Town of Ulster Lawyer Reject Professionals and ToU Residents Request for Temporary Moratorium on Construction of Power Plants for Zoning Review.

Last evening, the Town of Ulster Town Board met for their regular monthly meeting. Although Town of Ulster residents and coalition partners/professionals requested that a “…temporary moratorium be placed on power plants to allow time to review zoning” be added to the agenda prior to the Monday deadline at 4:00 pm of this week, the Town Board rejected their request.

Because the item was not placed on the agenda, the public – who filled the room – were made to wait until the end of the meeting to address the Town Board. Items on the agenda can be addressed by the public prior to the start of the meeting. Items not on the agenda can be addressed by the public at the end of regular business.

During the meeting (where the Town Board approved one negative declaration in SEQR after another on new build projects in the town), when inquiring citizens asked questions about projects that were being discussed, they were met with eye rolls and sneers by some of the developers, town board members and even the Supervisor himself, “…so you’re asking the town board to stop development…no I’m serious. What are you asking of the town board?”  (31:55 -34:14)

Incomplete segments of the public comment period were reported in today’s local paper, having left out important points that were made. Fortunately, you can review the audio from last evening as well as to tune into some of the key moments identified below.

 

 

40:51 -43:26
Laura Hartmann
Town of Ulster resident
TownOfUlsterCitizens.org

Submits 177 signatures from a letter submitted by residents of the Town of Ulster requesting that the Town Supervisor and Town Board publically state whether they consider the “GlidePath project a “Utility Company Structure” permitted as-of-right in the OM zone as GlidePath have been claiming and; That a growing number of ToU residents ask for a temporary moratorium on construction of power plants while it considers zoning that specifically regulates power plants.” When asked when/if the Town Board would comment or make a decision on these requests, Supervisor Quigley responded, “You’re making your comments to the town board, we acknowledge hearing you. Thank you.”

 

50:58 – 59:59
Dan Furman
Town of Ulster resident
TownOfUlsterCitizens.org

“…Why you won’t address the letter? ” – Furman

“I’m not going to answer that question…Mr. Kovacs, please give the legal position of the ToU”  – Supervisor Quigley

“…there are some members of the community that believe that this project has not been properly classified…we believe it was as a utility project structure. There’s been no challenge until these comments and now, it’s far too late. We are deep into the environmental review process. It’s a null moment….we need to let the process play out. To change…now puts us in a position to be sued by the developer. We’re not taking any sides.” – Town of Ulster Attorney Jason J. Kovacs of Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner and Martuscello, LLP

“That’s part of the problem of the town being Lead Agency. It’s ridiculous because this is a town issue (and we need you to advocate for us).”  – Furman

“We’ve allowed the lawyer to give you the town’s position.”
– Supervisor Quigley

“Be our town board.” – Furman

“Am I at liberty to respond to the solar farm (moratorium)?”
– Supervisor Quigley to Kovacs

“It’s a different situation.” – Kovacs to Supervisor Quigley

1:12:30 – 1:15:07
Regis Obijiski
Town of Ulster resident
TownOfUlsterCitizens.org

“….Mr. Kovacs…we had submitted in our scoping document (on page 4) this issue. It is not “new” news. This is old news made better. Please give better advice to the town. The way you put it….it made it seem like a fait accompli.  A done deal. We’ve come this far…the process still continues, the DEIS has not been issued – and a new (way to understand zoning) has surfaced.  GlidePath itself said on several occasions when new information emerges from experts we must consider it….so don’t say we’ve got to continue otherwise we’re going to be sued…be careful, gentleman (to the Town Board) when you receive legal advice in this case.”

1:00:00 – 1:03:51
Jeffrey Anzevino, Director of Land Use Advocacy
Scenic Hudson
VIEW full comments

“…Glidepath, the sponsor of the Lincoln Park project, has asserted in its application that its proposed power plant is a permitted use as-of-right in the OM District because it is a “utility company structure” under the Town’s Zoning Code. We disagree with Glidepath’s assertion. Our interpretation of the Zoning Code is that it does not specifically regulate gas-fired power plants like the Lincoln Park facility.”

 

1:07:49 – 1:09:57
Town of Ulster resident
TownOfUlsterCitizens.org

“Is there a way to amend the zoning?” – ToU resident

“There is case law that supports an applicants lawsuit against the town if the town changes the rules in the middle of the game.”  – Supervisor Quigley

“I don’t believe I saw any of you at the public forum last week in Post Park) about the GlidePath project, it was disappointing to me.”  – ToU resident

“Duly noted.”  – Supervisor Quigley

“I would hope that town board meetings could be more of an exchange, dialouge, back and forth. I see people talking and not getting responses.” – ToU Citizen

“Thank you.”  – Supervisor Quigley

That’s an interesting question.  When are there opportunities for the public to speak to its town board in public?  Is there a caucus? Are there committees where Town Board members sit to work out legislation, policy or laws (such as finance, public safety, etc.)?  Nothing that appears on their website indicate any public opportunity for a back and forth dialouge with their elected officials. That ought to be addressed. 

 

1:10:05 – 1:12:20
Former Supervisor Fred Wadnola.

In this morning’s local paper, former Supervisor Fred Wadnola was quoted as saying, ….I don’t know much about GlidePath but the process is in motion,” he said. “The final approval of this project…is not the Town of Ulster Town Board, but it’s (state Department of Environmental Conservation/DEC) Region 3, which is the toughest regulatory agency in New York State…so I can’t imagine the DEC is not taking everything into consideration.”

 

1:15:15 – 1:16:42

Following up to correct Wadnola’s assumption, Jeffrey Anzevino of Scenic Hudson came back to the podium,  which unfortunately never made it to the article.  He said, “The DEC does not have the land use authority over the plan, that would be the Town Board as Lead Agency. while the DEC may have some authority over air permits, the town board has the ultimate say over this project….a moratorium would not infringe on GlidePath’s vested rights…the rights are not vested until all the permits are issued and the applicant has undertaken construction expenses.”

A correction to the local paper’s report that was released today was requested by TownofUlsterCitizens.org.   VIEW the lack of detail, after reading this post, in the following article.

TOOLKIT AND VIDEO – Residents of Ulster County and ‘G’ Zone Counties: Temporary Moratorium on Fossil-Fuel Power Plants To Address Zoning.

By Rebecca Martin

Last evening, approximately 150 people attended our public forum and community BBQ “Living in the ‘G’ Zone: GlidePath, Peak Power and Ulster County.

We learned that residents of Ulster County and vulnerable communities throughout the ‘G’ zone have no time to waste to address 25 MW fossil fuel power plants (where local communities have oversight) in their zoning ordinances.

As promised, we have created action items for both Town of Ulster residents AND all Ulster County residents and all of those living in the ‘G’ zone.

Video and PowerPoint from both presentations are available following our step by step actions.

We would like to keep track of the communities who pursue this information, so please send any updates to Rebecca Martin at rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org


Additional Resources
:

1.  VIEW  Ulster County Executive Mike Hein Statement re: GlidePath.

2. VIEW Coalition Letter to Town of Ulster: Temporary Moratorium on Power Plants to Address Zoning Code.  

 

TOOLKIT: Step by Step to Address Zoning and Peak Power Plants
This resident action was made possible by the generous support of Scenic Hudson, Citizens for Local Power and KingstonCitizens.org

 

ACTION FOR TOWN OF ULSTER RESIDENTS

Urge your municipality to place a moratorium on fossil-fuel burning power plants while they consider zoning that specifically addresses power plants.

The next Town of Ulster Town Board Meeting will occur on Thursday, August 16th at 7:00pm at the Town of Ulster Town Hall, 1 Town Hall Drive, Lake Katrine, NY.

1.First, in towns, zoning Must Be Consistent with Comprehensive Plans (NYS Town Law §  263)

2.Please request that the Town of Ulster Supervisor and Town Board adopt a temporary moratorium on construction of power plants while it considers zoning that specifically regulates power plants.

3.Demand that the town Supervisor and Town Board publicly state whether they consider the GlidePath project a “utility company structure” permitted as-of-right in the OM zone as GlidePath has been claiming.

 

ACTION FOR ULSTER COUNTY RESIDENTS AND ALL LIVING IN VULNERABLE AREAS IN THE ‘G’ ZONE. (Ulster, Greene, Orange, Dutchess, Rockland, Putnam Counties).

To ensure that your town doesn’t end up with a gas-fired power plant proposed just feet from a residential neighborhood, urge your municipality to place a moratorium on fossil-fuel burning power plants while they consider zoning that specifically addresses power plants.

Smaller “peaker” power plants (25 MW or less) are primarily under jurisdiction of local governments, and not “New York State” and are going to become increasingly prevalent throughout the Hudson Valley.

Most municipalities do not have zoning specifically regulating power plants.

Q.  Should power plants be allowed at all in our town? Would prohibiting them constitute impermissible exclusionary zoning? 

Not necessarily. NYS courts have stated that municipalities can ban industrial uses as long as prohibiting a use is a reasonable exercise of its police powers to prevent damage to the rights of others and to promote the interests of the community as a whole.
(Gernatt Asphalt Products v. Town of Sardinia)

If power plants are permitted in your town, how should our zoning regulate them?  They should only be permitted:

•In heavy industrial zones that are designated for uses that generate significant noise, traffic or pollutants and are far away from important environmental areas and residences;

•With a special use permit;

•Subject to strict conditions related to noise, stack height, etc.;

•Subject to minimum lot size and coverage (subject to underlying zoning requirements or can create specific new standards); and;

•With an enforceable decommissioning plan requiring restoration of the site to original condition or better.

 

VIDEO #1: “Living in the ‘G’ Zone: GlidePath, Peak Power and Ulster County.”

1:16 – 15:02
County Executive Mike Hein
“You’re here because you care about something that is fundamentally wrong and stopping it…your county executive is going to fight like hell to push back on this.”

15:10 – 17:55
Amanda LaValle, Department of the Environment, Ulster County
“Executive Order #2 of 2018 speaks to Ulster County’s commitment to renewable energy and insuring more renewable projects like the Town of Ulster Solar Landfill project, as well as to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operations and going further to expand with a community emissions reduction goal of 80% over the 2012 baseline by 2050.

18:01 – 23:13
Laura Hartmann, TownOfUlsterCitizens.org
Welcome and Thanks

23:15 – 30:00
Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org
Welcome, Coalition Partners and Panel Opening

30:38 – 53:25
Evelyn Wright, Citizens for Local Power
Please follow along with her powerpoint available HERE

Solutions to GlidePath’s peak power plant proposal in the Town of Ulster:

1.Serve the distribution system: Non-wires alternatives. ConEd is actively looking for storage developers for projects downstate.

2. Hybridize existing peaker plants. NYS has 3000 MW of very old, very dirty peaker plants that need to make changes to meet new air regulations (again mostly downstate).

3. Partner with an industrial or commercial site that can use some of the batteries’ services.

4. Storage-plus-renewables. Renewables do not have to be co-located on the same site in order to get state incentives!

5. Storage only. Actively participate in the evolving NYISO and NYSERDA/PSC processes that will change the storage market landscape over the next two years AND design a storage-one project that benefits from those incentives.

53:40 – end
Hayley Carlock, Scenic Hudson
Please follow along with her powerpoint available HERE

The role that local zoning plays with smaller power plants generally. Urge your municipality to place a moratorium on fossil-fuel burning power plants while they consider zoning that specifically addresses power plants.

Here’s how.

1. First, in towns, zoning must be consistent with “Comprehensive Plans” (NYS Town Law § 263).

2. If power plants are permitted in our town, how should our zoning regulate them?

They should only be permitted:

•In heavy industrial zones that are designated for uses that generate significant noise, traffic or pollutants and are far away from important environmental areas and residences;

•With a special use permit;

•Subject to strict conditions related to noise, stack height, etc.;

•Subject to minimum lot size and coverage (subject to underlying zoning requirements or can create specific new standards); and;

•With an enforceable decommissioning plan requiring restoration of the site to original condition or better.

 

VIDEO #2:  “Living in the ‘G’ Zone: GlidePath, Peak Power and Ulster County.”

Hayley Carlock, Scenic Hudson (Continued)

00:00 – 1:35
ToU History on Solar Moratorium.

1:36 – 4:03
Action for Town of Ulster Residents

4:04 – 10:06
Action for Residents if you don’t live in the ToU.

