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.

Read more…

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

###

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.

 

 

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

By Rebecca Martin

Please read to the end to review the call to action.

In December of 2017, the consultant Shuster/Turner Planning & Zoning Consultants, hired to lead Kingston in its Comprehensive Planning (CP) process, completed its work by submitting its CP Zoning recommendations.

The recommendations, shaped in part by a CP Zoning Sub-Committee of appointed citizens that met sporadically over the years, were uploaded to the City of Kingston’s website in January of 2018.  VIEW

There have been many concerns voiced both publicly and in private, with whispers throughout historic, planning and zoning circles about this document. Those concerns were heard, and seemingly addressed by the Mayor of Kingston, in his state of the city address this year:

“In 2018….my administration will be focusing on overhauling our Zoning Code…I want to thank the past members of the Comprehensive Plan Zoning Sub-Committee for their work over the past few years reviewing our zoning and recommending changes to ensure we are consistent with State law. In 2018, I will be launching the second stage of the zoning update and will be recruiting local volunteers to delve into such complex subjects as affordable housing, urban agriculture, parking and parking waivers, form-based codes and much more. This work is necessary in order to ensure that our zoning is consistent with our Comprehensive Plan, spurs responsible economic development and preserves our community high quality of life.”

Currently, the Mayor is determining some sort of new CP Zoning group, and a process in how citizens will be able to participate. That was a bold move, and we all appreciated his leadership on the matter then.

City of Kingston Corporation Council Submits Legislation to Kingston Common Council, Applied to the Council Laws and Rules Committee.

While we wait, on March 28th, the City of Kingston’s Corporation Council Daniel Gartenstein submitted a communication to the common council requesting that, “In the interests of coordinating the review of proposed projects in the City of Kingston, our office is recommending that the Council move forward with combining the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Heritage Commission.”  VIEW

Legislation was submitted along with his communication and assigned to the Kingston Common Council Laws and Rules Committee that will meet on Wednesday, April 18th at 6:30 pm.

This was curious to me as “Streamlining Historic Preservation, Cultural and Design Review 5264-1” is an item in the Comp Plan Zoning Recommendations document (Part III, Section C, #4).  It is also one of the items that have been a point of contention for professional preservationists and others.

Anyone following this process can’t help but wonder – why has the executive branch chosen a single item from the CP Zoning recommendations to present legislation to be reviewed by the Common Council before a new CP Zoning group is established?

Corporation council serves at the pleasure of the Mayor, so this request seems out-of-step with the Mayor’s intent to establish a new CP zoning group, who I assume will be charged in looking at the document comprehensively before presenting recommendations to the council for discussion, debate and, passage.

This presents a confusing conflict outwardly to the public.

What does the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC) and the Heritage Area Commission (HAC) do in the City of Kingston? 

As a citizen, you’d be hard-pressed to understand what the HLPC and HAC do by visiting the City of Kingston’s website. To look at the “Boards and Commissions” tab, you’ll find that on either page, there isn’t any information about their work. Only mostly a list of those who serve. To find information about either commission, you’d have to know to look in the City of Kingston’s code. There are no instructions to the public to do so, making it nearly impossible for anyone except experienced city government watchers to know.

Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission, as I understand it, is a regulatory body, charged in part by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). You can review the meat and potatoes of their work by visiting  HERE.

The Heritage Area Commission, established in 1986 and overseen by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), is entirely different in their scope of work. You can review their role by visiting  HERE

It’s possible that combining them isn’t a bad idea. But there are many questions still in doing so, including the real possibility of losing funding opportunities for the city if not done properly. As a good friend told me recently in discussing the matter, “the devil is in the details.”

Approaching CP Zoning Recommendations Comprehensively.

Our comprehensive plan hasn’t been updated since 1961. Zoning to match, for as long – although zoning amendments are a regular occurrence. Is cherrypicking an item from the new CP Zoning recommendations an emergency?  If so, why? If not, a better course might be to allow a newly established group, which is imminent, to look at the CP Zoning recommendations comprehensively, and that includes streamlining commissions.

