I signed this law today, not due to fear or public pressure. I signed this law because it is reasonable, appropriate, and quite frankly, it is our duty as leaders in our community to expect a potential new business to meet the standards and requirements clearly outlined in this document. It is my opinion that every law should be so detailed and transparent. I welcome this process as a way to ensure that when we refer to a law, there is no guesswork or vague interpretation involved. Our citizens deserve to live in a City where our laws are practical, well-defined, well-researched, and equitable to all constituents.

With the passage of this law, the City of Kingston is sending a message that safe, responsible new businesses are welcome and encouraged here and that we are committed to ensuring prospective business owners have clear guidelines and expectations.”

VIEW:  Local Law of the Common Council of Kingston, NY Adopting the Rules and Regulations Regarding Shooting Ranges

Please view public comment from both of the Mayor’s hearings this month below.  Filmed by Clark Richters of Kingston News. Brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.

 

Mayor’s Public Hearing #1
Thursday, July 21, 2016
6:00pm

 

 

Mayor’s Public Hearing #2
Thursday, July 28, 2016
6:00pm

WHAT TO EXPECT: Kingston Common Council Meetings in July and Local Law #6 (aka the Rochester Law)

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WHAT:

Kingston Common Council Caucus  (Monday, 7/11)
Kingston Common Council Meeting (Tuesday, 7/12)

WHERE:

Caucus:    Conference Room #1   (7/11)
Council Meeting:  Council Chambers  (7/12)
Kingston City Hall
420 Broadway  Kingston, NY  

WHEN:

Caucus:  Monday, July 11th  @ 7:00pm
Council Meeting:  Tuesday, July 12th  @ 7:30pm

Sign-up to speak and secure a seat at the council meeting on 7/12/16  at 7:15pm. 

WHY:

The Kingston Common Council holds its monthly caucus and council meeting in July.

Local Law #6 (known as the Rochester Law), that proposes clearer requirements for shooting ranges in Kingston. It is a local law that will have its second reading and a full council vote on July 12th.

This event will be filmed and brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org thanks to Clark Richters and Kingston News

CITIZEN REQUEST

We encourage the public to attend and to speak on Tuesday, July 12th in support of the council adopting Local Law #6 (the Rochester Law). Local Law #6 emphasizes the creation of important buffers for a business such as a shooting range within our city limits.   

The issue is not about burdening the right to have a gun or to practice using a gun.  Given the potential health and safety issues of a shooting range,  finding the appropriate location for one is key. In our opinion, an appropriate location is NOT inside a densely populated or highly used area. 

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The Kingston Common Council will hold its monthly caucus (Monday, July 11th) and full council meeting (Tuesday, July 12th) this month, a week later than normal scheduling due to the July 4th holiday weekend.

Among other important topics that evening, council business will include the second reading and a full council vote of Local Law #6 (known as the “Rochester Law”). This vote is the outcome of months of discussion and debate to properly vet Kingston’s current firearms law.

The Common Council will vote on whether it “wants to set specific criteria and restrictions for the opening of indoor shooting ranges in the city, or adopt a simpler approach that does not limit where such facilities could be operated.”   (*See below)

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PROPOSED LOCAL LAW #6 OF 2016 ADOPTING THE RULES AND REGULATIONS REGARDING SHOOTING RANGES ESTABLISHED BY THE CITY OF ROCHESTER IN 2011 IN ITS ENTIRETY WITH THE REQUISITE CHANGES TO ADAPT TO KINGSTON’S CIRCUMSTANCES

The new vetted law (Local Law #6 of 2016) aims to provide clearer regulations for operating indoor shooting ranges in Kingston, including important buffers “that would prohibit any new range from being located within 1,000 feet of the entrance to any school, church, hospital, youth recreational facility or location which, in the opinion of the police chief, would create a nuisance to any nearby resident.”   (*See below)

PROPOSED LOCAL LAW #5 OF 2016 ADOPTING THE RULES AND REGULATIONS REGARDING SHOOTING RANGES

In our opinion, this unvetted law would “allow indoor ranges anywhere in Kingston with Planning Board approval” and should be dismissed.  (*See below)

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We encourage the public to attend and to speak in support of the council adopting Local Law #6 (the Rochester Law). Local Law #6 emphasizes the creation of important buffers for a business such as a shooting range within our city limits.     

