PETITION: Kingstonian Project and SEQR – Positive Declaration and Scoping

 

 

SIGN the Petition
“We Support a Pos DEC in SEQR for the Kingstonian Project”

Kingston Residents can request a Positive Declaration in SEQR that would allow more input and studies on the proposed Kingstonian Project.

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With the Lead Agency for the Kingstonian Project underway (READ: Kingstonian Project and SEQR: Lead Agency), we anticipate the Kingston Planning Board will secure that role for the Kingstonian Project SEQR process.  With a 30-day window for confirmation that began on January 24th, we expect confirmation by around February 22nd.

Once Lead Agency is determined, the next significant milestone in SEQR will be a 20-day window for Lead Agency to make a “Positive” or “Negative” declaration for the Kingstonian Project. 

With a project this large and significant, we are advocating for a “Positive Declaration” (Pos Dec) in SEQR and are currently putting together a coalition of partners to make that same request.  To assure that the public is involved in this request, we have also created a petition that we will submit with our coalition letter in a couple of weeks.

Please join us by signing our PETITION by Sunday, February 24th.

 

Why is this significant? 

A Positive Declaration is “a determination by the lead agency that an action may result in at least one potential significant environmental impact and so will require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before the Lead Agency decisions may be made regarding the action. The positive declaration starts the EIS process.”  

With the recent changes in SEQR Regulations, a “pos dec” immediately triggers a public scoping process which would be a great opportunity for our community to work on this together.

 

The Scoping Process in SEQR.

As of January 1, 2019, when there is a “Pos Dec” determination, scoping is automatically triggered. This is in the public’s best interest, as prior Jan 1 this year, an additional request  would have had to have been made.

A “draft scope” would be created and submitted to the Lead Agency by the applicant at some point in time that would then be released to the public (as my mentor, Kate Hudson, used to say, “Think of a draft scope document as a ‘table of contents’ for the project”).

Once it is received by the Lead Agency, approved and released – there is a 30-day window that occurs for the public to review the document and to make additional comments for study.  In our petition and coalition letter, we are requesting 90-days as well as a public meeting.  

The comments/questions of concern are ultimately sent to the Lead Agency to vet – and once approved,  a ‘final scoping’ document is created and sent to the applicant who is then required to answer each questions in what will become a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  More on that later on. We need to achieve a pos dec first.

 

The Input of Citizens and Advocates is Critical for a Good SEQR Process and Outcome. 

There is no one better to do this work than the citizens who will be directly impacted (both negatively and/or positively) to a project like this with the support of advocates who have dedicated their life’s work on the range of issues that may arise.   We hope you’ll join us as we take our first step in preparing to ask the Lead Agency to issue a “Pos Dec” on the proposed Kingstonian Project.  If you live in the City of Kingston, please sign our petition to be delivered by or about 2/25/19.

 

REVIEW: The SEQR Cookbook

Kingstonian Project and SEQR: Determining Lead Agency

By Rebecca Martin

With the recent positive changes to the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center project, we can turn our attention to the Kingstonian Project and its SEQR process (State Environmental Quality Review) which is just getting underway.    KingstonCitizens.org is in the midst of organizing a new coalition of partners for this effort.  Our goal is to follow SEQR step by step and support the public and our elected and appointed officials to assure a clear, efficient and transparent process.

A Brief Description of the Kingstonian Project.

In the applicant’s (Kingstonian Development LLC and JM Development Group LLC) Environmental Assessment Form (EAF), it states that the Kingstonian Project “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 parcels of land include “City Parking Garage (1.43 acres), Herzog’s Warehouse (0.49 acres), and Uptown Grill (0.49 acres) along with portions of Fair Street Extension and a small pocket park owned by the City of Kingston.  The project further includes consolidation of several tax parcels (subdivision-lot line deletions)”

The City of Kingston Planning Board as Lead Agency.