Citizen Call to Action.

On Wednesday, April 18th at 6:30pm in Conference Room #1 at Kingston City Hall (420 Broadway), the Kingston Common Council Laws and Rules Committee will meet. On their agenda, is legislation to ‘streamline the HLPC and HAC’.

We have been told by council members who sit on the Laws and Rules committee that no decision on this legislation will be determined. However, the language has been introduced and is now in the pipeline. That is significant.

Therefore, we suggest citizens who are interested in the topic to ask the following questions and make the following requests:

  1. That Corporation Council, who I presume will be present that evening, explain why legislation to streamline the HLPC and HAC has been pulled out of the CP Zoning Recommendations to start the review process before a new CP Zoning Committee or workgroup has been established.
  2. Request that the Kingston Common Council committee table the discussion for a time when the new CP Zoning committee/workgroup has completed its work.

Kingston’s Got Skin in the Game. The Lincoln Park Power Plant Final Scope Delay and Rescheduled Balloon Test.

By Rebecca Martin

At last week’s Town of Ulster Workshop meeting, we learned that the Town of Ulster Town Board as Lead Agency did not submit the Final Scope to Glidepath (the applicant) to make the April 2nd deadline.  What happened?

DEC Requests Additional Air Quality Review and Comments.

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.”

City of Kingston’s Got Skin in the Game.

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.

“If the air data indicates that the project’s potential impact area includes the Potential Environment Justice Area 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.” state officials wrote.

In the Daily Freeman, 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.

DAILY FREEMAN  “Town of Ulster gets Two additional weeks to frame review of proposed electric generator”

 

Rescheduled Balloon Tests Monday, April 9th at 8:00am.

“Town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley noted “that developers have agreed to find a way to conduct balloon tests that will accurately reflect the proposed height of emission stacks for the project. Tests attempted on Thursday were aborted early because balloons were popping when blown into trees, with the balloons that were seen above the tree line actually flown at 128 feet instead of the anticipated 100-foot height of planned stacks.”  (Daily Freeman)

In a letter submitted to the Town of Ulster alerting the town of rescheduled Balloon Tests:

The Project sponsors plan to fly a five (5) foot diameter weather balloon at a height of 80 feet to simulate the height of the exhaust stack of the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. The balloon flight is tentatively scheduled for Monday April 9th at 8AM and is weather dependent.   If winds or weather conditions are not favorable, this work will be rescheduled.  It is anticipated that a red balloon will be flown at 80 feet and a yellow spotter balloon at 100 or 120 feet- all subject to field conditions.

This work will aid the Town in evaluating the potential visual impacts of the proposed facility located on property located between Frank Sottile Boulevard and Miron Lane.  The site is identified on Town of Ulster Tax Map as Section 48.12 Block 1 Lot 20, Section 48.16 Block 1 Lot 1, and Section 48.16 Block 1 Lot 2.210. 

Once the balloon is up, it will remain aloft for approximately two hours (again subject to weather conditions) to allow project representatives to photograph the balloon from sites within a five (5) mile radius of the site.

Receptors for visual analysis include the following locations based on the draft scope and a public document. One of our coalition partners, Scenic Hudson, suggests that members of the public near the following locations at the time of the balloon tests to please take and submit photos and impressions to rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

