KingstonCitizens.org submitted a letter to the Kingston Planning Board as Lead Agency (and most Involved and Interested Agencies) in the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) with support from 194 tax paying residents and business owners in the City of Kingston requesting a Positive Declaration in SEQR.
VIEW the petition
We are still collecting signature to present during public comment of the Kingston Planning Board meeting on 3/18 so keep signing and sharing.
The Kingstonian is a project planned for Uptown Kingston’s historic district. It “involves the redevelopment of the City of Kingston parking garages property, the Herzog’s Supply Co. Inc. warehouse property and the Uptown Grill property (also owned by Herzog’s Supply Co., Inc). The proposed project includes the following elements: 420 car parking garage, 120 apartment units, 32 room hotel, 8950 square feet of retail space, a pedestrian plaza area, and an elevated pedestrian link to connect to Kingston Plaza.”
The Kingstonian Proposal in Uptown, Kingston
DRI Grant Application (Public/Private project with $3.8m in grant funds and $48m in private funds).
In our letter, we state that “Upon reviewing the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) as a record before the Planning Board, we have identified a number of significant potential impacts. Therefore, as required by New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) 617.7(a), the Board should issue a Positive Declaration and the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for this project.”
“We also request a public comment period of 90 days on the Draft Scope for the Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) and to hold a public scoping meeting to allow for greater public participation. By doing so, this will ensure that no potentially significant adverse impacts are left out of the DEIS and all environmental concerns are adequately addressed as required by SEQRA.”
The letter outlines potential significant environmental impacts taken from the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF)submitted by the both applicants Kingstonian Development LLC and JM Development Group, LLC.
“We expect that the Planning Board will recognize these impacts and issue a Positive Declaration, and outline plans for a public scoping process at its next meeting on March 18th. As this project has already elicited strong reactions from the community, a transparent and inclusive SEQR process is an opportunity to address important concerns in a comprehensive manner. Such thoroughness will ensure that this project benefits the Kingston community to the greatest extent possible.”
The Kingston Planning Board meets next on March 18th at 6:00pm where it is expected that the Planning Board as Lead Agency will issue a positive declaration and outline its scoping plans. They may also choose to issue a negative declaration, however – the burden will then be on them to prove that there are no impacts rather than the citizens to prove that there are.
Residents are encouraged to attend the upcoming meeting to support a Positive Declaration for the Kingstonian Project during public comment.
READ: What to Expect: March 18th Kingston Planning Board Meeting and the Kingstonian project.
Sunday, March 3, 2019
City of Kingston Planning Board
Kingston Planning Department
Kingston, NY 12401
Dear Chairman Platte and members of the City of Kingston Planning Board:
KingstonCitizens.org, with the support of 194 residents and business owners in the City of Kingston, are writing in regard to the proposed Kingstonian Project (the “Project”) by the applicant Kingstonian Development LLC and JM Development Group, LLC and a Positive Declaration of Significance (“Pos Dec”) under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (“SEQRA”). The Positive Declaration states that as Lead Agency for the SEQRA review you will be conducting public scoping, which will include a public comment period.
Upon reviewing the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) as a record before the Planning Board as Lead Agency, we have identified a number of significant potential impacts. Therefore, as required by New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (NYCRR) 617.7(a), the Board should issue a Positive Declaration and the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for this project.
We also request a public comment period of 90 days on the Draft Scope for the Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) and to hold a public scoping meeting to allow for greater public participation. By doing so, this will ensure that no potentially significant adverse impacts are left out of the DEIS and all environmental concerns are adequately addressed as required by SEQRA.
617.7 (c) (1) (i): “A substantial adverse change in existing air quality, ground or surface water quality or quantity, traffic or noise levels; a substantial increase in solid waste production; a substantial increase in potential for erosion, flooding, leaching or drainage problems.”
617.7 (c) (1) (ix) “The encouraging or attracting of a large number of people to a place or places for more than a few days, compared to the number of people who would come to such place absent the action”.