10:07 – 12:46
Update on GlidePath and SEQR process

13:00 – End
Question and Answer period

Coalition Partners and Citizens Request Temporary Moratorium on GlidePath Power Plant Project in Town of Ulster

Coalition partners ask about a temporary moratorium on power plants in the Town of Ulster to review zoning code, as they did on Solar Energy Systems last September.

Out ahead of this evening’s Public Forum (8/10/18) “Living In the “G” Zone: Glidepath, Peak Power and Ulster County“, coalition partners, who have been working together since November of 2017 to encourage a fully transparent, public process as it pertains to the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center (a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster, NY), have requested a temporary moratorium on the proposal for the Town of Ulster Town Board to give “…clarity on whether the Town of Ulster Zoning Code (the “Zoning Code”) currently regulates gas-fired power plants, and specifically request a statement as to how the Town is treating the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center (the “Project”) under the Zoning Code.”

“In 2017, the Town proposed a temporary moratorium on the installation of freestanding or ground-mounted solar energy systems. The Town’s stated rationale for doing so was that solar energy facilities are “not currently regulated in the Town of Ulster Zoning Code.” Therefore, a solar power generation facility does not, in the Town’s view, constitute a “utility company structure”. As both solar facilities and gas-fired power plants generate electricity, and a solar facility would very likely have fewer negative impacts than a gas-fired power plant, it makes no sense that a gas-fired power plant would be considered a “utility company structure” while a commercial solar facility would not. Therefore, we request that the Town clarify that the proposed Project is not an as-of-right permitted use within the OM District in the Town.”

TownOfUlsterCitizens.org will deliver a copy of the letter with signatures from residents at the Town of Ulster’s next Town Board meeting on August 16th.

An action for communities who are vulnerable in the “G” Zone (living in an attainment area that includes upper Orange, Ulster, Dutchess and Greene counties) will be led through steps to encourage their municipalities to shore up their zoning for peak energy plants that are 25mw’s or less at tonight’s public forum.  All materials, including video from today’s event, will be provided as a tool kit to be shared.

 

CAPP-NY
Catskill Mountainkeeper
Citizens For Local Power
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.
KingstonCitizens.org
Riverkeeper
Scenic Hudson

James Quigley, Supervisor
Town of Ulster
Town Hall Drive
Lake Katrine, NY  12449

August 10, 2018

Dear Supervisor Quigley and Town Board Members,

We write to you to ask for clarity on whether the Town of Ulster Zoning Code (the “Zoning Code”) currently regulates gas-fired power plants, and specifically request a statement as to how the Town is treating the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center (the “Project”) under the Zoning Code.

The applicant for the Project, Lincoln Park GC, LLC, (the “Applicant”) has stated that the project can be built as-of-right in the Office and Manufacturing District (“OM District”) because it is a “utility company structure”. Our interpretation of the Town’s Zoning Code differs, and we do not read the Code to permit gas-fired power plants as-of-right within any zone in the Town. We ask the Town Board and Building Department to clarify whether the Code regulates gas-fired power plants such as the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, and if so, whether such power plants are permitted as-of-right in the OM District.

The Project is proposed to be located on an approximately four-acre portion of a 120-acre property in the Town of Ulster. The property is primarily zoned as an OM District with a small portion of the property on which the plant would not be constructed located within the R-30 Residence District. The Zoning Code permits “utility company structures” as-of-right within the OM District. The Zoning Code does not include a definition of “utility company structure”. Nor are power plants or electric generation facilities discussed as possible uses within any of the districts under the Zoning Code.

It is notable that under the Zoning Code, “utility company structures” are permitted within any zone within the Town of Ulster, with the sole exception of the Traditional Neighborhood Development Overlay District. Utility company structures are permitted as-of-right in the Highway Commercial, Regional Commercial, Office Manufacturing and Industrial Districts, and with a special use permit and site plan approval in any other zoning district within the Town (the Residential-60, Residential-30, Residential-10 and Local Commercial Districts). It is extremely unlikely that the Town intends to allow power plants, with their heavily industrial character and significant health, environmental and quality of life impacts, to be permitted within even the most restrictive residential district in the Town.

The Zoning Code must also be read in the context of the Town’s 2007 Comprehensive Plan (the “Comprehensive Plan”) adopted pursuant to Section 272-a of the Town Law. The Comprehensive Plan recommends adoption of a “Ridge Protection Overlay District” that would include the area of the Project. The Comprehensive Plan urges additional land use regulations to conserve the ridgelines in the Ridgeline Protection Area and their natural environment and scenic vistas. While this zoning has not yet been adopted, it is still necessary to consider that the area of the Project has been identified in the Comprehensive Plan as especially valuable for its natural and aesthetic resources and deserving of special protection.

In 2017, the Town proposed a temporary moratorium on the installation of freestanding or ground-mounted solar energy systems. The Town’s stated rationale for doing so was that solar energy facilities are “not currently regulated in the Town of Ulster Zoning Code.” Therefore, a solar power generation facility does not, in the Town’s view, constitute a “utility company structure”. As both solar facilities and gas-fired power plants generate electricity, and a solar facility would very likely have fewer negative impacts than a gas-fired power plant, it makes no sense that a gas-fired power plant would be considered a “utility company structure” while a commercial solar facility would not. Therefore, we request that the Town clarify that the proposed Project is not an as-of-right permitted use within the OM District in the Town.

Similar to its approach to ground-mounted solar facilities, we also urge the Town Board to adopt a temporary moratorium on construction of fossil fuel-fired power plants while it considers amending the Zoning Code to provide for specific regulation of such power plants. Because “peaker” plants such as the Lincoln Park Project are likely to become more common throughout the Hudson Valley due to the incentives created by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s new capacity zone, and because these smaller plants are primarily regulated by local land use laws, it is important that the Town proactively identify which, if any, areas of the Town are suitable for such a use. Fossil fuel-burning power plants have unique impacts, including significant air emissions, noise, and visual impacts, and therefore warrant specific regulation within the Zoning Code to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community.

We respectfully request a written response to our inquiries regarding the Town of Ulster Zoning Code’s regulation of fossil fuel-burning power plants and its specific treatment of the Lincoln Park Grid Support Project under the zoning code.

  1. See, e.g., Full Environmental Assessment Form Part 1 for Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, prepared by The Chazen Companies.
  2. Town of Ulster Zoning Map.
  3. Town of Ulster Zoning Code § 190-69.
  4. See Town of Ulster Zoning Code § 190-69.
  5. Id.
  6. Id.
  7. See N.Y. Town Law Section 273.
  8. See Town of Ulster Comprehensive Plan at 85.
  9. Town of Ulster Comprehensive Plan at 44.
  10. See Town of Ulster Board Meeting Minutes of September 21, 2017 and October 24, 2017, available at: https://townulster.digitaltowpath.org:10023/content/MeetingCategories/View/1/2017
  11. Town of Ulster Local Law No. ___ of 2017 at Section II. B, available at: https://townulster.digitaltowpath.org:10023/content/MeetingCategories/View/1/2017:field=meetings;/content/Meetings/View/289:field=documents;/content/Documents/File/3501.pdf

 

Signed

Sue Rosenberg, Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines – New York
Wes Gillingham, Associate Director, Catskill Mountainkeeper
Jen Metzger, Citizens for Local Power
Greg Williams, Executive Director, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc.
Rebecca Martin, Director, KingstonCitizens.org
Jessica Roff, Director of Advocacy and Engagement, Riverkeeper, Inc.
Hayley Carlock, Esq., Director of Environmental Advocacy,  Scenic Hudson, Inc.

 

CC:

Joel B. Brink, Town of Ulster
Eric Kitchen, Town of Ulster
John Morrow, Town of Ulster
Suzanne Reavy, Town of Ulster
Rocco Secreto, Town of Ulster

 

CoK Mayor Steve Noble Advocates for Public Participation Plan for ToU Power Plant Proposal in Rondout’s Potential Environmental Justice Area.

In April, we learned that in during the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) SEQR Scoping comments regarding the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center (a gas-fired peak energy power plant in the Town of Ulster), state officials wrote that “If the air data indicates that the project’s potential impact area includes the Potential Environment Justice Area (in the City of Kingston’s Rondout) 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.”

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.”

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.

It was reported that the other comments about the environmental review of the project from the state include:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Since then, the City of Kingston has not heard another word on how the project sponsor intends to respond to the DEC’s request.  On Tuesday of this week, Mayor Steve Noble sent a letter to the DEC’s Region 3 Regional Director Kelly Turturro to follow-up.

” … I ask that the DEC send a written notice to the applicant requesting that it immediately commence compliance with the requirements of the Department’s Environmental Justice Policy, as specific in the Department’s March 20, 2018 Comments on the Draft Scope. The City of Kingston, in which the PEJA area is located, specifically requests that the Department direct the Applicant to prepare and submit an enhanced participation plan for review and approval, so that it can be implemented before the public comment on the DEIS is opened. In this way, the intent of the Commissioner’s Policy is honored, and Kingston’s identified environmental justice community will be provided with sufficient time, tools and the opportunity to clearly voice, and have their comments be considered, on the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. “

For today, you can reach out to our Mayor and thank him for taking a proactive approach on this. Without having done so, it isn’t clear whether or not the applicant would have complied.  This will most certainly help.

Send your thanks to:  mayor@kingston-ny.gov

We’ll follow-up as we learn more.

VIDEO: Kingston Laws and Rules Committee Host Roundtable to Clarify Kingston Development Processes.

 

CITIZEN REQUEST.  Please request that the Kingston Common Council Laws and Rules Committee throw out streamlining legislation and continue to collaborate with all relevant Kingston departments, boards and commissions to clarify the development process scenarios comprehensively in the City of Kingston. 

Contact:  Laws and Rules Committee Liaison to Streamlining Commissions:  Ward 9 Alderwoman Andrea Shaut at:  ward9@kingston-ny.gov

By Rebecca Martin

In April of this year, draft legislation to “streamline” the Historic Landmarks Preservation and Heritage Area Commissions was introduced by the City of Kingston’s executive branch to the common council with support from both the Planning and Building Departments.  Streamlining Historic Commissions, they argued, would eliminate any redundancies and create a more efficient process for project sponsors who came forward with development concepts for the city.

It’s been a rocky road since, with Kingston’s assistant Corporation Council misleading the council and the public by providing false time requirements and pending litigation that was never understood as reasons to get the streamlining legislation as a local law passed by September.

To help to better understand the process, we jumped in to provide an important educational forum so that we had good information for debate. With more questions than answers, the majority of the council (7-2) with the public’s support, brought the proposed ‘streamlining’ legislation back to committee from the floor for further review.

How did the City of Kingston’s Planning and Building Department come to the conclusion that streamlining commissions was the best way forward?  Was there a flowchart of all development processes? Had all parties involved been gathered to discuss the process to collectively agree that streamlining was the solution?

We got our answer during July’s Common Council Laws and Rules Committee meeting.  Led by Ward 9 Alderwoman Andrea Shaut, who serves as the liaison to the Laws and Rules Committee on the streamlining matter, a roundtable discussion was called that included invitations to all decision makers – whether regulatory or advisory.  Turns out that this was the first time that everyone had been brought together to discuss. The planning department didn’t have flowcharts and Kingston’s Planning Director Suzanne Cahill insisted that the development process was not ‘one size fits all’ so it wasn’t possible to create them.

Really? Even SEQR has a flowchart. When you are talking about processes that if not available, up-to-date or followed correctly will impact the public in profound ways, you better get that information out of your head and onto the page.

Speaking of which, and additionally perplexing, Cahill chose the proposed Kingstonian project as an example (which later we learned, was a poor choice not having comprehensive information to explore process) to walk us through the development process. In the 20 or so minutes that she spoke, we never made it beyond the first part of SEQR.

We weren’t there for a SEQR overview. We wanted to understand how the city’s commissions, boards and staff interfaced with the process. We wanted to understand why those supporting streamlining commissions were so certain of it.

Back to flowcharts. Does not having that information indicate project sponsors, who approach the city’s Planning or Building Departments with a development project, are not given some sort of guide where they can anticipate the most likely steps they are to take with contact information, etc.?  How is it possible that these materials do not exist for something as important as this?

In the end, instead of the council being given materials by the Planning Department as requested in order to evaluate the process, they had to set out on their own to do the work themselves. Why is staff placing an unnecessary burden like this on our elected officials?   They are decision makers. They should not be made to have to create flowcharts of development processes for the planning department. That’s what taxpayers expect to be paying capable staff to do.