  • View from Hudson Valley Mall on Frank Sottile Boulevard;
    • Not sure where the best place would be.
  • View from westbound lane of the Kingston Rhinecliff Bridge;
    • Cannot stop on the bridge. Maybe the consultants have obtained permission.
  • View from Tivoli Bay State Unique Area;
    • Suggested Poet’s Walk Park instead.
  • View from Dutchess County Route 103 in vicinity of Ryan Road;
    • Not sure if Ryan Road is the best spot. May be too far south.
  • View from Lucas Avenue near Town-City boundary;
    • This is too far. Only the plume would be an issue.
  • View from NYS Route 209 in the vicinity of NYS Route 28;
    • Possibly relevant. Plume would certainly be an issueÂ
  • View from eastern shore of Hudson River looking toward project site;
    • Rhinecliff waterfront park is the most likely location. Unless they drive north along the RR. Scenic Hudson will cover this
  • View from Van Kleeck Lane (Between Quail Dr. and Ledge Road)
    • Important location. Residents should be aware. Scenic Hudson will also check.
  • Other critical receptors identified during balloon test;
    • We should all be looking for the balloons from important places in the community
  • Other locations of significance;
    • Poet’s Walk Park
      • Scenic Hudson will be there
    • Ferncliff Fire Tower
      • Scenic Hudson will be there

The Irish Cultural Center Gets a Pass to Move on to Site Plan Review

 

 

Click on the image of the map provided in the ICC’s FEAF regarding their parking waiver request.

CITIZEN CALL TO ACTION

Attend the Planning Board’s public hearing and speak to the ICC’s Site Plans and Parking Waiver.

WHEN:
Monday, April 16th, 2018
6:00pm

WHERE:
City Hall Council Chambers, 420 Broadway in Kingston

VIEW
The ICC Site Plan from March of 2018

 

by Hillary Harvey

On March 8, 2018, the Irish Cultural Center of the Hudson Valley (ICC) got a pass from the City of Kingston’s Zoning Board of Appeals to move on to the Planning Board’s Site Plan Review when it overturned another City Commission’s decision.

BACKGROUND

In what appears to be the City of Kingston’s first-ever appeal of a Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC) decision, the ICC appealed the September 25th, 2017, decision by the HLPC to deny the application a preservation notice of action, the approval necessary for the application to obtain a building permit from Kingston Building and Safety.  HLPC commissioners cited concerns

HLPC commissioners cited concerns with:

  • the width of the building
  • the proposal’s harmony with existing buildings and the desired character of the neighborhood
  • relation of the proposed building to neighboring buildings surrounding it
  • and proportion (how it fits in overall with the district)

The Zoning Board of Appeals heard evidence on the appeal and decided that the HLPC had approved the application in the past. They rendered their decision to overturn the HLPC’s decision and issue the preservation notice of action itself on March 8, 2018..

We looked for another instance where an HLPC decision was appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals in the City of Kingston but weren’t able to find any evidence of one.  The City’s Corporation Counsel together with the ICC’s lawyer determined that next step in an appeals process from their interpretation of the City’s Zoning Law for the HLPC:

§ 405-69 Appeals. 

Any person aggrieved by an action of the Commission in disapproving or limiting a preservation notice of action application and the Zoning Board’s support of such Commission action may bring a proceeding to review in a manner provided by Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules in a court of record on the ground that such decisions are illegal, in whole or in part.

What Are the Next Steps in the Process for the Public

On March 19th, 2018, the ICC returned to the City of Kingston’s Planning Board for Site Plan Review and a Parking Waiver request.  The Planning Board decided at that meeting to schedule a public hearing on those two elements of the application to be held on Monday, April 16th. 

The Site Plan has been updated to address some of the comments from the HLPC. The ICC is required by the City to provide 55 parking spaces, based upon calculations of the square footage of the building.  The ICC is offering to provide 8 parking spaces in a private parking lot next to the proposed building.  They are requesting a Parking Waiver for the remaining 47 spaces based on the availability of municipal and street parking within 400 feet of the ICC property.

Call to Action

Citizens are invited to attend the Planning Board’s public hearing and speak to the ICC’s Site Plans and Parking Waiver on Monday, April 16th, 2018, beginning at 6:00 pm. Kingston City Hall is located at 420 Broadway in Kingston.

