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.

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

  1. The citizen who invited the TofU Board to be wary of the legal advice they’re taking should be heeded. Either the Town Board is woefully lacking in expert advisors, or they are being cavalier with our concerns.

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