That being the case, Ward 9 Alderwoman Andrea Shaut got to work to meet the need of those in attendance, creating an impressive draft document by pulling together everything that she had from her meetings and document collecting. Shaut illustrated that flowcharts were indeed possible.

In what was about a two hour meeting, the committee got through only 1/4 of one process (there might be many ultimately, up to four or five), daylighting over a half dozen items that were problematic but approachable, such as improving the sequencing steps, providing better communication at the start of the process and coordinating reviews. Perhaps now that the Planning Department understands what the council is looking to achieve, it can spend some time helping to get the information that they need.

We appreciate the council members effort to be thorough in understanding the development processes before making any further decisions about streamlining commissions. It seems clear that enough information has come out that it’s in our best interest to throw out the proposed legislation to streamline commissions.

The council’s work here is unprecedented, and if they continue, the reform of our development processes and the creation of materials to reflect that will positively impact Kingston for generations.

 

20:10 – Introductions.  Alderman and Committee Chair Bill Carey, Ward 5. Alderman Doug Koop Ward 2. Alderman and Majority Leader Rennie Scott-Childress, Ward 3.  Alderwoman Andrea Shaut, Ward 9.  Alderman Jeffrey Morell, Ward 1.  City of Kingston Assistant Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein.  City of Kingston Planning Director Suzanne Cahill. Historic Landmarks Preservation Commissioner (HLPC) Leslie Melvin, HLPC Vice Chair Marissa Marvelli, HLPC Alan Baer, Heritage Area Commission (HAC) Vice Chair Giovanna Righini. HAC and HLPC Commissioner and Secretary Kevin McEvoy. City of Kingston Building Inspector Tom Tiano.

24:50 – Alderwoman Andrea Shaut, describes the roundtable discussion format.

30:38  – CoK Planning Director Suzanne Cahill, using the proposed “Kingstonian” project as her guide, tries to describe the development process.

50:56 – Citizen Comment, in response to the process being difficult to map out.
“The SEQR process has steps that the council can look up. In terms of what other boards are involved, it seems like alot of this information is available”

57:49  – City of Kingston Building Inspector Tom Tiano
More on proposed Kingstonian project process.

58:22 –  Alderman Bill Carey
“If everything is going through simulatineously, what’s the order?”

58:47 – Cahill and Tiano
“We’re sure information is shared and we’re coordinated”

1:01:57 – HAC and Planning board re: Hutton Brickyard process
“Heritage had to make an approval, and the planning board acted following that. City staff and commissions were meeting at the same time, and it was a benefit to have organized in that way. That’s something I’d like to give more pursuit….if it worked out so that the project sponsor came to one meeting and only had to give one presentation, then each board was able to reach their decisions individually, but we got through things quickly. I thought it was good.”

1:03:02 – Alderwoman Andrea Shaut
“We may not have a perfect example of a process, but we have at least an outline to learn some of the risks.”

1:06:03 – HLPC’s Marissa Marvelli and Leslie Melvin
“One problem is that often applicants coming to HLPC don’t know what to expect. They don’t haven’t been directed to reach out to us to discuss what’s needed of them, who should come with them, or what are we looking for. There is no interface between the applicant and HLPC.  Because they don’t know what to present to us, their applications are typically incomplete…the greatest frustration is the lack of clarity of what they need out front…we don’t have the information we need to be thorough.”

1:11:10 – HAC Giovanna Righini
“There is a design standard for our reviews online, when people come they have not been directed to review them. The info is there for them to review.”

1:12:19 –  On the HAC And HLPC

1:23:00 – Alderman Rennie Scott-Childress
“Is there any idea of level of compliance that we have both with how many people make changes to their properties without permission?”

Building Inspector Tom Tiano  –
“They are going to do what they are going to do, and ask for forgiveness later….the Old Dutch Church across the street explained to me that its wooden replacement steps was a temporary fix…they were supposed to go to Landmarks and learn what had to be done, but they never showed up.  As far as I know, the wood steps are still there. They do not acknowledge our letters. Are we supposed to take the Old Dutch Church to court? It doesn’t look good to bring the church to court.”

1:31:34 – Alderman Jeffrey Morell
“What happens when a permit is not closed out? Is there a time limit?”

1:35:02 – HLPC Marissa Marvelli  
More on violations and their impact on time for the HLPC.

1:40:50 – HAC Giovanna Righini and HLPC Marissa Marvelli 
“In many city’s, the solution is there is an office of preservation as part of planning…especially in places like this…noone here knows where the historic districts are. Alot of home owners may not even know they live in a historic district. That’s a big problem….we’ve been trying to get that information on the city’s website, but been assigned someone to help us to do so (NOTE: city staff maintains the city’s website)

HLPC Marissa Marvelli
“Kingston has the most active Heritage Area program in the state.”

1:43:04  – HAC and HLPC Secretary Kevin McEvoy and HAC Giovanna Righini  
More on Heritage Area Commission.

1:46:20 –  Alderwoman Andrea Shaut
Solutions?

1:48:34 Alderman Rennie Scott-Childress
“Folks who don’t live in a historic building or district, what’s their relationship to all of this, particularly in midtown?

HLPC Leslie Melvin
“We stopped doing designations decades ago, not for any reason I can understand. Those protections are not currently available.”

2:06:30 –  Zoning, historics and design standards.
“Kingston does not have a preservation plan, and never has.”

2:15:07 – HLPC Alan Baer
“How did the streamlining commissions come about?”

 

MORE ON STREAMLINING COMMISSIONS FROM KINGSTONCITIZENS.ORG

Cherry Picking Comp Plan Zoning Recommendations: The Streamlining of the HLPC and HAC in Kingston.

The Proposed Legislation to Merge Kingston’s Historic Commissions is not Ready for a Public Hearing.

UCRRA Board Unanimously Pass Resolution to Triple Kingston’s Single-Stream Recycling Costs through December.

Click on image to view video.

By Rebecca Martin

On Wednesday, the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (UCRRA) unanimously passed through Resolution No. 2445 that will end single-stream recycling for the agency on December 31st, 2018 and resolution No. 2446 to increase tipping fees for the remainder of the year beginning July 1, 2018.

What does that mean for Kingston?

Single stream recycling is Kingston’s current system, and we made a large investment in order to do so between 2011 and 2013 with UCRRA’s blessing.  Although Kingston is the only municipality who does so through UCRRA, other communities in Ulster County engage in single stream recycling through private haulers without any trouble.

The City of Kingston, that serves approximately 24,000 people, must now scramble to figure out how to manage its single-stream recycling  before the end of the year and in the meantime, the costs to use UCRRA as we have will TRIPLE from $20 per ton to $76 per ton in July ($61 + $15 user fee). The price may fluctuate from month to month, and be even higher until single-stream is discontinued at UCRRA and we go off on our own.

The bitter pill in all of this for the public is that during the UCRRA Board’s informational meeting earlier in the spring, the agency was aware of the potential changes in the market last October. Prior to the City of Kingston adopting its municipal budget and with more time to engage in discussions with the public and private enterprises.

VIEW  Video
Brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org thanks to the Kingston News

KingstonCitizens.org will host a public educational forum on the UCRRA board in September of 2018.

 

 

VIDEO: City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble UCRRA Public Hearing on Single Stream Recycling

Photo Credit: Phyllis McCabe for Hudson Valley One.  Click on image to view Mayor Steve Noble’s Testimony at the UCRRA Public Hearing on Single Stream Recycling and rate increases on June 14th. 

 

Mayor Steve Noble gave excellent testimony at Thursday evening’s Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency’s (UCRRA) public hearing on Single Stream Recycling and rate increases.  You may click on the image to view his testimony, or following along here:  VIEW 

The public can submit comments for the next 10 days (through June 24th) to UCRRA@ucrra.org

###

“I could come before you this evening to talk about how the city of Kingston began its single stream operation. I could talk to you about how the Research Recovery Agency blessed the city of Kingston’s transition to single stream recycling. I could talk to you this evening about how much money the city has spent with both local funds and state grant dollars purchasing recycling bins for the city of Kingston residents. 

I could also talk to you at length about the amount of money spent on mechanizing our equipment to have the single stream recycling trucks that we purchased with state dollars. I could also speak to you this evening about how our recycling rates have almost doubled in the city of Kingston since we implemented this new recycling program. But in five minutes, I can’t do that.  I also don’t believe I can do that in the month in a half that we’ve had since UCRRA announced its plans to discontinue single stream recycling. 

This is viewed as something that, as you all have indicated, has been happening because of China. But I would say that the issue of recycling has been happening around our country and around New York for decades, trying to get people to recycle. And it has not been easy. And it’s been something that we’ve all struggled with. 

Whether we’re single stream or dual stream, people still don’t know how to recycle correctly. People still put plastic bags in dual stream recycling just like they do in single stream recycling. They still don’t know where to put shredded paper. And whether it can be recycled or it can’t be recycled. And I think the same issue is here. This is an important decision. What do we charge? How do we manage it? Is it dual stream? Is it single stream? 

The agency is shifting course and deciding, again, that dual stream is the only way that Ulster County should operate. Then that should be a public discussion, and it should involve the county legislature. It should involve the recycling oversight committee. It should involve a whole lot more meetings like this, and it should involve the stake holders that will be directly implemented and impacted by these decisions. That should include the large haulers like Waste Management and County Waste. And it should involve the residents of the city of Kingston that don’t speak English. 

It should involve all of our residents. And the agency needs to step up and engage with our communities and really decide how can we build a better, more sustainable and also more resilient recycling industry here in Ulster County. And there is no way that that can happen before December 31st of 2018 before the proposed switch that you’re asking us to do. 

We need to be able to spend that time working together to decide once and for all how we do this. As many of you know, it’s taken the city of Kingston four years to completely implement single stream recycling in just the residential neighborhoods. On Tuesdays, we still have dual stream recycling, for the most part, on our business commercial districts in the city. And so we still haven’t gone fully single stream. 

I do think that it’s important that this decision not being made in haste. I think that the board has created a crisis, and made this seem like a crisis, making it seem that our agency is stockpiling single stream recycling. Making it seem that we have no place to put it. Making it seem that there is an emergency happening here in Ulster County, and it’s just not true. 

And yes, we all recognize that the market is changing, and that we have a huge issue that we all have to tackle together. But again, I don’t believe it needs to be done in six months. I don’t believe it needs to be done like this.  I encourage all of you to consider that when you’re deciding on how the board is voting on these next two resolutions. And so with that said, I just want to say thank you again for letting me speak this evening.”

PUBLIC HEARING ON THURSDAY 6/14. Request Agency Postpone Vote on Increase in Single-Stream Tipping Fees.

CITIZEN REQUEST.  Please request that the UCRRA board postpone its vote on Resolution No. 2446 that proposes a single-stream recycling fee increase (intended to begin on July 1st) to allow time for discussion, to budget appropriately and consider alternative options.

You can also call your City of Kingston Ulster County Legislator representatives to request that the county reinstate the Recycling Oversight Committee:

City of Kingston District 5, Lynn Eckert 
845/392-3205
lynn.Eckert@co.ulster.ny.us

City of Kingston District 6,  David Donaldson
845/399-8709
dbdonaldso@yahoo.com

City of Kingston District 7, Brian Woltman
845/331-2202
brian.woltman@co.ulster.ny.us

On Thursday, June 14th at 5:00 pm,  the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (UCRRA) will host a public hearing at the Ulster County Legislative Chambers located at 244 Fair Street, 6th floor (VIEW our Facebook Event) on the following resolutions:

Resolution No. 2445 states that UCRRA will no longer accept single-stream recyclables effective at the close of business December 31, 2018.

Resolution No. 2446 authorizes and approves the modification of the 2018 Tipping Fees and other Charges, to take effect July 1, 2018.

The event will be followed by UCRRA’s regular board meeting to vote on the proposed changes less than two weeks from their public hearing on Wednesday, June 27th at 12:00 pm at their offices located at 999 Flatbush Road in Kingston (VIEW our Facebook Event).

According to Resolution No. 2446, “…the Agency hereby approves the modification of the 2018 schedule of the tipping fee and other charges as it relates to single stream recyclables raising the tipping fee for single stream recyclables from $20.00 per ton to an amount set each month by the Executive Director, by calculating the average rate the Agency was charged to remove single stream recyclables in the previous month, plus a $15.00 per ton fee reflecting the Agency’s cost of storing and handling such material….for single stream recyclables will be adjusted the first day of each month commencing July 1, 2018 based on the rate calculated by the Executive Director.