Talking Points

PARKING:

*The ICC would be but one element of commercial activity in the Rondout.  Nearby restaurants, museums, and waterfront attractions already compete for parking.  The ICC’s proposed uses and inability to provide sufficient parking for itself would increase stress on other local businesses and Rondout economic development.

*The Rondout neighborhood is a deeply residential neighborhood where the majority of housing does not have driveways and residents rely upon street and municipal parking, particularly in the event of snow emergency parking restrictions.  The ICC would greatly increase stress on residents in relying heavily on municipal and street parking by preventing them from finding parking near their homes.

*The ICC’s proposal to use municipal lots for their parking needs would take away from mandated public access to the Marina and other water-based activities as outlined in the LWRP.

SAFETY (We don’t want the construction site to become an attractive nuisance.):

* The construction site needs to be secured with sturdy fencing or security guard every day.

ACCESS:

* Any closure of Company Hill Path will affect business and restrict public access to a National Register of Historic Places site.

LOGISTICS:

* What kind of funding do they have to complete the construction in a timely manner?
* What is their timeframe for construction?  What happens if they don’t meet the timeframe?

REQUEST:

  1. Don’t make a decision on the application on the same night as the public hearing.  The Planning Board members need time to digest the information submitted at the public hearing and in some cases, may need to conduct further research.  A vote that evening would appear to be a rush to approve the project.
  2. Deny the parking waiver.
  3. If site plan approval is granted, it should be contingent upon:
    1. No banquet hall use allowed, as the ICC promised.
    2. No noise permits granted and no outside speakers.
    3. No uses not fully enclosed in a structure allowed.
    4. Additional changes to the exterior should be reviewed by the HLPC.
    5. Only upon satisfactory answers to safety, access, and funding questions above.


Hillary Harvey is a journalist, and a zoning code activist, working for transparency and responsible development that considers the welfare of residents and small businesses. Together with her neighbors, she runs Grow the R-T Responsibly , a neighborhood collective dedicated to that cause.  A yogi and devoted traveler, she lives in an old house in Kingston’s historic Rondout district with her college sweetheart and their three muses.

Next Steps in SEQR and the Proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center in the Town of Ulster.

By Rebecca Martin

Today, the Final Scope is due to be delivered to the applicant (GlidePath) by the Lead Agency (Town of Ulster Town Board) in the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster.  Hundreds of comments were submitted over the course of 50 days, and we anticipate a copy of the Final Scope to review and to share to our readers when we do.

In the meantime, here is a 30,000-foot view of the next steps in the SEQR process to help citizens to plan.  We, of course, will continue to break each step down to the best of our ability as they occur.

 

NEXT STEPS IN SEQR
The proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster

REVIEW: Follow along and learn more detail by reading “The SEQR Handbook”

 

1. FINAL SCOPE.  The Final Scope is created by the Lead Agency to be delivered to the applicant, Involved Agencies and the public on Monday, April 2nd, 2018.

At the Lead Agency’s discretion, comments that were submitted during the Draft Scope public comment period (February 1 – March 22) may be found in the Final Scope.

What if my comments are not represented in the Final Scope?

Commenters can submit a written statement of anything missing from the Final Scope to the Lead Agency. At the applicant’s discretion, they may be included in the DEIS.

 

2. DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) is released.  The DEIS is the “primary source of environmental information to help involved agencies consider environmental concerns in making decisions about a proposed action. The draft also provides a basis for public review of, and comment on, an action’s potential environmental effects. The DEIS accomplishes those goals by examining the nature and extent of identified potential environmental impacts of an action, as well as steps that could be taken to avoid or minimize adverse impacts.”

  • The DEIS is based on the Final Scope and prepared by the applicant.
  • There is no set time-frame for when the DEIS is delivered to the Lead Agency.
  • Once the DEIS is released to the Lead Agency, they will have forty-five (45) days to determine its adequacy before either releasing it to the public or returning it to the applicant for further review.