The issue is not about burdening the right to have a gun or to practice using a gun.  Given the potential health and safety issues of a shooting range,  finding the appropriate location is key. In our opinion, an appropriate location is NOT inside a densely populated or highly used area.  

*Excerpts in quotes from the Daily Freeman  VIEW

Process Rules. Vet the Kingston Firearms Law.

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After months of public speaking opportunities and hard work by both citizens and elected/appointed officials alike,  the Kingston Common Council  majority voted to send back an amended Firearms Law in early May that had been crafted by Ward 9 Alderwoman Deb Brown (the sole Republican) to committee (7-1,) due to it not having been properly vetted.   Ward 6 Alderman Tony Davis abstained from the vote as he is employed by the Kingston City School District, after the Board of Education opposed the location of the shooting range in a resolution delivered last December of 2015.  READ/VIEW

The law was assigned to Kingston’s Laws and Rules Committee, where the opportunity held promise that committee members would focus their energy on reviewing, in a coordinated fashion, the wealth of information for discussion that included model laws (where three had been presented by Kingston’s Corporation Council), a comprehensive study of the collective concerns of Midtown’s stakeholders, the recently adopted Kingston Comprehensive Plan, other appropriate state laws and whatever else was placed in front of them.   If done properly, the process probably wouldn’t take very long and a new draft law that was embraced by the majority might have been sent out to the council for the local law process to begin.

But that wasn’t the case.

The three model laws that had been submitted by Kingston’s Corporation Council  several days before the Tuesday Laws and Rules committee meeting was met by several committee members stating that they hadn’t had the opportunity yet to view them and to comment.  Even though the purpose of the law being moved back to committee was to start a vetting process, it was the opinion of Ward 7 Alderwoman Maryann Mills that the models were a ‘stall tactic’.

Instead of tabling the matter right then and there to allow more time to be given for review, a motion was made to vote on whether or not the City of Rochester model – which was Ward 3 Alderman Rennie Scott-Childress’s choice model law – be adopted. It failed of course, 3/2 (Mills/Brown/Carey to Scott-Childress/Eckert), likely because it hadn’t the time necessary for all committee members to read (whether true or not), leading to the model law being moved out of committee to the June council meeting with a negative recommendation.

What happened next is the very law that was meant to be vetted (that had been changed by Ward 9 Alderwoman Brown to allow a shooting range anywhere in the city of Kingston after securing the necessary permits required, etc.) was further amended some by Ward 7 Alderwoman Maryann Mills to define what constitutes a firearm based on NYS Penal Law.   (NOTE:  Although we have tried, we haven’t yet been able to get a copy of the new law that was passed out of the Laws and Rules Committee last month to share with the public).  

That passed through committee once again, 3/2 to our amazement. (Mills/Brown/Carey to Scott-Childress/Eckert) with a positive recommendation.

Whatever side of the debate you are on, it is well understood that in order for the proposed shooting range to proceed, the law must be amended to allow the discharge of firearms within Kingston’s city limits. If it is not, then it appears, based on Dr. Soyer’s lawyer Michael Moriello’s memorandum, that a lawsuit is imminent.  VIEW the Memorandum.  

There appears to be a great deal of confusion now as to what happens next, and although we are not clear what will occur next Monday or Tuesday, our position remains the same and that is for the common council to vet the current Firearms Law properly, with even more conviction after reviewing legislation in regard to discharging firearms from three other municipalities that have been presented:  VIEW

The City of Rochester = 20 pages
The City of Poughkeepsie= 11 pages
The City of Mt Vernon =  3 pages
The City of Kingston = Several paragraphs.

The City of Kingston has a good opportunity right now to follow through on process with proper vetting of the Firearms Law to improve relations on the subject. It is exactly what citizens have advocated for. To dismiss it gives the appearance that the process is influenced by several. Whether it is due to there being council members who are supportive of the proposed gun range – or, council members who want to move this process forward swiftly.  To us, it’s all one in the same. It has got to be done right. Otherwise, elected officials are not fulfilling their duty to the public who have elected them into office. Process takes time.

What appears to currently be problematic is that the Laws and Rules Committee has a majority of members who favor the proposed shooting range which diminishes the opportunity for a true vetting process.  Therefore, maybe it needs to be sent to public safety, which would still be appropriate, with a different assortment of council members.  Or, a task force for vetting the law is a better route. How do you keep politics out of the process for something as charged as this?