A fluctuating increase in single-stream recycling tipping fees from month to month would make it a real challenge for our community to know what to anticipate. Given Kingston is in the midst of its already adopted 2017/2018 working budget with recycling tipping costs accounted for, how is this change mid-year in the best interest of 24,000 Ulster County residents who will bear the brunt?

“What is the financial impact on the taxpayers of Ulster county?”
– City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble

“We can’t pass laws, there’s no flow control on recycling.  The vast majority doesn’t come to us. The impact on taxpayers, hardly any difference at all.” 
– Timothy Rose,  Executive Director, UCRRA

“Just us.”  
– City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble

From UCRRA’s Informational Meeting, May 2018 VIEW
Mayor Steve Noble’s Quote begins at 34:23

How did we get here?  There is still much that is not understood, such as:

1. During UCRRA’s Informational Meeting last month, board members stated that a change in the Single-Stream market was known in or around October of 2017.  In April, an article in the local paper announced UCRRA’s plans to discontinue single stream by 12/31/18 and to also raise rates to take effect on 7/1 until single-stream would conclude at the end of the year. If the Ulster County Legislature has oversight of UCRRA, at what point were they notified of this change?

2. The Ulster County Legislature has a “Recycling Oversight Committee” that is charged to look at the changes in recycling trends and materials for the county has been inactive having  “…only met a few times over the past decade.” according to Manna Jo Greene .  Without it, how has the legislature used its oversight responsibilities to make any recommendations to UCRRA or impacted communities prior to proposed legislation being drafted?

3. Were there any communication made by UCCRA and the UC Legislature to the City of Kingston regarding these proposed changes prior to April, 2018?

There will be many questions posed during the public hearing on Thursday afternoon. The public deserves time for all parties to respond, discuss and deliberate before changes are made to UCRRA’s single-stream system or rate changes are made.  A postponement of Resolution No. 2446 is a reasonable request.

 

VIDEO: Kingston Common Council Sends Streamlining Historic Commissions and Legislation Back to Committee.

Click on image to review the legislation packet from last night’s Council meeting. Scroll down to see Resolution #107 and accompanying legislation.

By Rebecca Martin

In what might might very well be in my top 10 most perplexing processes I’ve witnessed in 12 years at KingstonCitizens.org,  good sense prevailed and Resolution #107 of 2018 “Common Council of the City of Kingston Establishing a Public Hearing Regarding the Possible Merger of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Heritage Area Commission” (with accompanying legislation from 5/16/18 to be sent out to Involved Agencies)   was referred back to the Laws and Rules Committee for proper vetting with a  7 / 2 vote.

In favor: Morrell, Worthington, Carey, Davis, O’Reilly, Schabot, Shaut
Against: Scott-Childress, Koop

The good news is that I think Kingston is venturing into a new kind of conversation to better understand Historic Preservation in Kingston with a secondary goal to identify best practices so to make the review process for development more efficient.

Thanks to council members for a thoughtful and robust debate.

It’s also a moment for the executive branch to contemplate better boundaries for its corporation counsel.  I hope that the Kingston Common Council will also consider advocating for a budget line to provide its own council on retainer for second opinions. With a new budget cycle coming up, it’s the perfect time to be putting that forward. I think the public might readily support that this year given this flub. The council should have staff, too. What happened to the council clerk position that began last summer and ended in the fall?

A refreshed value may be placed on the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC), with the council allocating a council liaison and/or, assigning the HLPC to a council committee (perhaps Laws and Rules) for an ongoing dialogue to allow relationships to be built and for council members to have the opportunity to get to know Historic Preservation items and issues in real time, as well as to come to a new appreciation of the work that our commission is doing on Kingston’s behalf. That seems entirely possible to me now.

Below is video from the recent council caucus and meeting with excerpts. Thanks to my partner Clark Richters of the Kingston News for his great work in recording video for this, and all of the meetings that we cover. I couldn’t do it without him.

City of Kingston 
Common Council Caucus
6/4/18

Click on image to review video from Kingston’s Common Caucus, 6/4/18.

21:20- End

Andrea Shaut, Ward 9 Alderwoman 

“It’s been presented, but there hasn’t been any formal discussion about it. I think that we as a committee need to answer questions and we’ll have a stronger document to send out to a public hearing….if we go to the public hearing in June, we make no amendments, which means we’re not actually listening to the public we’re just passing it through, we have a first reading and second reading. That gets us to August and means we are all content with everything…I don’t think any of you are perfectly content with how it is now. We’re not going to get this done by August (as per Corporation Council’s suggestion)…if we pass it on now, then the public has to do the legwork and I think that’s our job.”

 

City of Kingston
Kingston Common Council Meeting
6/5/18

PART I

Click on image to review Part 1 of Video from Kingston’s Common Meeting, 6/5/18.


11:52 – 16:11.  Lowell Thing former member, Historic Preservation Landmarks Commission (HLPC)

“There’s only one way to keep the historic  architecture that you have for the basis of Kingston’s future, and that is to take actions to preserve it by making a strong commitment to support the city’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission.  Unfortunately, a revision of the city’s landmarks law has been proposed that did not involve the people most likely to be understand the process of the two commissions that are supposed to be combined, or the insight of the state agencies…the proposed revision undermines the purpose of the preservation landmarks review…”

 16:20 – 23:40,  Rebecca Martin,  KingstonCitizens.org

“There hasn’t been any request made to the Planning Department to provide a map matrix of the current city process for projects both in and outside of historic districts. Without that, there is no way to know whether or not streamlining the HLPC and HAC is the best solution for efficiency or, whether changing the steps in the sequence or a coordinated review is our best foot forward.”

23:46 – 31:04. Owen Harvey

“If timing is no longer an issue, then the legislation should be sent back to  committee for proper vetting before it’s sent out to the public and involved agencies.  The public hearing is being framed as being about ‘just getting additional information’, but the public needs to trust that the council has done its work in assuring that the legislation has been carefully considered. The Laws and Rules committee has admitted that they have not had the chance to do that because of a false claim of urgency that was presented by Kingston’s Corporation Council at the Laws and Rules committee meeting last month (NOTE: see below)…and that there were issues related to timing that his “office is not comfortable talking about in a public session.”  If the council doesn’t know what he was referring to, then it would behoove you not to approve Resolution #107…and if you do know what the Assistant Corporation Council was referring to and it relates to my article 78 petition around the HLPC’s appeals process, then voting in favor of the resolution is allowing Corporation Council an abuse of power to use this council to change a law that could impact the outcome of pending litigation. What concerns me is that the proposed legislation actually changes the current HLPC appeals process and creates a different appeals process for the new commission.” 

31:23 – 32:00   Giovanna Righini, Vice Chair of the CoK’s Heritage Area Commission

“The legislation should be sent back for further review and vetting in order to assure that we don’t lose valuable checks and balances in protecting our architectural heritage.”

32:02 – 34:08  Marissa Marvelli, Vice Chair, CoK’s HLPC

“We are eager to work with the Laws and Rules committee to draft legislation that improves the review process and improves the language and the clarity of the legislation. We’ve been speaking with the Mayor at our own public meetings before this legislation came out, and it was my understanding we would have that opporutnity….this legislation came out of left field and we’ve been working in overdrive to get information to the Laws and Rules committee that we felt they needed to consider when looking at this legislation. It goes beyond just merging two commissions. I think the corporation council office tinkered with other parts of the ordinance while the hood was up. That’s not how legislation should be crafted in our community….I urge the council to send this back to Laws and Rules for further development with the people who live and breathe this stuff.”

34:16 – 42:00  Leslie Melvin, Member, HLPC

“I thought I understood the intent behind combining commissions, though given the variety and types of responsibilities of them including the Coastal Consistency Review, Overlying District Design and Historic Preservation Ordinances, I’m not so certain it’s feasible.  Many of my colleagues across both commissions feel the same. Just ask us.  Noone’s really asked us. What we keep hearing feels true. This could work, but the Devil is in the details. I’m troubled by this process, we’re told to change quick…there will be time to improve the Preservation code in the future.  But I’m not sure it’s that easy…triage to unclear and fragmented Preservation code will only result in slightly more clear and still fragmented Preservation code. To be certain, fast tracking piecemeal Preservation code only serves short-term goals. How often have you heard – if you’d going to do it, do it right?  We have an opportunity to be really thoughtful.”

42:07 – 45:25   Ellen DiFalco

“Much to my dismay, I have attempted to review why time is of the essence to streamline the process for applicants appearing before these commissions…there are many concerns and red flags that have popped up for the inquiring public to question…I ask that you gather as much information as you can and then present it to the public for review and comments.” 

45:34 – 50:03.  Jennifer Berky, former member of the HLPC

“…What makes a good law? We consider all the factors that shape the physical economic and social features of our built environment. I have never seen such a significant decision that could affect land use in one of the States most valuable resources move so quickly to a public hearing.  When we look at model law as best practices and consider economic impacts, we consult broadly with leaders in our field. We also meet with many community stakeholders prior to public hearings about local laws.”

50:15 – 54:35  Lynn Woods

“As one of the partners who made the documentary film ‘The Lost Rondout’, a story of urban removal, I learned of the misguided polices of the 1960’s that led to the destruction of most of Kingston’s commercial downtown and also how it was Preservation that halted the destruction by creating the Rondout Historic District and subsequently the three other historic districts, City Hall, and other buildings slated for destruction…the importance of holding and strengthening our Historic Preservation laws can not be overstated. Unfortunately, the proposed legislation written by Kingston’s Corporation Counsel to merge commissions does the opposite.”

54:52 – End   Tanya Garment

“(Ward 3 Alderman and Majority Leader) Rennie Scott Childress was talking last night (in caucus) about having the opportunity to hear as much public feedback and not just the experts as possible, and we should do it in a two-part way…in a public hearing and also sending it out to the Involved Agencies separately. We should not send it out to the Involved Agencies because there are parts left out of the legislation (it is incomplete). If it goes out tonight, it will go to Involved Agencies and you’ll lose your chance for the important missing parts that are not included here to give feedback later on.”  (NOTE: Involved Agencies look at legislation during a public hearing for a local law only one time).

PART II

Click on image to review Part 2 of Video from Kingston’s Common Meeting, 6/5/18.

Resolution #107 of 2018:  Common Council of the City of Kingston Establishing a Public Hearing Regarding the Possible Merger of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Heritage Area Commission (with accompanying legislation from 5/16/18 to be sent out to Involved Agencies)

7:43 – 26:18  Vote to refer back  streamline commissions legislation and  to committee adopted 7 / 2.

In favor: Morrell, Worthington, Carey, Davis, O’Reilly, Schabot, Shaut
Against: Scott-Childress, Koop

Ward 9 Andrea Shaut makes a motion.
“I believe we do not have a piece of legislation before us that the council stands behind, as we have not had enough time. This is also true fo rate L/R committee. We have heard from experts and have reached out to us who want to voice in here.I appreciate Alderman who want a public hearing to learn more. But to send it back to committee, we do not lost the public hearing.  We gain time to hear from experts, and to make sure this is what we want to send out to the public that we can stand behind this. I’d like to request to send this back to committee.

Seconded by Ward 1 Alderman Jeffrey Morell.

9:06  – 10:33  Ward 5 Alderman Bill Carey
Send back to Committee

10:36 – 13:35  Ward 3 Alderman and Majority Leader Rennie Scott Childress
In favor of public hearing

13:37 – 16:51  Ward 6 Alderman Tony Davis
Send back to Committee

16:54 – 17:56  Ward 4 Alderwoman RIta Worthington
Send back to Committee

17:58 – 19:58  Ward 2 Alderman Doug Koop
In favor of public hearing

20:05 -22:02  Ward 8 Alderman Steve Schabot
Send back to committee

22:03 – 22:37  Ward 7 Alderman Patrick O’Reillly
Send back to committee

22:38 – 23:28  Ward 1 Alderman Jeffrey Morrell
Send back to committee

Ward 9 Alderwoman Andrea Shaut
Send back to committee

 

Additional Reading/Viewing

  1. VIDEO: The Common Council Laws and Rules Committee Meeting from 5/16/18 regarding streamlining commissions and legislation. (starts at 1:28 and I encourage you to watch the whole discussion to witness the breadth, in my opinion, of the council being misled as it turns out.  The pivotal moment in the conversation for a swift local law process can be viewed at 40:44 – 42:32.  A transcription of the meeting can be downloaded  HERE.
  2. “The Proposed Legislation to Merge Kingston’s Historic Commissions is not Ready for a Public Hearing.”  VIEW
  3. VIDEO: “Historic Preservation in the City of Kingston: Re-thinking the Review Process”

 

The Proposed Legislation to Merge Kingston’s Historic Commissions is not Ready for a Public Hearing.

