Town of Lloyd Moratorium on Fossil Fuel Power Plants Passes Unanimously.

The Town of Lloyd passed a proposed moratorium on fossil fuel power plants (Local Law A) unanimously last evening, allowing the community the time to take the next critical step to address its zoning law.

“This local law…enact (s) a moratorium to temporarily suspend the review and approval of applications for fossil fuel power plants. We believe that given the projected increase in relatively small fast-ramping “peaker” gas power plants, which are not subject to Article 10 State review, the Town is wise to be proactive in amending its zoning to regulate these facilities. Without such regulation air quality, treasured views, adjacent properties and residents’ quality of life could be at risk. Importantly, it’s critical to ensure that protective zoning is in place before an application is submitted for a peaker plant.” said Scenic Hudson’s Director of Land Use Advocacy Jeffrey Anzevino (and Town of Lloyd resident) in a statement he read last night. “For a variety of reasons, peaker plants are coming to the Hudson Valley and Lloyd is not alone. We believe that the Town Board’s action on this issue will serve as a model that will encourage other communities to adopt protective zoning before applications are submitted.”

The recommendation of a moratorium for zoning consideration on 25mw (or smaller) fossil fuel plants was made by Scenic Hudson, Citizens for Local Power and KingstonCitizens.org last summer, where local communities – and not the state – have authority.  The concept is appropriate for all communities in the six counties residing in the “G” Zone (see materials below for more information), and was inspired by Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a 20mw gas-fired peak energy power plant being proposed in the Town of Ulster.

The Town of Lloyd’s ECC and Town Board were the first to pursue the recommendation.

“Lloyd is vulnerable.” says the letter to the Town Board of Lloyd from their ECC. “According to the Southern Ulster times article, zoning codes in the county, including Lloyd, do not address utility needs. Lloyd Planning Board Chairperson Peter Brooks indicated in the article that the lack of clear zoning guiding the review process of a proposed peaker plant would leave the town in a vulnerable position. He was quoted as saying that if such a proposal were to come before the Planning board, “we’re kind of bare-naked.”  Because of their small size, peaker plants like the 20-megawatt facility proposed in the Town of Ulster are not subject to New York State guidance regarding the siting, construction, and operation of major electric generating facilities.2 Municipalities have the primary jurisdiction for electric generating facilities under 25 megawatts. But like Lloyd, most communities are unequipped to provide an informed review of these facilities….The ECC strongly recommends that the Town Board enact a temporary moratorium on fossil fuel-powered peaker plants to protect our vulnerable community. During the proposed moratorium, we advise the Town Board to write regulations into the Town Code that allow the Town to decide if and how such plants should be sited, where they should go, and under what conditions.”

New York’s highest court has held that a municipality may exclude an industrial use if doing so is a reasonable exercise of its police powers to protect the health, safety and welfare of residents and to promote the interests of the community as a whole.

“The ECC does not believe that fossil- fueled power plants are consistent with Lloyd’s community character. Therefore, we recommend that the Town Code be amended to prohibit them.”

The Town of Lloyd is now a model community for all of us potentially impacted by these types of projects.  We hope to see more communities in the ‘G’ Zone follow suit.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW YOUR COMMUNITY CAN ADDRESS ZONING ON 25MW OR SMALLER FOSSIL FUEL POWER PLANTS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES:

VIEW  the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center Project Fact Sheet

WATCH our recent Webinar “Living in the “G” Zone: Peak Energy Plants and Zoning”

LEARN  how to update your zoning language to prepare for a possible fossil fuel power plant proposal in your community.

The PURPA Challenge: Is GlidePath’s Lincoln Park Power Plant really a “Utility Company Structure?”

 

By Rebecca Martin

Earlier this summer, we learned that GlidePath (aka Lincoln Park GC, LLC)  “stated that their project – the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired peak energy power plant being proposed in the Town of Ulster – could be built “as-of-right” in the Office and Manufacturing District (“OM District”) in the Town because it is a “utility company structure.”

For many months, TownOfUlsterCitizens.org and our coalition of partners requested that the Town of Ulster provide “clarity on whether the Town of Ulster 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 under the Zoning Code.”

These requests went without any detailed explanation.

However, over the weekend we learned that even though the code in the Town of Ulster’s zoning code refers to “utility company structures” allowed as-of-right in Highway Commercial (HC), Resource Conservation (RC), Office-Medical (OM) and I districts (and by Special Use Permits (SUP) or Specific Plan (SP) Approval in R-60, 30, 10 and Land Conservation (LC) districts), that GlidePath may not be considered a utility as per an interpretation of the 1978 US Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which began the deregulation of energy companies to create competition to allow the US to break the grip of energy monopolies in the aftermath of the energy crisis.

PURPA establishes that because energy companies were “natural monopolies” (i.e., which happens to industries with infrastructure costs and other barriers to entry relative to the size of the market, giving the largest supplier an advantage over potential competitors), energy producers are non-utility generators. Cogeneration and small power production facilities are not utilities. It appears to be all in PURPA and settled case law that follows it since then.

What might this all mean for the GlidePath proposal?  We have more research to do to understand PURPA’s potential impact.

VIDEO: Kingston Planning Board – ICCHV, Verizon Communication Tower, “Super Garage” Proposal

By Rebecca Martin

There was a big turn-out at last evening’s Planning Board meeting, where several items of interest were discussed. They included a Communications Tower being proposed near Colonel Gardens (a public housing complex in Ward 7);  The Irish Cultural Center’s (ICCHV) site plan public hearing; and a new proposed project, the ‘Super Garage’ located in the Rondout, Kingston. 