On January 22nd, the City of Kingston’s Planning Board passed a resolution confirming the Kingstonian Project being a Type 1 Action in SEQR with a Coordinated Review and asking to be Lead Agency for the project.  The resolution was acknowledged by the Clerk’s office on 1/24 that starts the 30-day clock for all Involved Agencies to approve the request (more on that below).

What is a Type 1 Action and Coordinated Review?

A Type 1 action means “an action or class of actions that is more likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment than other actions or classes of actions.” Because of which, a full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) must be submitted to the Lead Agency once determined, and the Lead Agency must always coordinate the SEQR review process with other involved agencies.

The applicant has submitted Part 1 of its full EAF where it was declared up front that the project would be a Type 1 Action in SEQR.  A coordinated review is required for all Type 1 Actions. The involved agency “initially receiving an application for approval” (the Kingston Planning Board) “circulates the completed Part 1 of the full EAF and any other information supplied by the applicant to the other involved agencies.”

There’s more to this that we can get into later on and as we move along, though it’s worth noting in this case that the Lead Agency, after reviewing the EAF,  may request an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) “after review of application documentation related to the proposed action (in the EAF) and decides that the action as proposed is likely to cause at least one significant adverse impact to the environment.”

What is Lead Agency in SEQR?

The purpose of having a Lead Agency is to “coordinate the SEQR process from start to finish so that when an action is to be carried out, funded or approved by two or more agencies, a single integrated environmental review is conducted.”  Also important is that the Lead Agency “is responsible for making key SEQR determinations during the review process.”  In other words, they control the process.

Being an Involved Agency.
(AMENDED: In the original post, there were seven Involved Agencies listed when there are ten.)

In SEQR, an agency is Involved when the determination is made that “the agency has or will have a discretionary decision to make regarding some aspect of the action” involving the project.   In the case of the Kingstonian Project, there are ten identified Involved Agencies and they are:

  1. Kingston Planning Board (for Site Plan Approval, Special Use Permit approval, SEQRA approval and Lot Line Revisions).
  2. City of Kingston Common Council (for closing of a City Street, Sale of Land or Easement Conveyance and Deviated PILOT Review).
  3. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) (SPDES Permit for Stormwater Discharges)
  4. City of Kingston Dept. of Public Works (Curb Cut Permit and Sewer Tap)
  5. City of Kingston Zoning Board of Appeals (for Area Variances for Floor Area Ratio and Height).
  6. City of Kingston Historic Landmarks Commission (Notice of Preservation of Action).
  7. Ulster County Industrial Development Agency (Deviated PILOT Agreement).
  8. City of Kingston Water Department (Water tap).
  9. City of Kingston Consolidated School District (Deviated PILOT Review)
  10. Empire State Development Corporation (Approval of Grants “Restore New York, Consolidated Funding Application and Downtown Revitalization Initiative).

Involved Agencies play a critical role at the very beginning of SEQR, as they choose the Lead Agency for the project.  Any one of the Involved Agencies can request to be Lead Agency and any one can reject those requests (just as long as they are willing to take on the role themselves. That is required along with any Involved Agencies ‘no’ vote).

It’s appropriate that the Kingston Planning Board be the Lead Agency of SEQR for the Kingstonian Project.   Although the Kingston Common Council as an Involved Agency could also request the role,  it’s in the public’s best interest that they remain free to advocate for their constituents, as the Lead Agency must remain impartial.

The Kingston Planning Board’s request went out to all ten Involved Agencies on January 24th where there is a 30 day window to approve or disapprove the Planning Board’s request. We expect the window to close in or around February 24th.

Next up:   Lead Agency to Determine a Positive or Negative Declaration in SEQR for the Kingstonian Project, where the public will have a chance to request a Pos Dec within a 20 day window.  More shortly.

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WATCH:  At last week’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission as an Involved Agency in the Kingstonian Project, the commission discussed the Kingston Planning Board’s Lead Agency request.  Starts at: 19:47

Filmed by The Kingston News and brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.