“So what does it matter, one historic window? Beyond being the physical evidence of history, all these details contribute to the greater ensemble of a historic neighborhood—its spatial structure, continuity, texture and depth—the general feeling that orientates us in time and place. That sense of place is what drew many of us here; it’s what inspires artists and entrepreneurs; and what drives important economic engines for the city—the specialized building trades and tourism. Historic buildings are often at the heart of our most exciting development projects and the backdrop of our annual community events—the chronogram block party, the Artists’ Soapbox Derby, the O+ Festival, the Burning of Kingston. Our historic fabric should be treated as a precious resource like water and air. It’s not renewable. Buildings don’t preserve themselves.   – Marissa Marvelli, Vice Chair, CoK HLPC

CITIZEN REQUEST

Please plan to attend the next Kingston Common Council meeting on Tuesday, June 5th at 7:30pm, where the council will vote on a resolution that would send the proposed legislation for a possible merger of Kingston’s historic commissions to involved agencies for comment that include the Ulster County Planning Department, Kingston Planning Board, Town of Ulster, NYS SHPO, Town of Esopus, Rhinebeck and Red Hook.  Request that Kingston’s Common Council deny the resolution and instead, send the proposed legislation back to the Laws and Rules committee for further study and development with members of the Heritage Area Commission, Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission and Kingston Common Council members.

VIEW our facebook event

By Rebecca Martin 

The current legislation to merge the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC) and the Heritage Area Commission (HAC) is not ready for public comment. Something stinks about this process, and I can’t tell you why.

Recently, legislation appeared at the Kingston Common Council’s Laws and Rules Committee brought forward by Kingston’s Corporation Council to “streamline” or merge Kingston’s HAC and HLPC commissions. This month, and only two days after KingstonCitizens.org hosted a well attended educational forum on ‘Rethinking Historic Preservation” in the city of Kingston, the controversial legislation passed through committee unanimously to the floor, where a public hearing has been scheduled. Not because a public hearing was the correct next step, but mainly because I think the council members didn’t understand the weight of a public hearing at this time given the way this legislation was framed or explained.  This is all so complicated, so we appreciate you following along and connecting the dots.

A Brief History

For years, there have been conversations that seem to have come from the Kingston Planning Department, about developers trying to move projects through the city’s process with projects in historic districts getting help up in the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission domain.  Instead of looking at the sequence of these steps in what is called a coordinated review, some in the city believe that “merging historic commissions” was the best way in making the process for a development in historic landmark areas more ‘streamlined.”

The Local Law Process.

The city seems on a tear to want to pass this merger through whether or not preservation professionals have had the opportunity to participate.  At the May 2018 Laws and Rules Committee meeting, Kingston’s Corporation Council Dan Gartenstein laid out a timeline, recommending that the council hold a public hearing followed by two readings before a vote August to meet the City of Kingston’s budget cycle in September. When merged, the commission would be overseen by the planning department who could carve out a budget line in next years budget for funds in order for additional preservation work, such as identifying new historic districts or saving historic homes. When challenged to make the public hearing later in the summer, he stated that there was litigation in the wings that made the merger timely.

For the record, the HLPC is not concerned about a budget line at this time. The commission only wishes to make sure that their current ordinance is clear.

According to the Department of State’s document VIEW  “Adopting Local Laws in NYS” on page 14 under ‘Public Hearings’ in Step III, that the ‘law is presented to the municipal governing body and introduced by one of its members” and not the corporation council as has been done.  What is Kingston’s corporation doing introducing new legislation and then, placing pressure on council members to do so with speed?

Kingston’s Comprehensive Plan (CP) and Zoning and Historics.

The streamlining of commissions had come up as an item to place in Kingston’s new CP, but in 2015 – those who were concerned brought in State professionals from both SHPO and the Preservation League on the matter that led to it being retracted in the final document.  VIEW Daniel McKay’s Testimony.

Kingston City Planner Suzanne Cahill said to council members that the final CP had a goal to streamline commissions, it did not. However, it turned up again in the CP Zoning recommendations somehow.

On Gentrification. 

During the educational forum, the Mayor asked, “As properties are identified as landmarks, to bring them up to the standards to today’s Historic Preservation requirements can be expensive. In Kingston, people with money buying these historic houses raise the property values tremendously.  Because we have a housing stock of historic house, how do we provide access for all of those moderate/ low-income individuals? It’s a struggle that we have and may lead to gentrification if only some kinds of people can afford these houses.”

Erin Tobin, Vice President for Policy and Preservation, Preservation League of NY, said in response, “In many communities, there are vacant buildings and no one investing in them. Any investment requires the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and the Historic Preservation Tax Credit. You might contrast that with the only other analogy in NYS would be Brooklyn or NYC, where people are moving into neighborhoods that have lower property values and raising them. I don’t know if that’s Historic preservations fault, necessarily….one can have flexibility in approach….you can find ways to make that more affordable. I can’t underscore the importance of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit that we have in NYS….for people investing in historic homes. It is a rebate, at or below $60k that provides initial money in.  Communities can strategize to find ways to turn it into a loan, so the homeowner doesn’t have to put that money up front, or most of it…there are land banks doing that…I can’t say that I’ve seen a big issue with preservation causing gentrification. If anything, I’m seeing that in areas where there are preservation standards investors are using the low-income housing credit as a tool to use as an incentive.”

But it came up again in May’s Laws and Rules Committee meeting, where Majority Leader Rennie Scott Childress said, “…This is something that’s about rich people. And so we have to be very careful because we want to protect our historic heritage, but we also want to make sure that it’s not something that begins to price people out of living in Kingston. And so that’s something for us to keep in mind.”

You can watch the video where Erin Tobin dispelled this concern.   VIEW starts 27:31

“I believe justification does exist to maintain both the Heritage Area Commission and a Historic Landmarks Commission. I think an approach to look at is a coordinated review process which may include one application which would be reviewed by both Commissions collaboratively.” VIEW

In comments made by current City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble before he was Mayor portrays exactly what preservationists and citizen advocates are requesting.  What happened to Mayor Noble’s stance?

What’s at stake?

The Mayor believes that merging commissions without any substantive discussion about how the new combined commission will function and how the regulatory review process will change as a result (and that our state-level support will not be impeded) is not necessary to make clear beforehand. What is meant to be a marriage is more like a shotgun wedding.

Furthermore, the current legislation presented by Kingston’s Corporation Council has potential flaws, working with Kingston’s existing preservation ordinance that is based in part on a previous preservation model law that is 30 years old. It has been changed several times, to make that ordinance more murky  Because of which, the HLPC has taken up the preservation model law that is more up to date created in 2014, that provides NYS standards meant to help in providing good framework.

Streamlining isn’t yet consensual. If done at all, here are some of the real concerns:

1. Valuable state-level support in the way of training and grant opportunities may be in jeopardy if this new arrangement violates the terms of an agreement between CofK and NYS.

2. The proposed legislation goes beyond its stated intent to combine two commissions. Buried in the text are small but significant tweaks to the existing procedures of the HLPC, which prior to now have not been discussed or studied.

3. The proposed legislation misses a key opportunity to incorporate the 2014 Model Preservation Law, which offers clearer language and procedures.

4. The public is in the dark about the motivation for the accelerated timetable for this merging. At a recent Laws & Rules Committee meeting when asked what the hurry was, the deputy corporation counsel stated that there were other factors at play that he did not want to share in a public meeting.

VIDEO: UCRRA Host Informational Meeting on Single-Stream Recycling Rate Hikes and Discontinuation of Program.

CITIZEN REQUEST

Plan to attend the upcoming public hearing on June 14th at the Ulster County Legisaltive Chambers at 5pm to speak to UCRRA’s proposed plan to discontinue single-stream recycling (in 2019) and to raise rates in the meantime (effective July 1st, 2018) as well as to click on the following EMAIL hyperlink to send the following request to members of the Ulster County Legislature, UCRRA Executive Director and City of Kingston Mayor.

    1. Request that UCRRA research regional collection sites single-stream recycling and provide a report to the public on its findings“It would be helpful to put some real numbers together…what Mayor Noble asked you was, you stated what we’re making but it would be valuable to know the nearest single stream Material Recovery Facility (MRF) that are investing in the equipment and labor, to do a cost comparative” – Ulster County Legislator Manna Jo Greene
    2. Request that the Ulster County Legislature reconvene the Recycling Oversight Committee in 2018.“I want to make a recommendation that we consider reconvening an existing body which is called the Recycling Oversight Committee that the Legislature created to see which new materials we could add as mandatory recyclables. We’ve met a few times over the past decade…we’re now at a point where the markets are difficult, there is an international component. Because the Recycling Committee was so inclusive with citizens, environmental groups and the City of Kingston,  we should seriously consider doing a consensus building process for the long run.  I want to find a mechanism to work together.”
       – Ulster County Legislator Manna Jo Greene
    3. Request that the Ulster County Legislature and UCRRA finish what is currently a “draft” Solid Waste Management Plan from 2011 to take a countywide, holistic approach.  (The last ‘final’ solid waste management plan was completed in 1991.)“The point of the agency is to manage the county’s waste stream. With the Ulster County recycling law it tells the agency that it’s your responsible to manage recycling in the county….a prerogative of the agency, and the agency has invested alot of resources over the years. Recycling has changed, but the agency has not (to meet those changes). This is a countywide issue. How many county residents out of 180,000 people do single stream recycling?  My guess is a large majority of the county are served by single-stream. Transfer stations are a smaller number than they were 30 years ago. The question is, how do we look at solid waste going forward? Do we have a county plan?”  
      – City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble
    4. The Agency postpone its vote on the proposed fee increases and not consider a fee increase to go into effect until January 1, 2019, to allow participating municipalities time to budget appropriately or consider alternative options.“It took (the City of Kingston) 4 years to implement single-stream recycling in the city. We just finished this year, and there are still business districts that don’t have their totes. To get them back to this new way, with three bins that doesn’t include composting which would make it four bins. How do we do that by January, 2019?”
      – City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble
    5. Request that the Ulster County Legislature Energy and Environment Committee take up the issue of flow control over recycling by asking for the authority from the state.“It’s a state law in your enabling legislation. If we can get the state to amend it, the county should have a plan for recycling so that we can be in charge of our own destiny.”
      – City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble.

 

By Rebecca Martin

On Thursday, May 23rd, the Ulster County Recovery Resource Agency (UCRRA) held an informational meeting on the current climate of single-stream recycling,  it’s plan to raise rates as of July 1, 2019, and to discontinusingle-stream recycling as of January 1st, 2019.

What is UCRRA?

According to their website, “In 1986, the Ulster County Legislature obtained authorization from the State Legislature for the creation of the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (the “Agency”), a public benefit corporation which was formed for the purpose of developing, financing, and implementing a comprehensive Countywide solid waste management program. In the mid-1980’s, after new initiatives to close non-complying exiting landfills were undertaken by the NYSDEC and strict requirements for the siting, construction, and operation of new disposal facilities were enacted, many communities found it beyond their financial and managerial capability to continue to dispose of waste in traditional ways. Consequently, many of the local municipalities in Ulster County requested that the Ulster County government assume the responsibility for solid waste management, and the Agency was created by the New York State Legislature pursuant to Chapter 936 of the Public Authorities Law approved December of 1986. The Agency’s organizational structure consists of a five-member Board of Directors; an Executive Director; Agency Counsel; and thirty administrative and operations personnel.”

UCRRA Proposes to Raise Rates and Discontinue Single Stream Recycling.

According to a chart presented during the meeting, UCRRA became aware of a changing Chinese market for single stream recycled materials in October of 2017.  As I understand it, although potential rate hikes had been discussed at around this time between UCRRA Executive Director Timothy Rose and City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble, the decision for the county authority to discontinue single-stream recycling was learned from in a newspaper article released only one month ago.

 

VIDEO #1: Click on Image to View

1:01 – 16:19:   David Gordan, UCRRA Vice Chair
Presentation

Currently, the City of Kingston pays $20 per ton for comingled recycling materials. UCRRA claims that new categories have been formed, where rates will be $56 per ton for a ‘clean load’ (minimum contamination) or $107 per ton for a ‘dirty load’ (maximum contamination).