1. The project will result in a substantial increase in traffic above present levels with 420 parking spaces, a net increase of 300 parking spaces and with the project closing down a portion of Fair Street Extension as a through road. (p. 7)
2. The project will disturb more than one acre and create stormwater runoff, either from new point sources (i.e. ditches, pipes, swales, curbs, gutters or other concentrated flows of stormwater) or a non-point source (i.e. sheet flow) during construction and post construction. (p. 6)
3. The project will increase in liquid waste that will have to be handled by the Kingston sewage treatment plant. (p. 5)
4. The project is in a 100-year floodplain. (p. 11)
5. The project is located over a principal aquifer. (p. 11)
617.7 (c) (1) (ii): “The removal or destruction of large quantities of vegetation or fauna; substantial interference with the movement of any resident or migratory fish or wildlife species; impacts on a significant habitat area; substantial adverse impacts on a threatened or endangered species of animal or plant, or the habitat of such a species; or other significant adverse impacts to natural resources”
6. The project site contains or provides a habitat for the Northern Long-Eared Bat, a species identified by the federal government or NYS as endangered or threatened. (p. 12)
7. The project will generate an increased demand for water, from the Mink Hollow reservoir in Woodstock. (p. 5)
617.7 (c) (1) (v): “The impairment of the character or quality of important historical, archeological, architectural, or aesthetic resources or of existing community or neighborhood character”
8. The Project has the potential to impact aspects significant to the Stockade National Historic District, including the topography, individually significant buildings like the John Tremper House (1 North Front St) and the Senate House, potential archaeological resources, as well as the state-designated Heritage Area. The visual context and community character of this district will no doubt be impacted. (p. 13)
9. The Project involves the demolition of a built resource that is identified in the Stockade Historic District National Register Nomination (1975) as contributing to the district.
617.7 (c) (1) (vi) “A major change in the use of either the quantity or type of energy”
10. The project will generate a new demand for energy, with an estimated 160,000-220,000 kw-hours per month. (p. 7)
617.7 (c) (1) (iv) “The creation of a material conflict with a community’s current plans or goals as officially approved or adopted.”
11. The project should conform to the City of Kingston’s Comprehensive Plan as it pertains to affordable housing and the number of units that have been created since the Three County Regional Housing Needs Assessment: Ulster, Orange and Dutchess Counties from 2006 – 2020 (RHNA).
The market demand for affordable units in the context of all available county, region, state and HUD data and the affordability of the rentals in the context of the Area Median Incomes earned in the Kingston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Accordingly, it should also conform to Kingston zoning section 405-27.1, Mixed Use Overlay District, which calls for 20% of the units in this district to be dedicated for affordable housing, with the rental of those units to be calculated as not to exceed 30% of a household’s income, with the maximum income at 80% for the Ulster County median income.
617.7 (c) (1) (vii) “The creation of a hazard to human health.”
12. The project will require the demolition of old buildings and disposal of construction and demolition waste that might include lead and asbestos issues. (p. 8)
13. The project area is within 2000 feet of a NYSDEC hazardous waste remediation site. (p. 10)
617.7 (c) (1) (viii) “a substantial change in the use, or intensity of use, of land including agricultural, open space or recreational resources, or in its capacity to support existing uses.”
14. Recreational trail impacts (the Kingston Greenline).
617.7 (c) (1) (xi). “Changes in 2 or more elements of the environment”(xi) changes in two or more elements of the environment, no one of which has a significant impact on the environment, but when considered together result in a substantial adverse impact on the environment.”
15. It is clear that the proposed project includes the potential for at least one if not more significant environmental impacts (such as intensity of use, noise solid waste production, etc.) which require the preparation of an EIS. In addition, a DEIS is required because project impacts considered cumulative also trigger the need for a DEIS as per 617.7 (xi).
We expect that the Planning Board will recognize these impacts and issue a Positive Declaration, and outline plans for a public scoping process at its next meeting on March 18th. As this project has already elicited strong reactions from the community, a transparent and inclusive SEQR process is an opportunity to address important concerns in a comprehensive manner. Such thoroughness will ensure that this project benefits the Kingston community to the greatest extent possible.
Rebecca Martin, Director
Enclosure: Petition “We Support a Pos Dec in SEQR for the Kingstonian Project” with 194 residents and business owners signatures.
Wayne Platt, Jr., Chairman
Charles Polacco, Vice Chairman
Jamie Bahruth Mills (Alternate)
Bridget Smith Bruhn (Alternate)
Kevin Roach (Alternate)
Alderman Reynolds Scott-Childress, Liaison
Suzanne Cahill, Planning Director
Kyla Dedea, Assistant Planner
And to most interested and all involved agencies