Citizens who wish to speak during public comment on Tuesday night certainly can relay their own personal views.  But we encourage citizens to focus on what is in front of the council now and that is the law. Therefore, we recommend to continue to press for a proper vetting process by council members working as a collective, to help the community pull together rather than to pull apart.

It’s impossible to not wonder how might the process had turned out had there not been a timely shooting range proposal sitting in front of our council members. Citizens should keep that in mind as they compose their testimony for Tuesday and council members should keep that in mind as they go into caucus.

We will update you next week, prior to the Kingston Council Meeting on Tuesday, June 7th. Give this all some thought, and stay tuned.  In the meantime, you can view the timeline below.

 

Proposed Shooting Range Timeline
a/o June 2nd, 2016

 

1)   October 13th, 2015: Kingston Planning Board Meeting

Shooting Range is on the Planning Board’s Agenda as New Business. The item was eventually tabled to the November meeting.  Among other things, the Firearms Law had been identified: “John Dwyer questioned the City code regarding firing guns within the City of Kingston. Kyla Haber stated that Suzanne Cahill had spoken with both Corporation Counsel and the KPD Chief to obtain opinion on the proposal and both are agreeable to the business, with obvious consideration that all necessary permits, noise mitigation and approvals by law enforcement are issued.” (other important items in the excerpts below are in bold. Please review full minutes at the link included).

AGENDA   MINUTES

NEW BUSINESS:

Item #13: #90 & 92-94 Prince Street SITE PLAN to establish a shooting range in an existing commercial building. SBL 56.26-9-2.1 & 37. SEQR Determination. Zone C-2. Ward 5. Game Development LLC; applicant/owner.

Excerpts of minutes from Planning Board 10/13/15

Dr. Adam Soyer, applicant and Scott Dutton, project architect were present at the meeting. D.Soyer explained that the proposal is to create a shooting range, education classroom and a retail area for fire arms sales.

The concern of lead and environmental issues were raised at the meeting. A shooting range consultant has been brought on to advise the applicant with regard to the air filtration system. Information by, Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation, was submitted on the requirements and equipment that is needed to mitigate the lead that is expelled from ammunition. A HEPA filtration system with 1,000,000 BTUs will be added to create an environment where the air leaving the building will be cleaner than the air entering the building.

In discussion with the consultant, they told Dr. Soyer to estimate 200 people a week at the range with 40% of them coming on the weekends. Range time will likely be 1 hr. Dr. Soyer is looking into a system that will allow for visitors to check in and receive a notification of their time on their smartphone or other device.

Dr. Soyer also stated that he met with the Kingston Police Department and the Ulster Sheriff regarding the use and his business plan. Although this range would not qualify for training requirements because of the size, the police and sheriffs were very positive and stated that they may use the space for possible training.

Dr. Soyer stated that in talking to the department that issues pistol permits, they said that there are about 200 per month in Ulster County and that over half of them are women. Many people that have permits have never had any training and many have never even fired a gun. Life fire training is not required.

The Board asked if any guns would be used that were not pistols. Dr. Soyer stated that there is the possibility for 22 rifles which do not require a permit to fire. The Board asked about the retail area. Dr. Soyer stated that he is seeking approval to be a dealer.

K. Haber told the Board and the applicants that the Planning Office received a call from the ATF Investigator handling the permit application for this location and that he asked to be notified of the final decision by the Board. There is a timing requirement that addresses the date of the permit approval through the ATF and the approval from the Kingston Planning Board.

The Board discussed the whether a formal public hearing should be held for the application. It was originally anticipated that the public might wish to speak on the application. The Board discussed the fact that an article had been in the Daily Freeman noting the proposed use and the date of the Planning Board meeting and that no one was present to see the application or ask any questions or comments. Staff added that no one had been to the office to see the application either and that there had only been one call to the office before the application was submitted to ask questions about the use and express concern about lead contamination. R. Jacobsen added that he was hesitant to schedule a formal public hearing because he did not want the Planning Board meeting to turn into debate on guns and gun policies. The Board agreed that there was opportunity to speak in the beginning of the meeting and that there would be an open public speaking opportunity at the next meeting. Any questions or concerns could be expressed at that time.