VIDEO: “Kingstonian” Application Appears Before Kingston Planning Board.

By Rebecca Martin

At the recent City of Kingston’s Planning Board meeting, the proposed Kingstonian project gave its formal presentation and presented its application for the first time, starting what will be a very long process.

All of the documents and the presentation will be made available at the planning office.  Citizens are encouraged to schedule a time to review the materials by calling: (845) 334-3955. We’re asking that they be placed online, too, under the Planning Departments “Planning Project” page.  

Following the presentation, the board voted unanimously on the following;

  • The Kingstonian Project is a Type 1 Action in SEQR and a coordinated review must be taken. A full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) will be required to determine any environmental impacts.
  • The City of Kingston Planning Board requests that it be Lead Agency of the project.  Their request will be circulated to all Involved agencies who will have 30 days to respond to either approve or deny their request.   (List of Involved agencies forthcoming).
  • In 30 days, the the Planning Board will ‘entertain’ the project at a regular board meeting and schedule a public hearing (more on this in the coming weeks). 

Please review video from last night’s planning board meeting. Brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org and filmed by The Kingston News.

 

Leo Schupp
Special Permit 106 W. Chestnut Street
4:20 – 6:15

Bernie Redman
Special Permit 106 W. Chestnut Street
6:26 – 6:52

Alex Panagiotopoulos
Kingstonian Application
6:54 – 8:14

Abigail Frank
Special Permit 106 W. Chestnut Street
8:20 – 10:25

David Gordan
Special Permit 106 W. Chestnut Street
10:36 – 16:30

Rashida Tyler
Kingstonian Application
16:52 – 18:15

Callie Jayne
Kingstonian Application
18:22 – 19:30

Linda Seekamp
Special Permit 106 W. Chestnut Street
19:36 – 20:44

Barbara Stedge
Special Permit 106 W. Chestnut Street
19:45 – 21:05

Owen Harvey
ICC Application
21:06 – 22:10

Juanita Velazquez-Amador
Kingstonian Application
22:20 – 24:26

Betsy Krat
Kingstonian Application
24:30 – 25:01

Tanya Garment
Comp Plan Zoning Task Force and Kingstonian application
25:08 – 28:55

Public Hearing (Tabled)

Item #3: #270 Fair Street SPECIAL PERMIT RENEWAL for a 12 room hotel with 978 business rental space. SBL# 48.331-4-20. SEQR Determination. Zone O-2, Stockade Overlay, HAC, MUOD. Ward 2. Hudson Valley Kingston Development/applicant; Charles Blaichman/owner.

Old Business – Kingstonian Project 

Item #4: #9-17 & 21 North Front Street and 51 Schwenk Drive and a portion of Fair Street Extension LOT LINE DELETION of the Lands of Herzog’s Supply Company and the City of Kingston. SBL 48.80-1-25, 26 & 24.120. SEQR Determination. Zone C-2, Mixed Use Overlay District, Stockade Historic District. Kingstonian Development, LLC/ applicant; Herzog’s Supply Co. Inc. & City of Kingston/owner.

Item #5: #9-17 & 21 North Front Street and 51 Schwenk Drive and a portion of Fair Street Extension SITE PLAN/SPECIAL PERMIT to construct a Mixed Use building with a 420 car garage, 129 apartments, 32 hotel rooms, and 8000sf of retail space. SBL 48.80-1-25, 26 & 24.120. SEQR Determination. Zone C-2, Mixed Use Overlay District, Stockade Historic District. Kingstonian Development, LLC/ applicant; Herzog’s Supply Co. Inc. & City of Kingston/owner.

Item #6: #106 West Chestnut Street SPECIAL PERMIT to operate a Boarding House. SBL 56.34-11-22. SEQR Determination. Zone R-1. Ward 9. Chestnut Hill NY Inc.; applicant/owner.