If the Lead Agency Deems the DEIS as INADEQUATE: 

If the Lead Agency determines any part of the DEIS as inadequate, it is sent back to the applicant, “…specifying the reasons for its unacceptability.”

  • There is no time-frame for when it is to be further revised and returned to the Lead Agency.
  • Upon its return, the Lead Agency has thirty (30) days to review the resubmitted DEIS to again determine whether or not it is adequate. There is no maximum time, however, for public comment and Lead Agency consideration of the DEIS.
  • “The SEQR regulations place no limit on rejections of a submitted draft EIS, other than requiring that the lead agency must identify the deficiencies in writing to the project sponsor” 

If the Lead Agency Deems the DEIS as ADEQUATE:

The Lead Agency must prepare and file a “Notice of Completion” to announce that it has accepted the DEIS and open the public review and comment period. A copy of the DEIS, must be filed with the appropriate DEC regional office, and with the involved agencies.

  • The minimum public review period is thirty (30) days calculated from the filing date of the “Notice of Completion”.

What can the public request once the DEIS is released?   

“The public may request a longer public comment period at this time as well as a public hearing, although public hearings are optional under SEQR.  Lead Agency determines public hearings according to SEQR in the following ways.

  • The degree of interest in the action shown by the public or involved agencies;
  • Whether substantive or significant environmental issues have been raised;
  • The adequacy of the mitigation measures proposed;
  • The extent of alternatives considered; and
  • The degree to which a public hearing can aid the agency decision-making process by providing an efficient mechanism for the collection of public comments.

In addition, in determining whether to hold a SEQR hearing, the lead agency should consider if there is a need for:

  • An opportunity for broader public disclosure;
  • Solicitation of important and informative comment by certain interest groups, technical specialists, or community representatives; or
  • An opportunity for a project sponsor to briefly discuss the project and DEIS.”

3. FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Statement) “The Lead Agency is responsible for the adequacy and accuracy of the FEIS.  The applicant may be requested to prepare draft responses to some or all of the substantive comments received on a DEIS. However, Lead Agency must still review any responses prepared by the applicant to ensure that the analyses and conclusions accurately represent the lead agency’s assessment. The Lead Agency may need to edit a sponsor’s draft responses. The Lead Agency may also consult with other involved agencies, or with outside consultants, but this in no way reduces the responsibility of the Lead Agency for the final product.”

SEQR does not require a public hearing or comment period on the FEIS.  “Interested parties or agencies may choose to submit comments on a final EIS to clarify points made earlier, or to identify comments that have not been satisfactorily responded to in the final EIS. These comments could influence the lead agency, or other involved agencies, in making findings and taking final actions.”

There is such a thing as a “supplemental EIS” that “provides an analysis of one or more significant adverse environment impacts which were not addressed, or inadequately addressed, in a draft or final EIS. A supplemental EIS may also be required to analyze the site-specific effects of an action previously discussed in a generic EIS.”  This is nothing to pay mind to now, but if necessary, it is a tool for further study.

4.  FINDINGS.   The preparation of written SEQR findings is required by the SEQR regulations for any action that has been the subject of a FEIS and are made by ALL Involved Agencies.

“A findings statement is a written document, prepared following acceptance of a FEIS, which declares that all SEQR requirements for making decisions on an action have been met. The findings statement identifies the social and economic, as well as environmental, considerations that have been weighed in making a decision to approve or disapprove an action.”

When the action is not approved.

If the action cannot be approved based on analyses in the FEIS, a negative findings statement must be prepared, documenting the reasons for the denial.

When the action is approved. 

“A positive findings statement means that, after consideration of the FEIS, the project or action can be approved, and the action chosen is the one that minimizes or avoids environmental impacts to the maximum extent practicable. For an action which can be approved, an agency’s findings statement must articulate that agency’s balancing of adverse environmental impacts against the needs for and benefits of the action.