READ: Daily Freeman Article “Kingston Planners Decline to Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Shooting Range”

J. Dwyer questioned the City code regarding firing guns within the City of Kingston. K. Haber stated that S. Cahill had spoken with both Corporation Counsel and the KPD Chief to obtain opinion on the proposal and both are agreeable to the business, with obvious consideration that all necessary permits, noise mitigation and approvals by law enforcement are issued.

Decision: The Board voted unanimously to table the application. The item will be placed on the November Planning Board agenda. (WP, RJ, JD, CP, JM – yes)

2)  November 9th, 2015: Kingston Planning Board Meeting

Shooting Range is on the Planning Board agenda as “Old Business”.  First time residents speak, and here request a public hearing. In this go round, Architect Scott Dutton states that there is overwhelming support for the shooting range by the police department who will use it to sharpen their skills. (we know today, that the site isn’t large enough for police to use the site to practice). 

AGENDA   MINUTES

OLD BUSINESS:

Item #15: #90 & 92-94 Prince Street SITE PLAN to establish a shooting range in an existing commercial building. SBL 56.26-9-2.1 & 37. SEQR Determination. Zone C-3. Ward 5. Game Development LLC; applicant/owner.

Excerpts of minutes from Planning Board 11/9/15

Dr. Adam Soyer, owner, and Scott Dutton, architect, were present at the meeting. Chairman Platte welcomed the applicants and explained to them that at the request of some of the speakers during the public speaking portion of the meeting, the Planning Board would like to hold a formal public hearing on the project. He added that while he was not trying to delay action, he and the Board felt that it was important to allow the public additional time to submit comment. At the October 2015 Planning Board meeting, no one from the public was present and at that time, the Board was able to ask a number of questions and receive a lot of information from the applicants. The Planning Board had discussed the possibility of scheduling a public hearing in depth but it was decided that a hearing not be held because articles had been in the paper and the Planning Office and Board had not received any comments or questions about the project from the public. They also had expressed concern that the issue would result in a debate that would veer off course from the actual application and that speakers would potentially use this as platform for gun control issues.

W. Platte asked if the applicants would be able to present and reiterate the information that the Board received previously to answer some of the questions that were asked by the public. Scott Dutton said that they will put together an information sheet with relevant details and explanations. He added that when this project first began, he spoke to the members of the Police Department about it and there was overwhelming support. It is important for officers to maintain their skills.  As a resident and father, he said that he is often appalled when opening the newspaper about violence and dog attacks and drunk drivers. He has also been at public hearing where affordable housing is being proposed and people speak out against it. There are many uses that are feared by the public but he asked the Planning Board to consider this proposal as an application and not a debate on what is wrong with state and federal gun control.

The Board agreed to schedule a public hearing at the December 14, 2015 Planning Board meeting.

Decision: The Board voted unanimously to table the application and schedule a public hearing to take place at the December 14, 2015 Planning Board meeting. (WP, CP, JD, JM – yes)

3)  December 9th, 2015: BOE Issue Resolution

Board of Education issue a resolution against the location of the proposed shooting range.   VIEW

4)  December 14th, 2015: Kingston Planning Board Meeting
Planning Board Public holds a hearing on the proposed Shooting Range.  Approximately 42 speakers testify that evening.  District 7 Legislator Jennifer Schwartz Berky relays that there is a Firearms Law in the city of Kingston code that prohibits discharging firearms within the city boundaries with exceptions, and the need for a special permit for membership in her public testimony.  The issue is tabled. 

AGENDA  MINUTES  VIDEO

Excerpts of minutes from Planning Board 12/14/15

Discussion: Dr. Adam Soyer, applicant/owner, and Scott Dutton, architect, were present at the meeting. Chairman Platte explained that the applicants would be giving a brief presentation to explain the plans for the project.

S. Dutton stated that he is the architect for the project but that he is also a resident of the City of Kingston, residing at 19 Canfield Street a little less than 300ft. from the property in question. This is the 3rd meeting before the Planning Board. Dr. Soyer submitted a “fact sheet” to the Planning Office to explain the business and operations in more detail. He made copies for the public to take and read through. We are here to explain the project and listen to the public.

The building is a 1-story, 2,200 +/- sf, masonry structure with a proposed 500sf addition. Dr. Soyer has owned the building and the adjacent parking lot for a number of years.