16:20 – 20:15:   City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble
“We don’t know what companies are selling materials for after the single-stream plant processes it?” 

“We are presuming that the market is functioning honestly.” – David Gordan

“The Chinese market has decided to not accept our contaminated materials any longer.”   – Tim Rose, Executive Director, UCRRA

“When we talk numbers, I was wondering if your $400 a ton included the cost to the agency to get that amount…I don’t think that’s included. ” – CoK Mayor Steve Noble

22:51 – 25:51: UC Legislator David Donaldson, City of Kingston
“The plastic doesn’t get contaminated in single-stream…you still will receive money for plastic and cans.”

“Material Recovery Facility’s (MRF) are extremely expensive to operate. You are looking at labor costs, electrical costs.”    Description of an MRF is here: 24:10 – 25:05. 

“Plastic bags are a big issue.” (25:08 – 25:30)

25:52 – 28:47:  UC Legislator Manna Jo Green
“It would be helpful to put some real numbers together…what Mayor Noble asked you was, you stated what we’re making but it would be valuable to know the nearest single stream MRF that are investing in the equipment and labor, to do a cost comparative…I want to make a recommendation that we consider reconvening an existing body which is called the Recycling Oversight Committee that the Legislature created to see which new materials we could add as mandatory recyclables. We’ve met a few times over the past decade…we’re now at a point where the markets are difficult, there is an international component. Because the Recycling Committee was so inclusive with citizens, environmental groups and the City of Kingston,  we should seriously consider doing a consensus building process for the long run.  I want to find a mechanism to work together.”

38:12 – 38:44:  Charlie Landi, UCRRA Treasurer
“When the RRA first came to being, its losses were subsidized by the county through a net service fee. If the county wants to go back to that, we can work with that.”

46:25 – 48:46: Citizen
“Over the past 6 months when you’ve seen the direction we were going, dramatic change in where the ss is going, has that influenced private haulers?  Can you stop taking it from private haulers?”

“We can’t take any more single stream materials then we are taking. I am maxed out.” – Tim Rose, ED UCRRA

“Can you stop taking it from the haulers? – Citizen

“That’s what we’re discussing tonight. We are an authority, we can’t discriminate. We are talking about not taking it at all.” – Tim Rose

49:07 – 49:39: Introducing the UCRRA Board

29:48 – 54:39: UC Legislator Manna Jo Greene
“What are the options for the City of Kingston and haulers who are collecting single stream now?”

“(The SS recycling facilities) are limiting us to 2-3 trucks a day, 4 days a week. On Wednesday, it is only 2 trucks a day. We had to beg with them today, because we had 3 truck loads. I had no place to put it.” – Tim Rose, ED UCRRA

“Options for the CoK could be a couple of things. We could collect one type material one day then another on another day. There is 0 tipping fees for dual recycled materials.  Or you they can load it themselves and deliver it to a single stream facility.” – Tim Rose, ED UCRRA

 

VIDEO #2: Click on Image to View

00:00 – 2:25:  City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble
“The point of the agency is to manage the county’s waste stream. With the Ulster County recycling law it tells the agency that it’s your responsible to manage recycling in the county….a prerogative of the agency, and the agency has invested alot of resources over the years. Recycling has changed, but the agency has not (to meet those changes). This is a countywide issue. How many county residents out of 180,000 people do single stream recycling?  My guess is a large majority of the county are served by single stream. Transfer stations are a smaller number than they were 30 years ago. The question is, how do we look at solid waste going forward? Do we have a county plan?”

2:26 – 3:12:  On the Flow Control Law, CoK Mayor Steve Noble
“I do want to make a point of clarification on net service fees. I indicted that the county took on a $2 million dollar burden before flow control took it back. That $2 million was placed on the backs of the residents of the city and towns that pay the tipping fees.  We went from $70 to $103 per ton.  The amount really just moved from the county as a whole to the city residents when flow control occurred. “

3:13 – 7:33:  Charles Landi, UCRRA Board Member
“There is another shortcoming of our flow control law, three years ago when it passed here – recycling was left out of it. We have no control over recycling. If we’re ever going to get the MRF running, we would need that flow. We need an amendment to our flow control law to include recycling.”

“It’s a state law in your enabling legislation. If we can get the state to amend it, the county should have a plan for recycling so that we can be in charge of our own destiny.” – CoK Mayor Steve Noble.

“Another option you have, talking to your engineering department, you have a transfer station that has a footprint of 8 acres which means that you have room to store single stream recycling.” – Charles Landi

“The point I believe of UCRRA is to have a coordinated countywide approach. The reason the agency came into existance was so that individual towns in the coutny wouldn’t be in charge of managing their own solid waste or recycling…with a proposal to stop accepting single stream and for the City to deal with it themselves and work with the same vendors that the coutny is working with, is again starting to shift their responsibility of countywide solid waste management to individual towns and communities. That’s a large policy shift, and the residents of the county should have a more robust dialogue…..my transfer station is only open 1 1/2 days a week and we only have one way master. We are only talking about 2,000 tons of single stream recycling per year. That’s 30 tons a week. We have 8,000 tons of trash. The cost of managing 2,000 tons a year of single-stream, there is an efficiency of scale…if we stopped bringing single stream to you all, I don’t think you’d be laying off employees.  It fits into the work load of the agency. it would just be passing that cost on to the city. Some of tipping fee ($103 per ton) goes to the agency operation.  We help pay for overhead, the MRF, any other activities.  We are already contributing as well as paying the $20 a ton.” – City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble.

11:07 – 15:40: Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley
“It was suggested at the end of June you were going to cease (taking SS recycling) There were some timelines thrown out, price changes, then the goal of stopping accepting single stream recycling. The ToU has to make a decision, so can you lay out a time line for what you may be visioning as to when you are going to make a decision about what you are going to do?”

“In an April resolution, we discussed hiking prices to $40 per ton, and to eliminate single stream as of January 1st….what we are now looking at now our regular meeting on May 30 is to settle on two resolutions: a price change and one considering ending single-stream recycling on January 1, 2019.  If we do a price change, it will take effect on July 1, 2018 – but that hasn’t been decided yet. It will be decided after we put it up for public consideration in a public hearing on June 14th.  The Board will vote on both resolutions on June 27th at 5pm.” – David Gordan

“The City of Kingston, Town of Ulster and Town of Saugerties equals approximately 35 – 40% of recycling. The balance is from private haulers, not including Waste Management and County Waste. Welsh is about 45%. The City of Kingston about 35%. The rest is the Town of Ulster and Saugerties.”

“The Town of Ulster is proposing to move from single-stream?” – David Gordan

“I’m not proposing anything, I’m considering. Big difference.” – Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley

16:25 – 21:18:  Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley
“What’s the probability of a tipping fee increase for next year?”

“Our five-year contract with Senaca falls is up in a year…landfills are closing around the state, so I’m nervous about what will happen next year that will take effect as of January 1, 2020.  We’ve done our due diligence. I’ve known this was coming down the pike, and we’ve been saving for this time.  Agency is planning to operate with a deficit to move things up incrementally.  The good news is that we’ll keep the tipping fee the same for another year….though the  landfill may be at capacity at 2025.

21:26 -25:30: City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble
“Dual stream materials are sorted, in the end you end up with some materials you shouldn’t have to begin with. With the amount of single stream brought to you, is your line not able to process cans, bottles and glass and in the end, have a heaping pile of paper? If you are already sorting out trash in the line, what’s the difference in sorting paper our of the line, too?”

“With dual stream there is little garbage, I usually need only one guy.” – Tim Rose, ED UCRRA

25:31 – 34:22:  Emilie Hauser
“What has the DEC done or what do you have to do to.keep with your permit, how much recycling can you store?”

“There is a certain amount that we can take, 80 tons a day, 400 tons stored. We’ll store bales of material when the market is low, and watch the market to decide the best time to sell. The market can be low enough when we hold onto materials. If we don’t accept single stream, it will be a benefit for us, as we’ll have more space. We can store when times are bad, and sell when sales are high. This can help to keep the tipping fees low.” – Tim Rose, ED UCRRA.

34:23 – 37:58:  City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble
“What is the financial impact on the taxpayers of Ulster county?”

“We can’t pass laws, there’s no flow control on recycling.  The vast majority doesn’t come to us. The impact on taxpayers, hardly any difference at all.” – Tim Rose, ED UCRRA

“Just us.”  – City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble

“When we do something fiscally responsible for us, it’s fiscally responsible for the county as a whole. If a municipality (like the city of Kingston) has chosen to invest in this way (single-stream), they may have problems. The real question is do we take those problems off of your hands?” – David Gordan

37:59 – 41:35: UC Legislator Tracey Bartels
“I agree with the Mayor that we have to take up the issue of flow control over recycling and ask for the authority from the state, we know it’s a problem going forward. As these markets dry up, we have two big haulers that are taking their single-stream out of the county because we don’t have flow control. I want to raise the concern that the agency exercise its responsibility of enforcement that that material is actually being recycled. If materials are leaving the county and going into the system and it becomes cheaper to go into their waste stream somewhere else, that would be against our county law…right now we have thousands of tons leaving the county saying ‘yes, we’re recycling’ but not a confirmation from the agency.  The city of Kingston is at a disadvantage because there is nowhere to hide…we want to make sure these private companies are actually recycling these materials.”

41:36 – 46:01: COK Resident
“How difficult would it be for the CoK to go back to dual stream recycling and also, did the state encourage SS recycling, or was it because it was easier to obtain it?”

“Currently over the past 5 years, we have purchased 96 gallon totes for everyone in the city to place single-stream recycling in that tote. At that time our recycling went up 30%. Prior to that, the agency stopped providing recycling containers. There wasn’t a coordinated recycling effort in the city.  We spent 1/2 million +.  The bins are picked up every two weeks. Trash pick-up every week. Yard waste on the off week. 35 members (of the DPW) to do that work. With a dual-stream system, there will be another set of bins (three large bins in total) that would require another weekly pick-up. We don’t necessarily feel that is something we can afford to do, nor do we have the manpower. Why did we get into this? For one, over the last 20 years, single-stream recycling has been in the market. We were the last community to go towards single stream recycling. When the agency accepted it, we said why can’t we do it too, and the agency said ”you can” and we launched our program. ” – City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble

46:02 -48:09: CoK Resident
“We either have to go to dual stream, or find a market for SS. Seems like the Agency has decided that they are not going to accept it. Am I right about that?”

“We are listening to everyone. The problem is the Chinese market has decided not to accept it.” – Dave Gordan

48:16 – 58:00: CoK Resident
“I wanted to understand whether the Chinese market has absolution stopped taking it, or is it that they are being more selective?  What do they do with the materials? Are they just putting it in their landfills? If that’s the case, that’s really expensive garbage.”

“…the Chinese market now has 24 categories of things that they will not accept, and among them is single-stream…as of January. 1 (2018)” – David Gordan

58:01- 59:50: UC Legislator Manna Jo Greene
“Our Economic Development people have got to start incentivizing here in NY and the US. For us to be dependent on China is foolhardy…I would like for us to find a grant to purchase the extra bins. We have to be solution oriented.”

VIDEO #3: Click on Image to View

00:00 – 1:45:  City of Kingston Mayor Noble
“If the city of Kingston was to go that route, it took us 4 years to implement ss recycling in the city. we just finished this year, and there are still business districts that still don’t have them. To get them back to this new way, with three bins that doesn’t include composting, and makes four bins. How do we do that by January, 2019?” 

 

WHAT TO EXPECT: Single-Stream Informational Meeting hosted by UCRRA

On Wednesday, May 23rd at 5:00pm, the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency will host an informational meeting on Single-Stream recycling at the Ulster County Legislative Chambers, 6th Floor, 244 Fair Street, Kingston, NY.  The meeting will be filmed thanks to The Kingston News (DONATE)

There will be no decisions made tomorrow evening. We encourage the public to take advantage of this opportunity and ask all of the questions that they might have. We’ll be creating a post for the upcoming public hearing on this matter in June with clear recommendations.

VIEW UCRRA’s event page.

According to Executive Director Timothy Rose, the meeting tomorrow will be “an informal, two-way discussion.  A brief PowerPoint will be presented.”

There is no information on who will sit on the panel, or what the overall agenda will be to share here.