Each involved agency, not only the lead agency, must prepare its own SEQR findings following acceptance of a FEIS. Findings provide “the teeth” in the SEQR process because they articulate the basis for substantive aspects of each agency’s decision, including supporting any conditions to be imposed by the agency. Whether findings support approval or denial of an action, the agency’s reasoning must be stated in the form of facts and conclusions that are derived from the FEIS.”

When findings differ between Involved Agencies.

“Agencies involved in the same action may have entirely different findings. This can result from agencies’ differing balancing of environmental with social and economic factors, as well as from fundamental differences among agencies’ underlying jurisdictions. An involved agency is not obligated to make the same findings as the lead agency or any other involved agency. However, findings must be based on, and related to, information in the EIS record. If one agency prepares positive findings, and another prepares negative findings, the action cannot go forward unless the conflict is resolved.”

KingstonCitizens.org’s Early Years. It All Began With a Ward Group.

By Rebecca Martin

While cleaning out boxes of old materials, I came across three of the original “Ward 9 Community Group” newsletters from back in 2007.  We’ve been at this a long time.  The Ward 9 Community Group was the effort that ultimately established KingstonCitizens.org as it is known today.

Enjoy these.

 

June 21st, 2007 (Click on image for full newsletter)

Our monthly educational forum featured former Mayor James Sottile and GAR Associates to discuss the revaluation process in Kingston.   The outcome, some residents saw their taxes double within a years time.

Minutes from a prior month’s educational forum on Sex offenders and current County Laws with former legislators Frank Dart and Jeannette Provenzano as well as DA Don Williams and more.

July 19th, 2007  (Click on image for full newsletter)

Our monthly educational forum featured the historian Lowell Thing to discuss how to care and repair your historic Bluestone Sidewalk.

Minutes from a prior month’s educational forum on GAR Associates and Former Mayor James Sottile to explain the revaluation process, and more.

August 16th, 2007  (Click on image for full newsletter)

Our monthly educational forum featured then Director of SUNY Ulster Retired and Senior Volunteer Program “Volunteering in your community: citizenship can make a difference!”   The following month, we hosted the first educational forum on updating the City of Kingston Comprehensive Plan with Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Suzanne Cahill and Dennis Doyle.  There were over 100 citizens in attendance!

Minutes from a prior month’s educational forum on caring for your Bluestone Sidewalks with Lowell Thing, and more.

 

Draft Scope Comments For Lincoln Park Power Plant Project Submitted by Citizens and Coalition Partners.

TownOfUlsterCitizens.org co-founders     Laura Hartmann and Regis Obijiski today at Town of Ulster Town Hall delivering scoping comments for the proposed Lincoln Park power plant project in the ToU.
Today, out ahead of the March 22nd deadline (at 4:00 pm), TownOfUlsterCitizens.org founders Laura Hartmann and Regis Obijiski submitted Town of Ulster citizens scoping comments.   With 24 pages and 206 Town of Ulster citizen signatures, it is an incredible success.
Click on image to review document.
      Click on image to review document.

Meanwhile, Scenic Hudson generously included the coalition of partners in their scoping comments document that included new members, the Woodstock Land Conservancy and Kingston Land Trust.  The teamwork for this process has been exemplary – all for the public good.

     Click on image to review document
You can review Catskill Mountainkeeper Draft Scope comments by clicking on the image below:
Click on image to review document

 

You can review Citizens for Local Power Draft Scope comments by clicking on the image below:

 

Click on image to review document
Deadline for comments on the Draft Scope of the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center project, a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster are due tomorrow: Thursday, March 22nd at 4:00 pm.  
VIEW our facebook event for all details.

Kingston High School Junior Kira Milgrim Organizes Peers in Support of Resolution on Stricter Gun Laws.

City of Kingston High School Junior Kira Milgrim is taking a stand against gun violence.