Dr. Adam Soyer spoke about the project. He has been a resident of Kingston for a number of years. The idea came about because he is a shooting enthusiast and because there are not a lot of options for places that he could target practice. The business name would be Safeshoot. It would be a 5 lane shooting range for members only. Permits are required for operation from the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. There are a number of concerns that have been expressed which include noise, environmental concerns and security. A range consultant has been obtained to assist in developing the range. Special materials will be used to mitigate noise outside of the building. A HEPA filtration system will be installed to ensure clean air. Both air and noise levels will meet the requirements of OSHA. All members wishing to use the range will need to be certified by a range safety officer which will be on site at all times. All users are required by law to possess a pistol permit. The retail section of the facility would be open to non-members. The classroom component would offer permit holders the ability to learn proper handling and safety.

5)  January 2nd, 2016: Kingston Planning Board

The Planning Board places the proposed shooting range on hold until further notice.  VIEW Article.

6) February 12th, 2016: Mayor Steve Noble

Mayor Steve Noble says shooting range would violate 1984 law.   VIEW Article.

7)  March 23rd, 2016: Public Safety Committee

Ward 7 Alderwoman Maryann Mills requests the firearms law be discussed during the Public Safety Committee meeting.  Majority Leader Bill Carey asks who is in favor of shooting range that evening.

8) March 24th, 2016: Daily Freeman Article reports Ward 9 Alderwoman Deb Brown’s Support of Shooting Range.

Full article in the Daily Freeman reporting that Ward 9 Alderwoman Deb Brown favors proposed shooting range. VIEW Article

9)  April 12th, 2016: Memo from Dr. Soyer’s Lawyer M. Moriello

Dr. Soyer’s Lawyer Michael Moriello submits a memorandum explaining legal reasoning which would support the continuation of the Soyer’s application    VIEW Memorandum

10)  April 13th, 2016: Kingston Finance Committee 

Shooting Range placed on Finance committee meeting agenda requested by Ward 7 Alderwoman Maryann Mills.   It is later removed from agenda by Ward 2 Alderman Doug Koop (and committee chair), suggesting it would be more appropriate for Laws and Rules

11)  April 19th, 2016: Laws and Rules Committee

Firearms is placed on the Laws and Rules Committee chaired by Ward 2 Alderwoman Lynn Eckert.  Eckert allows for public comment, and moves meeting from conference room #1 to council chambers.  The law moves out of committee to the council floor with a negative recommendation.  VIDEO

12)  May 5th, 2016 and May 6th, 2016: Caucus and Council Meeting

Kingston Common Council Caucus.  Discussion on Amending Firearms Law. The full council listens to around 32 speakers requesting that the amended law be sent back to the Laws and Rules Committee for further vetting.  The council votes, and agrees to send it back to committee 7 – 1 (Doug Koop no vote to amend the law).    VIDEO

13) May 16th, 2016: Ulster County Human Rights Commission Issues Letter

Ulster County Human Rights Commission issues concerns regarding Environmental Racism and other issues as it pertains to the location of the proposed shooting range.   VIEW: Document

14)  May 17th, 2016:  Laws and Rules Committee Meeting

A motion is made to ‘adopt’ the City of Rochester Firearms Law as a model for Kingston, but is rejected 3/2.  After, a motion to accept the simplified amended Firearms Law crafted by Deb Brown with new additions by Maryann Mills is, once again, voted out of committee and back to the council floor 3/2 without a formal vetting process.   (Mills, Brown, Carey YES.  Scott-Childress, Eckert NO).  Ward 8 Alderman Steve Schabot is in favor of working with a model.  VIDEO

15)  June 6th, 2016: Laws and Rules Committee

The Kingston Common Council Laws and Rules Committee discuss the possibility of a model law from Rochester, NY crafted fro Kingston that would create buffers for a business like a shooting range in Kingston.  It moves through committee with a positive recommendation 3-2 (Eckert/Childress/Carey – Brown/Mills).    VIEW Daily Freeman Article

15)  June 11th, 2016: Kingston Common Caucus 

The Kingston Common Council meet and discuss the Rochester model law, which passes through to the council floor the following evening.

16) June 12th, 2016: Kingston Common Council

First reading of a new shooting range law as well as an amended version that includes shooting ranges with permits and the NYS Penal Law included in the current Kingston Firearms Law.  VIEW: Daily Freeman Article

17) June 16th, 2016: Mayor Steve Noble is reported to favor the Rochester Law.