Here are highlights. 

The outcomes were mostly predictable.  The proposed Communications Tower was tabled while the applicant performs a balloon test for visual impacts and looks at a secondary site in the Town of Ulster; the ICCHV was also tabled, although there was some confusion from the public as to what they were expected to comment on without materials or any communication/guidance by the planning department, and the “Super Garage” project and lot line revisions were both tabled as well.

We asked the planning board to table the proposed communication tower project (which they were going to do anyway), in light of learning about New Hempstead’s model law for cell towers.  In order to allow the Kingston common council to analyze the overall planning issue and to decide where and under what conditions tower constructions may proceed, a brief moratorium on cell towers given our ongoing comprehensive plan and zoning amendment work could be requested.

VIEW
Model Law (New Hempstead)

VIEW
NYSDOS Recommendation on Communication Towers

VIEW 
NYSDOS Moratoria on Land Use

Robert Iannucci, the project applicant for the “Super Garage” project, will host a public informational hearing on Thursday, December 6th at 6:00pm at the Cornell Steamboat Building located at 108 East Strand in the Rondout.

VIEW
Facebook Event on “Super Garage” Public Informational Hearing

Read more…

Invitation to Webinar (Earn Credits) Tuesday, September 25 @ 3pm: Living in the “G” Zone: GlidePath, Peak Energy Power Plants and Zoning.

KingstonCitizens.org is presenting a webinar specifically for all planning and zoning professionals living in the “G” Zone (Ulster, Orange, Greene, Rockland, Putnam and Dutchess Counties). We hope that you or someone you delegate can attend on Tuesday, September 25 from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm.     A Q&A segment will be allotted at the end of the presentations moderated by Rebecca Martin of KingstonCitizens.org.

WATCH Webinar

Attendance to this free webinar event provides credits for the following: AICP (American Institute of Professional Planners) and NYS Planning and Zoning Board

This webinar event is brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org in partnership with Scenic Hudson, Citizens for Local Power and Riverkeeper.   With support from TownOfUlsterCitizens.org, CAPP-NY, Catskill Mountainkeeper, NP Climate Action Coalition. Additional supporters TBA. 

Read more…

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

(Amended) GUIDANCE FOR TESTIMONY: Proposed Central Hudson Gas Regulating Substation in Kingston, NY

Item #3: #245 Washington Avenue SPECIAL PERMIT to install a gas regulating station. SBL 56.90-6-20. SEQR Determination. Zone R-1. Ward 3. Central Hudson Gas & Electric; Applicant/owner

Recently, a citizen of the City of Kingston who lives near a new proposed Gas Regulating System to be located at 245 Washington Avenue by Central Hudson contacted us with some concerns.  Gas and Electric Magnetic Field (EMF) Substations are a part of our landscape in Kingston, given the need for gas and electric in our daily lives.

But process is key, and it was the process that peeked our interest.

Read more…

Understanding the Latest Changes to the Irish Cultural Center

WHAT
Come to the public hearing at City Hall, Council Chambers, on Monday, July 10th at 6:00 pm, and weigh in on the latest changes to the proposed  Irish Cultural Center (ICC) project.

WHERE
Kingston City Hall
420 Broadway
Kingston, NY
Council Chambers (top floor)

WHEN
Monday, July 10th
6:00 pm
Sign-up to speak at 5:45pm

If you can’t attend the meeting, you can submit the comments in the body of this EMAIL and any other additional concerns you might have. The email will go directly to the Kingston Planning Board and City of Kingston.  We will receive a copy, too, and will compile a packet to submit to the Board at the public hearing on July 10th.

Deadline for email submissions is July 7th.

WHY
Public input on this project proposal so far has helped to make for a stronger Irish Cultural Center proposal. The public needs to keep weighing in until the project fully fits the Kingston waterfront community, or the ICC determines another location that is suited to their goals.

 

 

By Hillary Harvey 

The Irish Cultural Center proposed for Abeel Street on the Rondout in Kingston has just come back to the Planning Board with the latest in a series of updates to their project site plan.

ICC Site Plans, March 8, 2017     VIEW
Floor Plans, March 2, 2017      VIEW

Included are responses to the State Historic Preservation Office, the City of Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Ulster County Planning Board, all of which were presented at the June 12th City of Kingston Planning Board meeting.

VIDEO: Planning Board Meeting 6/12/2017   VIEW

 

What the ICC Looks Like Now.

The Irish Cultural Center of the Hudson Valley is proposed to be a 16,213 square foot newly constructed building on a 0.43-acre parcel at 32 Abeel Street with rights, granted by the City of Kingston’s Zoning Board of Appeals, to follow the zoning for West Strand Street.  New designs indicate a red, brick building of three stories measuring 49.5′ from the Company Hill Path side (South Elevation), with one story underground on the Abeel Street side (North Elevation).  There would also be an elevator accessible roof garden, with outdoor seating and a 12’ tall room that rises above the height of the building.  On the Company Hill Path side, there would be three full balconies with exterior gathering space that each run the width of the building.  The building would be a “community center” with a 171-seat theater, exhibition space, commercial kitchen, 70-seat pub/restaurant, flex space, offices for the ICC and the Ancient Order of Hibernians (the ICC’s parent organization), radio station, map room, etc.  The project would have 8 on-site parking spots and seek a parking waiver from the Planning Board for 47 parking spaces.

There will be a public hearing on these changes at the City of Kingston’s Planning Board meeting on July 10th, during their regular meeting, and comments can be made via email to the Planning Board before July 7th.  We encourage everyone to weigh in.

Read more…