KingstonCitizens.org requested that the Mayor of Kingston be included on the panel and we appreciate the public making that request. According to Rose, he says that ” I haven’t heard from Mayor Noble so I don’t know if he wants to be part of the discussion or if he will attend.”

The Mayor of Kingston plans to be in attendance.

In this week’s City of Kingston newsletter, Mayor Noble says, “As many of you are aware, the Ulster County Resource and Recovery Agency (UCRRA) has made reference to proposals that, if approved, will significantly impact our community. In addition to the Agency’s proposal to double recycling fees mid-year, the Agency is considering discontinuing its acceptance of Single Stream Recycling…I will be attending both of these meetings and strongly encourage all of you to consider attending as well.

As part of this process, I recently attended a meeting of the Ulster County Legislature’s Energy and Environment Committee to voice my concerns about these proposals. You can listen to the entire meeting…

HERE 

…and can listen specifically to my comments at approximately the 1 hour and 22 minute mark. As you will hear, the issue is much larger than whether we have single stream or dual stream recycling- we are on the brink of an international environmental crisis. While Single Stream Recycling may be the focus today, the fact is that no matter how recycling is collected, there are fewer places for the recycled materials to go at the moment. Whereas recycled materials used to be a valuable commodity, the market has shifted, at least temporarily. Two years ago when UCRRA was collecting increased revenue from recycled materials, discontinuing Single Stream Recycling was not up for discussion.  I firmly believe that recycling policy should not be dictated solely by market conditions. It is time for  the Ulster County Legislature to institute flow control for recyclables, call for the review, update and approval of the long-awaited Solid Waste Management Plan for Ulster County, and reestablish the Recycling Oversight Committee of the Legislature.

With all that said, we have work to do locally. Our recycling compliance over the past few months has declined, leading to more recyclables ending up in the trash stream (with taxpayers ultimately paying a higher rate because of it!) and warnings and fines being issued to property owners. This needs to change. Over the next few weeks, my staff will be working to ensure that every person in the City of Kingston knows how to effectively recycle. We will do this through education and, as necessary, enforcement. Prior to any property owner being issued a fine, staff issue a written warning with a list of items that are allowed and not allowed in the blue totes. We will also be mailing a bilingual flyer to every property in Kingston to remind us all what can and cannot go into the blue totes. I need your help. Have no doubt, I will continue to fight to maintain our Single Stream Recycling service. However, I need residents to use our recycling system appropriately, review the information we provide, and ask questions if anything is unclear.”

READ: “Request that UCRRA Postpone Their Decision to Discontinue Single Stream Recycling”

VIDEO: “Historic Preservation in the City of Kingston: Re-thinking the Review Process”

Last night, approximately 60 people attended the public educational forum “Historic Preservation in the City of Kingston: Re-thinking the Review Process” presented by KingstonCitizens.org in partnership with the City of Kingston and Friends of Historic Kingston. A good mix of the public, elected and appointed officials, City of Kingston staff and not-for-profit organizations were all present. So that more of our community can participate, we had the event filmed thanks to The Kingston News

Based on the information provided last evening, we support Kingston’s council members effort to improve the city’s review procedures for historic resources by collaborating with the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission in crafting the rules for preservation, using the current Preservation Model Law as their guide.   VIEW Preservation Model Law

In addition, rather than merging commissions, we encourage the council to pursue the concept of a ‘coordinated review’ (and seek out models) as well as to map out the current process for projects to contemplate whether or not a different sequence of steps could improve its efficiency.

Kingston’s Common Council Laws and Rules Committee meets next on Wednesday, May 16th at 6:30 pm in Conference Room #1 (top floor) at Kingston City Hall located at 420 Broadway in Kingston.

Committee meetings are the council’s monthly ‘business meetings’. Although the public is always invited to attend, public comment isn’t always available. If you’d like to be placed on the agenda, you can reach out to the council committee board chair in advance to make that request.

To submit comments and/or suggestions regarding the current legislation, please send to Ward 9 Alderwoman Andrea Shaut at:  ward9@kingston-ny.gov

RESOURCES

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit

Historic Preservation Tax Credit

CoK HLPC Comments: Draft Legislation on the Merging of the HLPC and HAC

Preservation Model Law

Draft Legislation to Streamline Historic Commissions (a/o 5/15)

 

VIDEO #1

3:26 – 11:25
Rebecca Martin, KingstonCitizens.org

Introductions

11:33 – 29:53
Mayor Steve Noble
Introducing Draft Legislation to Streamline Historic Commissions

29:55 – 34:53
Marissa Marvelli, Vice Chair, CoK Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC)
VIEW  Powerpoint “Moderating Change”

34:55 – 46:38
Hayes Clement, Chair, Heritage Area Commission
Kevin McEvoy, Secretary, Heritage Area Commission and Member, HLPC
VIEW  “Historic Preservation Timeline for Kingston, NY”

47:19 –  59:50
Linda Mackey, SHPO CLG Rep for Ulster County
VIEW  Powerpoint “NYSHPO, Certified Local Government Program Purpose”

 

VIDEO #2

 

00:00 –  1:30 (Continued)
Linda Mackey, SHPO CLG Rep for Ulster County
VIEW  Powerpoint “NYSHPO, Certified Local Government Program Purpose”

2:00 –  14:09
Erin Tobin, Vice President for Policy and Preservation, Preservation League of NY
VIEW  Model Preservation Law for Municipalities

 

QUESTION/ANSWER PERIOD
(Loosely transcribed)

15:27 – 17:59
Q: “What are the projects on the table right now?”

A: Marissa Marvelli
“No major projects right now.  We do have big projects coming in the future, such as the Kingstonian in Uptown.”

A: Hayes Clement
“Projects that come in front of commissions are ‘run of the mill’ issues.  Heritage Area recently helped with a coordinated SEQR review process (Hutton Brickyard). The HAC is charged to look at any project along the Rondout to meet the criteria of the Waterfront revitalization plan.”

18:00 – 20:11
Q: “Are there advantages to having one or two historic commissions?”

A: Linda Mackey
“As long as the ordinance is clear when a project comes in, and the commissions meet the qualifications for Certified Local Government (CLG). We will work with the City to accomplish that.”

20:12 – 27:30
Q: “With an influx of investors buying up properties fast in Kingston, how can the preservation committees interface with mayor and city council to moderate that about what’s good for Kingston?”

A: Mayor Steve Noble
“We need single family homes, but we need condos and we need to be a city who can do that.  We have 200 vacant buildings in the city literally rotting.  We see people buying those buildings. It’s important to have processes in place….working to assure that as we get some of these vacant buildings back into life again, what is the life that that building turns into? Some of the…codes are in place, and people are starting to come.  What we need to do, we as neighbors, is to educat…we’re creating a Land Bank in the city to get buildings into the hands of stable NFP organizations for affordable home ownership but it’s a community effort. This is one way to solve the problem of people not being displaced.”

A: Erin Tobin
“To give a national perspective, studies have shown that local historic district designation, specifically local historic districts stabilize property values across the board. When you see big rises and dips in the graph, local historic districts stay on a straight line…as it pertains to density and affordable housing, examples such as in NYC, the big new high rises are luxury apartments (and not affordable housing). Historic preservation stabilize property values.”

A: Marissa Marvelli
“Our Midtown study survey to make recommendations for new districts will be done soon. Our program is only as strong as the communities input. Please come to our meetings and bring your ideas.  that’s the nice thing about having a HLPC.  People come to us who don’t know the story of Kingston and we get to have a conversation. “This is why your building is important, and your neighbors.” It happens at landmarks commissions.”

27:31 – 32:43
Q: (Mayor Steve Noble):  “As properties are identified as a landmarks, to bring them up to the standards to today’s Historic Preservation requirements can be expensive. In Kingston, people with money buying these historic houses raise the property values tremendously.  Because we have a housing stock of historic house, how do we provide access for all of those moderate/ low-income individuals? It’s a struggle that we have and may lead to gentrification if only some kinds of people can afford these houses.”

A: Erin Tobin
“In many communities, there are vacant buildings and no one investing in them. Any investment requires the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and the Historic Preservation Tax Credit. You might contrast that with the only other analogy in NYS would be Brooklyn or NYC, where people are moving into neighborhoods that have lower property values and raising them. I don’t know if that’s Historic preservations fault, necessarily….one can have flexibility in approach….you can find ways to make that more affordable. I can’t underscore the importance of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit that we have in NYS….for people investing in historic homes. It is a rebate, at or below $60k that provides initial money in.  Communities can strategize to find ways to turn it into a loan, so the homeowner doesn’t have to put that money up front, or most of it…there are land banks doing that…I can’t say that I’ve seen a big issue with preservation causing gentrification. If anything, I’m seeing that in areas where there are preservation standards investors are using the low-income housing credit as a tool to use as an incentive.”

A: Hayes Clement
“Beyond the Historic Preservation Tax Credits, Kingston has a practice of using ‘partial’ assessments….if a building is brought back.  I don’t think most people know that.”

32:44 – 39:39
Q: “At the may HLPC meeting, it was suggested by the corporation counsel that the proposed legislation could be done in a multi-step process. How has the proposed draft legislation been influenced by the Preservation Model Law and what would be the benefit to the CoK Historic Preservation to have corporation counsel write the legislation rather than adopting model law written by preservationists?”

A: Mayor Noble
” …our law currently is the model law, and we appreciate the Preservation League refreshing the model law.  this discussion is wanting to have a ‘one stop shop’ for our city…my goal with this was to take what’s working now…and help streamline the process. I agree, if there are things to do to strengthen our language it’s something we should look at….the new Preservation Model Law may be a little more specific…we want to make sure we’re not shifting and changing those types of materials and compositions while we’re in the middle of lawsuits…so we have to be careful. What I’m interested in doing is being able to have one heritage/historic board in our community to work with community and the board to ask how can we do it better.”

A: Marissa Marvelli
“Our existing ordinance might have followed the model law template from years prior, but it has been modified numerous times since them….what you see today is inconsistent and the language is not to the standards of current Historic Preservation practices. Our past challenging decisions was due to there being a lack of clarity in our ordinance and procedure.  We met with the Mayor to talk about the goals and progress the commission has been making, and our desire to talk about model law and see how we can use it as a basis of our existing ordinance.  We made it clear at that time that we wanted to be a part of that conversation. When the corporation counsel introduced the amendments, we were a little taken aback because it was our understanding that we would be a part of that process….50 years ago during the creation of the original landmarks law and commission, the effort of drafting that ordinance was a collaboration between the Laws and Rules committee and the landmarks preservation commission. The current amendment didn’t have the Preservation Commission’s input. It was done by the corporation council’s office. We saw (the language) at the same time that the members of the Laws and Rules committee members saw it (in April).”

A: Linda Mackey
“SHPO has (recently) been in discussion with the commission and were made aware of the proposed merging. We are starting those discussions with the Mayor, corporation counsel and commission and sending official comments or big picture comments. Once we have the most up-to-date version of the draft we’ll provide detail comments with that ordinance to keep with model law and make revisions…and working with the city throughout this process. We do want to make sure that while it’s ok to merge the commissions, we don’t want to miss the opportunity to strengthen the law and provide clarity. The law is the road map for the commission, for property owners, it basically explains the process….we want to make sure it’s clear as there can be multiple interpretations and when working with more complicated projects, you want to be sure of that clarity.”

39:40 – 46:29
Q: “It was said that the HLPC jurisdiction is quasi-judicial. What’s the basis of that comment?  Also, for a city the size of Kingston, I would wonder whether it’s worth having input from an outside state agency to influence its local laws?”

A: Marissa Marvelli
“NY is a home rule state, municipalities get to write their own laws based on state standards.”

A: Linda Mackey
“If a municipality is a CLG, it’s the municipalities decision as to how they craft their legislation. If not in keeping with CLG standards, that would be grounds of de-certification because it’s a program that we administor….in working with other municipal boards, we do want to know how things function…we do work with that model law developed by us, Preservation League and Department of State, but it’s up to the municipalities to decide for themselves. We tell them what’s required for the CLG program, but it’s the local municipality that does administer the ordinance.”

A: Erin Tobin
“The CLG program is offered to communities as a benefit.  It’s as though you apply for a grant, and the grant has requirements. because you’re opting into that grant you have to follow the rules. CLG is meant to be a resource, there is no real benefit to the state to have more CLG’s. This is a resource for communities with practices, and municipalities can take what we’ve put together and adopt it for your own needs. It’s a skeleton framework and you to choose within that. If communities choose to participate in the CLG program, they receive the benefits that have been described to you for that program.”

