Last evening, the Kingston Public Safety Committee passed a resolution to support Bill A9831a sponsored by Assemblyman Skartados, “an act to prevent the construction of pipelines to transport hazardous substances or petroleum on property under the jurisdiction of the New York Thruway Authority.”
Kate Hudson of Riverkeeper gave a presentation of the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline project as well as an explanation of the bill and the timeliness of its passing.
The committee’s swift action was in part to act in time to send Kingston’s support to the NYS Legislature before their 2016 session ends in June. The resolution will come up for a full council vote next week.
In a memorandum from his office, the justification for the bill states that:
“An oil or refined petroleum pipeline constructed to longitudinally occupy the New York State Thruway would present a significant danger to the state’s natural lands, waters, population, economy, and tourism. A pipeline incident along the Thruway resulting in the leakage of oil or refined petroleum would have a significant and costly impact on adjacent residential communities, endangered habitats, open spaces, forests, farmlands, streams, aquifers, wetlands, scenic vistas, and water sources, including the Delaware and Catskill Aqueducts that supply water to New York City. An incident would pose a threat to drinking water and thereby impact businesses, local economies, and the health and quality of life of the people in the affected area. A pipeline incident would harm the endangered and threatened species that live along the Thruway, which include the red shouldered hawk, wood turtle, barred owl, bobcat, and Indiana bat. “
33:25 – 34:50
Gwen Sorenson, Owner of Stone Soup, Midtown Kingston
34:56 – 37:20
Hillary Harvey, Kingston NY Reading testimony from Michael and Therese Drapkin
Residents and business owners in Kingston, NY
37:22 – 39:12
Owen Harvey, Kingston NY
39:15 – 40:37
Pam Blum, Kingston NY Views reflect many of their neighbors
41:00 – 44:32
Richard Frumess, Resident (Rondout) and Business Owner (Midtown, Kingston)
44:36 – 45:16
Joanne Myers, Kingston NY
45:20 – 46:26
Lynn Johnson, Kingston NY
46:40 – 48:20
Ken Gruber, Kingston NY
48:21 – 50:35
John Grosswald, Kingston NY
50:40 – 54:08
Joe Leoni, Tillson, NY
54:18 – 58:37
Dr. Adam Soyer, Kingston NY
58: 38 – End of Video
Renate Soyer, Kingston NY
00:00 – 3:10
Renate Soyer, Kingston NY
(Continued from Video #1)
3:38 – 5:05
Mary Cavanagh, New Paltz, NY
5:10 – 7:12
Mark Porter, Kingston NY
7:29 – 14:35
Elmer LaSewr, Kingston NY
14:38 – 19:15
Marco Ochoa Representing Latino Community
19:16 – 24:37
Pat Courtney, Resident and Business Owner, Kingston NY
24:52 – 26:37
Artie Zapell, Kingston NY
26:40 – 27:50
Michelle Hirsch, Kingston NY
27:52 – 29:17
Michelle Whittacker, Kingston, NY
30:00 – 34:30
Jay Martin, Accord NY
34:31 – 36:40
Stephanie Nystrom, Kingston, NY
Resident and Business Owner
36:49 – 38:33
Scott Harrington, Hurley NY
Kingston business owner
38:55 – 40:42
John Reinhardt, Kingston NY
40:50 – 44:33
Joan Horton, Kingston NY
44:39 – 48:50
Lorraine Farina, Kingston NY (Clarifies Shooting Range info in Albany shared by Dr. Adam Soyer in his early testimony)
49:10 – 51:49
Robert Fancell, Kingston NY
51:50 – 54:12
James Childs, Kingston NY Representing the Board of Education
54:20 – 57:36
Sue McConachy, Kingston NY Business Owner
57:38 – End of Video
Nardia Bennett, Kingston NY
00:00 – 2:02
Nardia Bennett, Kingston, NY
2:20 – 5:30
Joe Pugliese, Kingston NY
5:35 – 8:30
Linda Hackett, Kingston NY
9:02 – 12:25
Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Kingston NY
12:28 – 13:50
14:45 – 17:58
Nina Dawson (Ward 4)
Has concerns about amending the law. Supports tabling amending the law.
18:02 – 18:22
Dan Gartenstein explains procedure.
18:23 – 20:57
Maryann Mills (Ward 7)
Discussed broken process. If law isn’t amended, the city will have to stop ceremonies/events such as memorials or re-enactments.
20:59 – 24:00
Lynn Eckert, Chair and Dan Gartenstein
– Asks for a motion.
– Maryann Mills makes a motion to move on Deb’s language to amend the law.
– Lynn Eckert reads the amendment. VIEW TEXT
– Deb Brown seconds the motion.
