City of Kingston City Hall
Council Chambers (Top Floor)
After general announcements and introductions, the first order of “regular business” includes public speaking for any planning related topic. Please plan to keep your comments to 2 minutes or less to accommodate more speakers.
SIGN THE PETITION
In the meantime, if you are a Kingston resident or business owner, please sign the PETITION to request a Pos Dec and 90-day scoping period.
By Rebecca Martin
On Monday, March 18th beginning at 6:00pm, the Kingston Planning Board is anticipated to accept their role as Lead Agency for the proposed Kingstonian Project, a Type 1 action in the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). As Lead Agency, they will make a Positive (Pos) or Negative (Neg) Declaration (Dec) determination for the project.
This is a critical moment in determining what the public review process will be for this project going forward. A transparent and inclusive SEQR process is the public’s rightful opportunity to address important concerns in a comprehensive manner. It also establishes a strong framework for communication among government agencies, project sponsors, and the general public. This is NOT a campaign to stop a development. This is about ensuring that whatever gets built benefits the Kingston community to the greatest extent possible and that adverse impacts are avoided or mitigated.
WHAT TO REQUEST?
The Kingstonian Project requires a positive declaration in SEQR.
“Upon reviewing the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) as a record before the Planning Board as Lead Agency, we have identified a number of POTENTIAL significant impacts. Therefore, as required by 617.7(a), the Board should issue a Positive Declaration and the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for this project.”
A Positive Declaration is “a determination by the lead agency that an action may result in at least one potential significant environmental impact and so will require the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before the Lead Agency decisions may be made regarding the action. The Positive Declaration starts the EIS process.”
Request a 90-Day Public Comment Period for Scoping and a public meeting.
With the recent changes in SEQR Regulations, a “Pos Dec” immediately triggers a public scoping process, which is the process by which the issues to be addressed in the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) are identified by the applicant or involved agencies. Members of the public are encouraged to participate.
The EIS will examine ways to avoid or reduce adverse environmental impacts (including those on historic resources) related to a proposed action. This includes an analysis of all reasonable alternatives to the action.
This is a large and complicated project that will test the infrastructural capacity of Uptown Kingston in multiple ways and no doubt impact the community character. Involved agencies such as the Planning Board, Kingston Common Council, and Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission will need several months to complete their reviews. KingstonCitizens.org is asking for 90-day public comment period and a public meeting for the scoping process.
Scoping has six objectives:
- focus the draft EIS on the potentially significant adverse environmental impacts;
- eliminate non-significant and non-relevant issues;
- identify the extent and quality of information needed;
- identify the range of reasonable alternatives to be discussed;
- provide an initial identification of mitigation measures; and
- provide the public with an opportunity to participate in the identification of impacts. The project applicant must provide the Kingston Planning Board (lead agency) a draft scope who in turn would provide a copy to all involved agencies and make it available to anyone who has written to express an interest in the project.
KingstonCitizens.org will outline next steps after the March 18th meeting.
JOIN our Facebook event for the upcoming Kingston Planning Board meeting on March 18th.
READ: Petition: Kingstonian Project and SEQR – Positive Declaration and Scoping
READ: Curious what a public scoping meeting looks like? View this post to learn about KingstonCitizens.org’s recent full-day event that helped to combine citizens questions/concerns into a great scoping document for the Lincoln Park Grid Support Center. Their work, in part, helped to encourage the project to change from a fossil fuel project to an estimated $20 million dollar renewable one.
That’s what a good SEQR process can help to do.
TIMELINE FOR LEAD AGENCY AND POS/NEG DEC DETERMINATION: What we know now.
1/22/19: The Kingston Planning Board passes a resolution for the Kingstonian Project as a Type 1 Action and Coordinated Review process. They also request Lead Agency of the SEQR process for the project.
1/24/19: City of Kingston Clerk’s office stamp ‘received’ on resolution.
1/29/19: According to Suzanne Cahill, the City of Kingston Planning Director, the resolution is distributed to all of the Involved Agencies in the Kingstonian Project who have 30-day time period to approve the Kingston Planning Board as Lead Agency (any involved agency can reject a lead agency request, however – must be willing to fill that role if they do so).
2/28/19: Lead Agency 30-day window closes.
3/1/19: 20-day window begins for Lead Agency to make a Positive or Negative Declaration (Pos or Neg Dec) in SEQR for the proposed Kingstonian Project.
3/18/19: Kingston Planning Board holds monthly meeting. Anticipated acceptance of Lead Agency followed by a pos or neg dec determination.
3/20/19: Pos/Neg dec determination 20-day window closes.