“I’ve been involved in the Kingston Democrat Committee since the Election of Trump. I’ve come to love politics, discussion, and the fact that one voice can make a difference when heard by the right people. People coming together to speak about their thoughts and views is the definition of democracy.  But recently our democracy has been challenged by another force. The NRA has time and time again over-ruled common sense in favor of money, and corrupt politicians have followed suit. People don’t feel safe at school, or at events of any sort. Many students at Kingston High School have been eager to take some sort of action.”

Tonight, the Kingston Common Council’s Laws and Rules Committee will vote to pass to the floor a memorializing resolution “Calling on State and Federal Elected Officials to Act Now to Eradicate the Use of Firearms in Mass Shootings and Unlawful Acts of Violence”.   Milgrim’s effort will help to engage Kingston youth in civics and in support of stricter gun laws.

“As students who cannot vote, it’s important that we take part in our local government in any way possible – such as attending Laws and Rules committee meetings. It’s such an incredible statement for students to show up at a government event, and let our presence take the place of the votes.  We are excited to stand up for what we believe to be the moral thing to do. We’re tired of feeling anxious in school – that another student could get angry at us one day and replicate the horrors of the school shootings we now hear about on a daily basis.”  says Milgrim. “I’ve finally found something that can give me hope. I feel as though my voice is being heard with this stricter gun law memorializing resolution.”  

The Kingston Common Council Laws and Rule Committee will be held on Wednesday, March 21st at 6:30pm at Kingston City Hall (420 Broadway) Conference Room #1, top floor of City Hall.  The memorializing resolution is being proposed by Ward 3 Alderman and Majority Leader Rennie Scott-Childress.

VIEW the facebook event.

Kira also enjoys participating in the weekly Kingston of the Democratic Committee meetings where she has volunteered time to work on the committee’s website.

“It’s because of local government, and the adults in this community that are supportive beyond belief that I can go to Democrat breakfasts and meet the congressional candidates and get these awesome opportunities. Every student should have these same oppertunities. Everyone’s voice should be heard. There’s a whole reservoir of thoughts that is constantly being shunned from society; we students have ideas that are never shared because we have struggled to jam our foot in the door and be taken seriously.” says Kira.  “Now that we finally have, the door is flying wide open.”

Air Quality Scoping Issues and the Proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center, a Gas-Fired Power Plant in the Town of Ulster.

By Rebecca Martin

Since the Draft Scope for the proposed Lincoln Park Grid Support Center project (a gas-fired power plant in the Town of Ulster) was released on February 1, citizens have been focused on improving the document with many generous not-for-profit partners and experts who have provided support and assistance.

One of those experts is the Hydrologist / Hydrogeologist Paul A. Rubin, who spent all day yesterday at a weather station nearest to the proposed site, to create the following maps that can help us to identify air quality scoping items.

“I focused on finding and assessing data from the nearest weather station with wind velocity and direction data (available through Weather Underground: KNYKINGS15).  This Kingston weather station is approximately 13,590 ft south of the proposed emission tower (~ 2.57 miles; elevation: 138 ft msl).  I reviewed five years of weather data and selected assorted wind speeds as a basis to calculate wind/emissions arrival times outward from the proposed emissions stack, downloaded imagery data, and generated the attached maps using GIS technology.  The only difference between the three attached maps is the background base.The assorted colored circles represent example emission plume arrival times for assorted wind speeds.  Arrival of stack gases at the outer rings would require worst-case temperature inversion conditions with minimal wind dispersion.”

Air Quality Scoping Issues: Identify all potential human receptors that may inhale toxic exhaust emissions from the Lincoln Park stack under worst case weather conditions (e.g., temperature inversions). Identify all potential adverse health impacts (e.g., CO2 poisoning/hypercapnia).

1990s color infrared imagery
(Click on link or image for full map)
2016 imagery
(Click on link or image for full map)
ESRI road base map imagery
(Click on link or image for full map)