– Lynn Eckert opens it up for discussion.
24:00 – End of Video
– Bill Carey brings up Bill Forte’s comments regarding ceremonies, etc was not included in Deb Brown’s text. There might be issues or exceptions to consider.
– Bill Carey asks Dr. Adam Soyer a question.
– Dr. Adam Soyer’s council Michael Moriello speaks. He believes the current law is unconstitutional “on its face.”
– More discussion between Bill Carey and Dan Gartenstein.
– Steve Schabot (Ward 8), what can we expect as a time frame? Dan Gartenstein answers. Month to month.
– Doug Koop clarifies are we amending or tabling? Doug Koop states that he is against amending the law.
– Deb Brown “This is a commercial area. It is not residential.”
– Maryann Mills states the city is about to update all of its zoning as per the Comprehensive Plan which was newly adopted.
She states she has read comments such as “If the shooting range were proposed to be in a more affluent part of Kingston, it would never occur.” She disagrees.
– Maryann Mills “There is an art of shooting. Where better place for it to be then in our art community. The art of shooting joining our arts area.” (33:50 – 34:00)
– Nina Dawson continues debate. As a mother, she has to look at the other side of things. Sorry that Dr. Soyer has had to wait for an answer, but feels that location is questionable. How can we not review Jennifer Schwartz Berky’s comments?
– Mike Moreillo speaks to his memorandum.
– Dan Gartenstein explains process.
– Nina Dawson “What if some of us don’t want to vote on the amendment tonight?”
– Lynn Eckert, Maryann Mills, Dan Gartenstein discusses process.
– Deb Brown “Why did you have me write this, then?”
– Maryann makes another motion to move the amendment through committee.
– Dan advises the committee tables.
– Discussion between Bill Carey, Maryann Mills on items missing from amended text.
– Nina Dawson on the amendment.
– Committee votes. Maryann Mills and Deb Brown in favor. Bill Carey, Doug Koop and Lynn Eckert are opposed.
– The amendment fails.
– More discussion, confusion on the vote.
– Lynn Eckert “there was an opportunity to table, but noone took it.”
– Meeting is adjourned.
THIS EVENT WILL BE FILMED thanks to Kingston News. Brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.
What: Laws and Rules Committee
Where: Kingston City Hall 420 Broadway Kingston, NY
When: Tuesday, April 19th 2016 Sign-up to speak at 6:45pm.
Public Comment starts at 7:00pm
The Kingston Common Council Laws and Rules Committee will start the discussion on amending the City of Kingston’s Firearms Law (Section 223-3) that prohibits the discharge of guns within the City limits for any purposes other than self-defense or the discharge of official duties. Those members of committee who are in favor of an amendment are likely to want to include “Indoor Shooting Ranges” as a new condition, in light of a proposal to create
a Shooting Range and Gun Shop on Prince Street in Midtown, Kingston.
Please arrive at 6:45pm to sign-up to speak. Public comment will begin at 7:00pm.
Residents should prepare a statement in advance that includes stating their name, where they are from and be no more than 3 minutes in length. Please show respect to your fellow neighbors and elected officials this evening.
If you are a Kingston resident, consider calling your elected officials beforehand to share your opinions, concerns, etc.
LAWS AND RULES COMMITTEE
Lynn Eckert, Ward 1 Alderwoman and Committee Chair
Deb Brown, Ward 9 Alderwoman
Maryann Mills, Ward 7 Alderwoman
Bill Carey, Ward 5 Alderman and Majority Leader
Doug Koop, Ward 2 Alderman
COUNCIL NOTABLES ON THE SUBJECT
Jim Noble, President common council
Nina Dawson, Ward 4 Alderwoman
If you do not see your ward noted here, please visit this LINK for more information.
Yesterday, we learned that the proposed shooting range proposal slated for Midtown, Kingston was to be placed on the Finance Committee agenda for discussion today (Wednesday, 4/13). If you are like us, that’s barely enough time to plan to attend for an issue that might be of interest. All of our schedules are thrown to get there within 24 hours. But this is the way our council has outwardly communicated with the public for as long as we can remember, making it very hard for citizens to engage.
At last March’s Public Safety/General Committee meeting, the shooting range proposal was also placed on the agenda. But unlike today, the agenda was never made public which means, citizens couldn’t plan to attend at all. Dr. Adam Soyer, however, who is proposing the shooting range along with his supporters were in attendance. The discussion therefore, had only the potential of being one-sided.
A small group of citizens, however, respectfully pressed for one and ultimately, the planning board obliged. In December of 2015, the first public hearing was scheduled and many good points were raised.
VIEW public comment from December’s public hearing on the proposed shooting range.