During a general press conference, the Mayor “wants the city to set forth specific criteria and requirements for indoor shooting ranges to operate in Kingston.”      VIEW:  Daily Freeman Article

18) July 12th, 2016: The Kingston Common Council Passes through Shooting Range Law (Rochester model). Rejects amendment to Firearms Laws.

The Kingston Common Council passes through the new shooting range law and rejects the amended firearms law 6- 2 on both counts. (Eckert/Koop/Scott-Childress/Dawson/Carey/Schabot – Brown/Mills. Davis abstains).  VIDEO: One  Two  Three

19) July 21st, 2016: Mayor Steve Noble’s Public Hearing on Local Law #3 (Shooting Range)

The mayor’s public hearing takes place on Local Law #3 (Shooting Range).   VIDEO: Public hearing

20) July 28th, 2016: Mayor Steve Noble’s 2nd Public Hearing on Local Law #3 (Shooting Range)

Due to an error in posting a public notice, the mayor organizes a second public hearing on local law #3.   VIDEO:  One  Two

21) July 29th, 2016: Mayor Steve Noble Signs Legislation.

Mayor Steve Noble signs into legislation Local Law #3 on Shooting Ranges.  VIEW:  Daily Freeman Article

VIDEO: Laws and Rules Committee Meeting 5/17/16

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At last evening’s Laws and Rules Committee meeting, council members (there are five that include ward 1 alderwoman Lynn Eckert who is committee chair, ward 5 alderman and majority leader Bill Carey, ward 9 alderwoman and minority leader Deb Brown, ward 3 alderman Rennie Scott-Childress and ward 7 alderwoman Maryann Mills) had a full slate of issues to discuss. One of which that we have been closely following is amending the current City of Kingston Firearms law.

The effort, having come about due to a proposal to place a shooting range and gun shop on Prince Street in Midtown, Kingston, has been a contentious one and the public has worked over many months to share their points of view and research to be placed on record during public comment opportunities.  The result of which made the case for the current Firearms Law to be sent back to committee where it belongs, above and beyond anything else, so that council members are certain to get amendments right by a thorough vetting process.

At the onset, it was noted that a packet of ‘model laws’ had been sent to committee members in advance by Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein. Ward 3 alderman Rennie Scott-Childress said that after reviewing them all, he found the City of Rochester’s Firearms Law to be the best written law to consider, and suggests that it be used as the model for their efforts.

Maryann Mills states that the models are just a “stall tactic”.

When a motion is made for Rochester’s law to be used as a model,  it is rejected  by the committee majority (Deb Brown, Maryann Mills and Bill Carey) now moving out of committee to the council with a negative recommendation.

Later, Deb Brown’s amended text that she crafted, and that would allow indoor shooting ranges in Kingston, was brought back up and this time, included new language suggested by Maryann Mills to include more detail of the State of New York’s Penal Law (perhaps in response to the Veteran’s concerns).

What we learned, last night based on Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein’s interpretation of the penal law was that the Veteran’s memorial services and any of the current reenactments were never in jeopardy.  The law apparently had always allowed it.   Please view for more detail: Video 2, starts at: 29:55

Before having the chance to look through any of the materials that had been submitted for discussion, a motion to move the amended law written by Deb Brown and Maryann Mills out of  the Laws and Rules committee took place (supported by Bill Carey, who had also supported a thorough process shortly before). Deb Brown, Maryann Mills and Bill Carey not only rejected the potential model, they also passed through a completely un-vetted Firearms Law, again. It now moves out of committee, and onto the council with a positive recommendation.

We appreciate citizen participation, and know how hard the public has worked on this. It is  with regret that we must relay that we are all made to ask for a third time that the Firearms Law be sent back to committee where it never should have left in the first place until the law has been given the opportunity to be properly vetted.

WHAT TO ASK
That the Kingston Common Council at caucus (Monday, June 6) and their monthly meeting (Tuesday, June 7) request that the Kingston Firearms Law be sent back to the Laws and Rules Committee for a thorough vetting process.