46:30 – 49:12
Q: “I see the land bank as a marvelous opportunity for the community….I am familiar with programs from another state, where they have taken vacant structures, fixed them up, rented them out, taken half of the rent that the new tenants paid, used that as a down payment to bring a neighborhood back to life so it’s affordable to folks in a city like Kingston. Is that one of the programs that the city of Kingston have in mind, and from folks on the state level, have you seen this elsewhere in NYS?

A: Mayor Noble
“We just received state approval as a certified land bank…opening up a  board application process. That board of advisors will help us step up our programs. At this time, everything is on the table. If anyone is interested in being placed on the board, please call my office and I’ll connect you to with Brenna Robinson who will lead our Land Bank effort in the City. We’ve seen it work well in Newburgh…in Syracuse, Albany and other places that are successful and we hope to be too.”

KingstonCitizens.org presents a Public Educational Forum “Historic Preservation in the City of Kingston: Rethinking the Review Process”

Photo courtesy of Friends of Historic Kingston.

KingstonCitizens.org presents the public educational forum “Historic Preservation in the City of Kingston: Rethinking the Review Process” on Monday, May 14th from 6 – 8 pm at Kingston City Hall in partnership with the City of Kingston and Friends of Historic Kingston.  Guest panelists will include the Mayor of Kingston and experts from the Kingston Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission, Heritage Area Commission, New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and Preservation League of New York.

Kingston, NY.  KingstonCitizens.org, in partnership with the City of Kingston and the Friends of Historic Kingston, will host the public educational forum “Historic Preservation in the City of Kingston: Rethinking the Review Process” on Monday, May 14th from 6 – 8 pm at Kingston City Hall, Council Chambers located at 420 Broadway in Kingston.

Panelists will include City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble; Marissa Marvelli, Vice Chair of the City of Kingston Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission; Hayes Clement, Chair and Kevin McEvoy, Secretary of the City of Kingston Heritage Area; Linda Mackey, SHPO CLG (Certifed Local Government) Representative for Ulster County of NYS SHPO; and Erin Tobin, Vice President for Policy and Preservation of the Preservation League of New York.

The group was assembled to share best practices for streamlining Kingston’s Historic Commissions in response to recent legislation introduced to the Kingston Common Council by the Mayor’s office. Streamlining Historic Commissions was a recommendation made by the consultant Shuster and Turner in their document “Comprehensive Amendments to the City of Kingston’s Zoning Law” hired by the City of Kingston in 2013 to lead its first Comprehensive Planning process since 1961.

A public question and answer period will follow the panelist presentations. This event will be filmed by The Kingston News.

“We are pleased to work with our community partners to share best practices in historic preservation and explore the challenges and opportunities ahead as we consider updates to our City commissions,” said Mayor Steve Noble. “It is fitting that this educational forum will be held in one of Kingston’s most notable historic preservation projects- our beautiful City Hall. Its restoration is a testament to Kingston’s ability to work together for the betterment of our community.”“

“Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission was created in 1966 in direct response to the urban renewal-driven destruction of the Rondout.” said Marissa Marvelli, the Vice Chair of Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission, who will also be a panelist on the 14th.  “The drafting of the city’s first preservation laws and amendments was a collaborative effort of preservation-minded citizens and members of the Common Council. Today’s Landmarks Commission continues its original purpose: ‘for the promotion of the educational, cultural, economic, and general welfare of the public through the protection, enhancement, perpetuation, and preservation of Landmarks and Landmarks Districts.’ The effectiveness of the city’s preservation program is dependent on the strength and clarity of its ordinance.”

“There are many pressing issues in the City of Kingston, and assuring the protection of our historic assets is certainly one of them,” says Rebecca Martin, lead organizer and, co-founder of KingstonCitizens.org, who will also moderate the event. “With legislation on the table, creating an opportunity to take an in-depth look at Kingston’s historic preservation is both timely and essential.”

For more information, contact Rebecca Martin at rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org or call 845/750-7295

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About KingstonCitizens.org.  Established in 2006, KingstonCitizens.org is a community-based 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.

About the City of Kingston.  Kingston, dating to the arrival of the Dutch in 1652, is a vibrant city with rich history and architecture, was the state’s first capital, and a thriving arts community.

About Friends of Historic Kingston.  The Friends of Historic Kingston are charged in preserving historical and architecturally significant buildings and sites in the City of Kingston; To promote and foster interest in the historical heritage and beauty of Kingston and, to acquire, preserve and exhibit materials relating to regional history and culture.

About the City of Kingston Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission. The Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC) is a quasi-judicial body of Kingston citizens whose duties and procedures are outlined in Chapter 405, Article IX of the city’s administrative code. Its seven volunteer members are appointed by the mayor to administer the designation and preservation of Kingston’s individual landmarks and four historic districts. Current members have expertise in preservation planning, historic architecture, restoration arts, law, history, and real estate. The commission holds public hearings the first Thursday of each month where it reviews applications for work to historic properties and discusses matters related to public education about the protection and perpetuation of the city’s built heritage.

About the City of Kingston’s Heritage Area Commission.  The Heritage Area Commission is charged with the responsibility of advising the Mayor and the Common Council on all matters related to the Kingston Heritage Area and its programs in a manner consistent with the concepts, goals and objectives set forth in relevant state and local legislation regarding New York State Heritage Areas and in the Urban Cultural Park Management Plan.

About the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).  The SHPO works with governments, the public, and educational and not-for-profit organizations to raise historic preservation awareness, to instill in New Yorkers a sense of pride in the state’s unique history and to encourage heritage tourism and community revitalization.  The SHPO administers programs authorized by both the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the New York State Historic Preservation Act of 1980. These programs, including the Statewide Historic Resources Survey, the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit, the Certified Local Government program, the state historic preservation grants program, state and federal environmental review, and a wide range of technical assistance, are provided through a network of teams assigned to territories across the state.

About the Preservation League of New York.  The Preservation League of New York State invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth and the protection of our historic buildings and landscapes. We lead advocacy, economic development and education programs across the state.

Request that UCRRA Postpone Their Decision to Discontinue Single Stream Recycling.

“Right now … once it gets to [single-stream] stage, it’s worthless. So that’s just the unfortunate reality — that we’ve taken that vision … and screwed it up.”
– David Gordon, UCRRA Board Member

By Rebecca Martin

Last week, both elected officials and the public learned from an article in the local paper that the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (UCRRA) “announced plans to stop single-stream, or commingled, recyclables in 2019 and proposed doubling the fees for single-stream loads until the new policy was in place.”  Kingston Mayor Steve Noble took swift action with a letter in response that provided specific actions for the public to take.

There are two important upcoming meetings in May for the public. The first, the Ulster County Legislature’s Energy and Environment Committee will meet on Thursday, May 3rd at 5:30pm (at UCRRA located at 999 Flatbush Road in Kingston, NY) and, more importantly in order for your voice to be heard, a public hearing is set for May 23rd  (VIEW our facebook event) with a potential vote to follow that would establish both new policy and a higher fee for our current commingled system imposed upon Kingston.

WHAT IS UCRRA? 

In 1986, the Ulster County Legislature obtained authorization from the State Legislature for the creation of the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (the “Agency”), a public benefit corporation which was formed for the purpose of developing, financing, and implementing a comprehensive Countywide solid waste management program. In the mid-1980’s, after new initiatives to close non-complying exiting landfills were undertaken by the NYSDEC and strict requirements for the siting, construction, and operation of new disposal facilities were enacted, many communities found it beyond their financial and managerial capability to continue to dispose of waste in traditional ways. Consequently, many of the local municipalities in Ulster County requested that the Ulster County government assume the responsibility for solid waste management, and the Agency was created by the New York State Legislature pursuant to Chapter 936 of the Public Authorities Law approved December of 1986. The Agency’s organizational structure consists of a five-member Board of Directors (appointed by the Ulster County Legislature); an Executive Director; Agency Counsel; and thirty administrative and operations personnel.

The Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (UCRRA) currently owns and operates two transfer stations. The first is located at 999 Flatbush Road in the Town of Kingston and the other on Clearwater Road in the Town of New Paltz. The property for the New Paltz Transfer Station is leased from the town.

DUAL STREAM AND SINGLE STREAM RECYCLING

Dual stream recycling keeps paper in one container and other recyclables—such as plastic and metal—in another. Proponents of duel-stream recycling say that contaminants are eliminated from paper products by separating them, costing less in processing and allowing more of the end product to be re-used.

With single stream (or co-mingled) recycling, rather than sorting paper from other recyclables—such as metal and glass—residents place everything into the recycling cart together. Proponents of single-stream recycling say that it makes recycling easier to do. And when recycling is easier, more people may participate—raising recycling rates and increasing the amount of material that’s diverted from the landfill.

Single stream is Kingston’s current system, and we made a large investment in order to do so between 2011 and 2013. Some of our readers may remember when Kingston made that transition. It required large purchases such as new collection trucks and garbage/recycling bins.

THE COSTS

Along with the transition of trucks and bins, based on numbers from 2010, Kingston pays $71 per ton to ship our garbage up-river some 250 miles. That number is most certainly higher now, and may even be closer to $100 per ton today.  It is clear that keeping materials that can be recycled out of the trash stream is a big savings to both the budget and the environment.

As for recycling costs, according to a recent Daily Freeman article, “Kingston pays $20 per ton for commingled loads…” and from what I understand, our city also pays its fair share in offsetting the cost of recycled paper products that are contaminated.

Single stream recycling is not a new concept in Ulster County. Although Kingston is the only municipality who does so through UCRRA, other communities in Ulster County engage in single stream recycling through private haulers without any trouble.

Recent articles shared state that China is not accepting our recycled materials, a major link in the chain. According to some, without a buyer, our bailed recycled materials will sit in storage before eventually going into the landfill. Is that the case for private haulers in Ulster County who accept single-stream, too? Why then does a city like Seattle for instance, managing far more recycling than UCRRA does, continue to run it’s large, successful single-stream recycling program with a buyer for their recycled products?

THE ULSTER COUNTY LEGISLATURE.

The Ulster County Legislature appoints the five-member body to constitute the UCRRA Board and has both a Recycling Oversight Committee (where UCRRA Board member and Kingston resident Charlie Landi is appointed as liaison) and an Energy and Environment Committee that “set policy and review contracts pertaining to but not limited to the activities of the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency”.

Although the announcement came out of the blue in Kingston, members of the UCRRA board say that Kingston’s single-stream recycling has been a problem for many years.  Did the legislature, who oversees UCRRA, know this or were they caught off guard, too?

KINGSTON’S REPRESENTATIVE ON UCRRA’S BOARD. 

Kingston’s representative on UCRRA’s board is former Ward 3 Alderman Charlie Landi who once stated that bottling Kingston’s municipal water would make good economic sense for Kingston.

Also on the board is the former Town of Ulster supervisor Fred Wadnola. It has been told that Wadnola negotiated a water deal with the City of Kingston decades ago for the town during his term.  As I understand it, the deal with its high rate has been trying for the town, and is one that the current town administration has been trying to find a way out of or at the very least renegotiate since at least leading up to the proposed Niagra Bottling Proposal in 2014.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

Given the magnitude of what the UCRRA board is proposing here by eliminating single-stream and it’s poor handling of the communications here in my opinion.  Kingston should have the time that it needs to ‘sort through’ the problem.

SIGN

KingstonCitizens.org’s Petition, requesting the board postpone the vote and to create additional public hearings.

ATTEND

The upcoming Public Hearing on May 23rd (click on the link to be taken to our Facebook event for more information) to speak to the UCRRA Board’s proposed changes.

1)  POSTPONE VOTE. The Ulster County Resource and Recovery Agency postpone its vote on the proposal for a minimum of 60 days to allow the Agency time to review the consequences of ending the acceptance of single-stream recycling on December 31st, 2018. Furthermore, to not consider fee increases to go into effect until at least January 1, 2019 to allow participating municipalities time to budget appropriately or consider alternative options.

2)  ADDITIONAL PUBLIC HEARING. The Agency hold a second public hearing in Kingston to allow the public and all officials additional time to review the proposal and to understand how it would impact our community.

3) PROVIDE INFORMATION TO PUBLIC AND IMPACTED MUNICIPALITIES. The Agency research regional collection sites for single-stream recycling and provide a report to the public on its findings.