Testimony from this hearing revealed that a shooting range inside of Kingston is actually illegal. Kingston City administrative law 223-3 specifically prohibits the discharge of firearms. “No person, other than in self-defense or in the discharge of official duties, shall willfully discharge any species of firearm within the city limits of the city of Kingston, New York.”
There are other concerns for our Planning board to contemplate on Monday. Regardless, the purpose of zoning is to uphold “the protection and promotion of the public health, safety and welfare” of a community. Decisions of a Planning and Zoning board are not based on opinion. Their role is to uphold the law and the law clearly states that discharging a firearm is illegal in the City of Kingston except under very specific circumstances.
Facebook users expressed sadness – and confusion, too, over the announcement. How could this happen when there’s several hotels being built nearby? New hotels means business is good, right? Then there were a small handful of others who said the community who scared off Niagara bottling and its host of proposed jobs deserved this and/or was cursed. We could have used those jobs – especially in light of the Macy’s closure, right? Well, no.
While the Niagara plant proposal (and its subsequent demise), retail store closures and new hotel construction seem to be disconnected events, I would assert that they are all driven by a single, powerful – and possibly unstoppable – force: you.
As reported in great detail in the pages here, the proposed Niagara Bottling plant at Tech City was an exhaustive, emotional affair that resulted in a positive transformation of the community – especially in regard to increasing transparency.
The proposed project triggered the gathering of a strong, and unified majority that stood up against the proposal. Partnerships were formed between community groups. Meetings were held, and events staged – all lubricated by social media.
Citizens gathered and found common ground, which ultimately morphed into a single voice that clearly said this was not a suitable project. Clean, safe and readily available drinking water belongs to the people first.
It was awe-inspiring because citizens themselves made this happen. You made this happen.
Unfortunately, Niagara picked up and moved its project just two hours away, to Bloomfield, Conn. And now that community is trying to sort through many of the same issues that Kingston struggled against.
One of the key issues of the Kingston project was that of transparency and properly informing the public. How could Niagara strike a deal with city officials so stealthily? Why wasn’t the proposed project presented to the public earlier? What happened? Where’s the watchdog?
By Rebecca Martin UPDATE: Kingston did it! Both the City of Kingston Mayor and Kingston’s Common Council (unanimously) voted to send letters to both the NYS DEC and Thruway Authority. VIEW the letters.
Because Involved Agencies have been waiting for some resolution of the disagreement, expressed by 29 towns, cities and counties, with Thruway’s November 21, 2015 proposal that it serve as sole lead agency, some might have thought that the co-lead agreement between DEC and Thruway was final. But it isn’t. It is simply 2 involved agencies making a new proposal for who should serve as lead agency for the environmental review of Pilgrim Pipelines project. SEQR regulations require that all involved agencies be given the opportunity to respond to this new proposal, which they can choose to consent to or reject.
Furthermore, the reasons cited by 29 Involved Agencies that rejected the NY Thruway Authority’s proposal to be Lead Agency in the SEQR process in the first go-round : that Thruway stands to gain monetarily from Pilgrim Pipeline to use their right-of-way and that they are not equipped or experienced in managing an environmental review process for such an incredibly large and complicated project, remain true.
The bottom line is that the NY Thruway Authority’s bid to take on the lead agency role was overwhelmingly rejected to begin with and yet they are still in the running. Also perplexing is that on the NYS DEC’s own website, they dissuade co-lead roles in SEQR and instead advise that “a single lead agency be established with the other agency actively involved in the process but not as co-lead agency” and for good reason. What would occur if the two leads differed in opinion somewhere down the line? Which agency would trump the other for a decision to be made?
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) decision to share the environmental review responsibilities with the NYS Thruway Authority for the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline project was a big disappointment to us all at KingstonCitizens.org.
“The three cities who are “involved” in this proposal – Kingston, Newburgh and Albany – all rejected the Thruway Authority’s request.” said Rebecca Martin, Executive Director of KingstonCitizens.org. “We count on the DEC to uphold their responsibility to protect the environment and our public, and a co-lead in an environmental review process is not a good compromise. From what I know, it is an unprecedented decision and in my opinion, the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal is the wrong project to test out a shared leadership role. We need the lead to be fully unbiased and do not accept one that shares to gain monetarily in anyway. How is the public to trust that it isn’t tainted otherwise?”
When we were looking to purchase a car, it was important to us to find not only one from a company that was environmentally friendly, but also in an age of better technology, to purchase a car that had lower emissions while doing better on gas milage. Of course, an electric car is perhaps the way to go, however the choices currently are limited for what we need, and very costly too.
So we opted for a Volkswagen (VW) Diesel which promised as we understood it lower emissions and up to 40 mpg + on the highway.