WHO TO CALL (Please feel free to call all council members if you’d like. Here are key members for next month’s discussion)

 

Alderman-at-Large James Noble
commoncouncil@kingston-ny.gov
(845) 331-4696
Majority Leader and Ward 5 Alderman Bill Carey
ward5@kingston-ny.gov
(845) 339-1361
Minority Leader and Ward 9 Alderwoman Deb Brown
ward9@kingston-ny.gov
(845) 338-0763
Ward 4 Alderwoman Nina Dawson
ward4@kingston-ny.gov
(845) 616-8592
READ
A recent submission from Kingston City resident Neil B. Millens
AMENDING KINGSTON’S FIREARMS LAW: Begins at 10:53 

Excerpts:

10:53  Deb Brown and Maryann Mills discuss their amended text.
12:56  A packet of models are introduced.
13:22  Ward 3 Alderman Rennie Scott-Childress feels the City of Rochester is the best model from the package presented by Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein.  Deb Brown and Maryann Mills states that they haven’t seen it, and accuse models as being ‘stall tactics’.
15:32  Maryann Mills “I like what Deb wrote and how I amended it. What is it about Rochester’s law that you like better?”
15:42  Rennie Scott-Childress “It’s clearly researched. It better matches our comprehensive plan…” etc.
17:52  Maryann Mills notes Dr. Soyer’s lawyer, who wrote a letter to the council, that she says mirrors what is in the Rochester Law.  She believes that it’s all addressed in his information. Rennie clarifies and says ‘but none of it is in the city of Kingston’s law”.
23:05  Mention of a communication from the Board of Education on the safety zone for guns.  The school board says it went out to the entire council, and states that the ATF did not do proper measurements.
24:36  Dr. Soyer explains that he (ATF) provides a flyer to municipalities, but (the ATF) doesn’t take measurements, and there is no mechanism to do that.” The federal law does not prohibit private property from engaging in business and that the 1000 foot requirement doesn’t apply.  He’s never seen anything about a ‘safe zone’ before. He hasn’t seen a sign, doesn’t know what the distance is, etc.
27:07   Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein states ‘strongly’ that this is a discussion about the law, and not Dr. Soyer’s Safe Shoot.  It’s problematic to be talking about amending a statute to accommodate or defeat a specific proposal that is in front of the planning board.
28:18  Bill Carey states that the safe zone has nothing to do with the business.
29:55  Dan Gartenstein states that ‘Veterans shooting blanks out of rifles are not firing rifles. If there are no bullets, you’re not discharging a gun.”
30:52  Board of Education (BOE) president Nora Scherer points out that they mapped out the distance between the Prince Street location and Kingston High School on Google maps, which is what the ATF would have done as well. The Gun Free School Zone Act was not enacted when the law was originally written.  In terms of legislation, how the act may be interpreted.
31:55  James Shaugnessy from the BOE adds that he has concerns of what Dr. Soyer saying being true.  You’re talking about around the shooting range, that he doesn’t feel this should be allowed within the school zone, and states a statistic. The common council has a shared responsibility with the BOE that the children are safe before, during and after school hours.
33:52  Maryann suggests to move forward, to include Penal Law in its entirety.
35:40  Motion to add the Penal Law into the amended text.
50:29  Maryann asks about the Business Park, and notes JFK school (but what she is not understanding is that the location is more than 1000 feet away from the school). She states to push a business out of Kingston is absurd. We need whatever revenue we can get. “This is safe. I have researched it myself.”
52:35  Rennie sees it oppositely. That amending the law encourages opportunity. If we are going to choose to have a shooting range, we should be careful. We want the right business, and that’s what the comprehensive plan is all about.

 

00:00  Rennie speaks about the importance of diversity in business in response to questions prior to in the last video.
2:30  Bill Carey says he’s a no vote on the Rochester law, but it doesn’t mean he’s against it. 
3:58  
Ward 8 alderman Steve Schabot endorses a model to help to make the law clear.
5:05  Restates a motion to adopt the City of Rochester Firearms Law.  Lynn Eckert and Rennie Scott-Childress are yes votes. Bill Carey, Maryann Mills, Deb Brown oppose. The resolution moves out of committee and onto the council with a negative recommendation.
5:44  A motion is made to pass through committee Deb Brown’s amended text with Maryann Mill’s changes.  Lynn states “..is that right, that the law you wrote that was already sent back is what we are voting on now”
8:06  Maryann clarifies that the amendment that Deb Brown wrote now includes the penal law.  Dan Gartenstein states what Maryann is speaking of is Section 7B and gives an explanation about discharging vs. possession.
13:30  Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein clarifies the law in the way that it may impact the Veterans, and he states clearly that it does not.
24:22   Dan Gartenstein reads text of the new amended law. A vote is called. Lynn Ekert and Rennie Scott-Childress are opposed.  Deb Brown, Maryann Mills and Bill Carey are in favor.  Deb Brown’s text with Maryann Mill’s changes is passed out of committee and on to the council in June with a positive recommendation.