As the world now knows, cars like ours are being recalled. “It’s been dubbed the “diesel dupe”. In September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that many VW cars being sold in America had a “defeat device” – or software – in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance accordingly to improve results. The German car giant has since admitted cheating emissions tests in the US.” according to a report by the BBC.
When I first learned of this, I called my dealership in Kingston straight away – requesting to surrender the car. I didn’t want to be driving around with an engine “emitting nitrogen oxide pollutants up to 40 times above what is allowed in the US.” But due to it being a lease and with low mileage, I was told that VW wouldn’t take ours back. That it was “cheaper to fix a newer model then it was to replace it.”
THIS JUST IN: A new public hearing on the Microbead Ban will occur on 1/19/16 and vote by full legislature sometime before the end of January. It has been tabled for tonight. More information coming soon. But please plan to attend to encourage the legislature to pass the remaining three other resolutions.
For the past month, KingstonCitizens.org has been following and working towards the public being more aware of the importance to understand the impacts in Kingston of both the Pilgrim Pipeline and proposed Microbead ban proposal – all up for vote tonight at the Ulster County Legislature Meeting located at 244 Fair Street, 6th floor in Kingston. Public comment will begin at 6:30pm. * THIS JUST IN: Plan now is for new public hearing on 1/19/16 and vote by full legislature sometime before the end of January. TONIGHT’S vote will only include the below three resolutions.
We have attached information below on each of the resolutions with some key points for you to research before you speak. Please keep your speech to 3 minutes or less.
8:03 – 10:00
Introduction of Proposed Shooting Range project. New information regarding the application including a membership makes it not possible for the planning board to take an action this month. The planning board will reconvene a public hearing on January 11th, 2016 meeting.
10:05 – 17:02
Scott Dutton of Dutton Architecture and Dr. Soyer
On Monday, December 14 at 6:00pm (VIEW KingstonCitizens.org’s Facebook event invitation) , the Kingston Planning Board will host a public hearing on the Proposed Shooting Range project. The sponsor of the project Dr. Adam Soyer, an orthopedic surgeon from Kingston, is looking to build a membership based indoor gun range and gun shop at 90 and 92-94 Prince Street by next fall. The range would be meant for mostly short-range handgun target shooting, with a plan that would host five lanes for shooting as well as a room for education and a gun shop. It has been reported that gun rentals may also be available.
The concerns of citizens who are opposed to the project include not only questioning whether or not the location – in the heart of midtown – is best suited for a shooting range where many renters, businesses and schools are located, but also environmental factors such as proper lead disposal (known as “projectiles” or ammunition), safety/quality of life issues such as potential stray bullets, gun sales and rentals and the upcoming adoption of Kingston’s Comprehensive Plan and an imminent citywide zoning overhaul that will follow to clarify the highest use of property in our Midtown area based on years of public input.
After the Lead Agency determination deadline on December 16th, KingstonCitizens.org urges the community to stay informed on the many upcoming phases of the SEQR review for the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal as it pertains to Kingston. We are anticipating a large scoping effort next. Please SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST, and join our growing citizen base to become better informed, educated and effective.
The following quotes were crafted by Iris Marie Bloom from Coalition Against Pilgrim Pipelines (CAPP):
Last night, the Kingston Common Council passed a memorializing resolution rejecting the Thruway Authority’s request to be Lead Agency in SEQR for the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline proposal.
“I’m thrilled it passed unanimously,” said Julie Noble, Chair of the Kingston, New York Conservation Advisory Council, after the Kingston Common Council’s 9-0 vote last night.
Where: Kingston City Hall 420 Broadway Kingston, NY
When: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 Sign-up to speak at 7:20pm. Common Council meeting begins at 7:30pm. Public comment starts at around 7:35pm.
Why: The Kingston Common Council votes to pass through a resolution denying the Thruway Authority’s request (or not) for Lead Agency in the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) regarding the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal. Requests, instead, that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) assume the role.
TIMELY ACTION: Please attend the next Kingston Common Council meeting on Tuesday, December 1st at 7:30pm and sign-up to speak in support of the City of Kingston passing a resolution that rejects the Thruway Authority’s request to be Lead Agency in SEQR for the Pilgrim Pipeline proposal and, that the DEC take on the role of Lead Agency instead.
On November 16, 2015, municipalities in NYS that are ‘Involved’ agencies in the Pilgrim Pipeline SEQR process were informed by the Thruway Authority (by letter) requesting to be Lead Agency. With only the allowed 30 day window to respond (which, in this case, would be December 16th, 2015) – hardly any time at all – municipalities are forced to have to act swiftly. At this early stage, all appear to be in agreement that the Thruway Authority should not be leading the environmental review process and that instead, the DEC should take on that role.