WHAT TO EXPECT: Laws and Rules Committee Meeting Tuesday, 5/17/16

what-to-expect-np

WHAT:
Kingston Laws and Rules Committee Meeting 

WHERE:
Conference Room #1
Kingston City Hall
420 Broadway  Kingston, NY  

WHEN:
Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
7:00pm

WHY:
The council’s Laws and Rules Committee will hold their monthly meeting where amending the current Firearms Law is scheduled to be on the agenda.

There is no scheduled public comment period for this meeting. 

This event will be filmed brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org thanks to Clark Richters and Kingston News

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On Tuesday, May 17th at 7:00pm,  the City of Kingston’s Common Council’s Laws and Rules Committee will hold their monthly meeting in conference room #1 at Kingston City Hall.  Scheduled to be on the agenda will be a discussion of the amended Firearms Law, which the public expects will be the start of a thorough undertaking, looking closely at all of the items highlighted at a number of public hearings that are posted below. There is no scheduled public comment at this meeting.

VIEW
Kingston Common Council Caucus and Full Council Meeting (5/2/16 and 5/3/16)

VIEW
Laws and Rules Committee meeting 4/19/16 Public Comment

VIEW
City of Kingston Planning Board Meeting Public Hearing 12/14/15

By the way, it was brought to our attention that in 1996, the Kingston Common Council, during a similar contentious debate over a proposed Gentleman’s Club on East Chester Street, hired a consultant to prepare a study.  The purpose of the study was  “to determine the potential primary and secondary impacts that may be associated with adult businesses, if such uses were to be established within the City of Kingston. At present, there are no lawfully existing adult businesses within the City.”

We believe that this is a model for the Firearms Law, as deserving for the same amount of care. 

VIEW
Adult Use Study prepared by Greenplan, Inc. 

So it’s not the first time that the City of Kingston had to grapple with whether or not a potential business would provide a positive addition or detriment to the community.

VIEW
Adult Use Zoning Ordinance that followed, and where the study is noted.

 

 

 

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Amending the City of Kingston’s Firearms Law.

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Now that it has been determined that the current City of Kingston’s Firearms Law is to be fully vetted and amended,  citizens have an opportunity to submit their research to the laws and rules committee for consideration.

Amending the law is not based on public opinion.  Rather, reform is established by existing local, state and federal laws that are currently in place.  Therefore, if you are interested in submitting your research with applicable links to Kingston’s Laws and Rules Committee, please do so by writing to Lynn Eckert, Ward 1 Alderwoman and Laws and Rules Chairperson:   mailto: lmeckert80@gmail.com

Get your information to the committee chair prior to the next laws and rules committee meeting on Tuesday, May 17th at 7:00pm.

VIDEO: Kingston Common Council Caucus (5/2/16) and Full Council Meeting (5/3/16)

We are pleased to bring you video from this week’s common council caucus (5/2) and full council meeting (5/3). As you will see, we have marked much of the content specifically focused on the items that we have been following recently that include amending the firearms law and the Pilgrim Pipeline memorializing resolution. However, there is a good amount of information throughout, and we encourage you to take the time to also view the remainder of the footage.

Citizens did a great job in supporting the council in their decision making process last night, and in sharing their opinions on the location of the proposed shooting range. The outcome was that the council sent the amended firearms law back to the laws and rules committee for further vetting, which was seen as a positive action by all sides. In addition, an important memorializing resolution was passed showing Kingston’s support of Bill A9831a   sponsored by Assemblyman Skartados, “an act to prevent the construction of pipelines to transport hazardous substances or petroleum on property under the jurisdiction of the New York Thruway Authority.”

Although the items listed in the agenda move around some, everything is covered and you can follow along:

VIEW: Agenda

VIEW: Legislation

* Brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org. Filmed by Clark Richters of Kingston News.

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