VIDEO: Special Kingstonian Meeting 6/3/19

“The purpose of tonight’s meeting is for the planning board to determine specific areas/studies which we believe will be critical for the decision making process with regard to the Kingstonian” – Wayne Platt, Chair of the Kingston Planning Board

At last night’s special Kingstonian meeting, the mood was oddly calm.  In about 1 1/2 hours, the planning board and applicant moved through their plans of what studies would be required in order for the board to make a determination of significance (pos or neg dec).  Outside of the planning board chair, only two members of the board posed any questions to the applicant, though they voted unanimously to pass a resolution for studies.  The applicant will provide its studies to the planning board for distribution in early July. A meeting will be scheduled for September for the planning board to make a determination or, to request more information from the applicant.

Here’s a quick summation of the key points from the meeting:

  1. The planning board as lead agency presented potential impacts to the applicant submitted by New York State (State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Department of Transportation (DOT)) as the key potential impacts for the applicant to study.  The Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC), also attached, we learned was being ‘deliberated’ and therefore, any recommendations that they made (outside of any similarities to SHPO) were not included in the planning board’s resolution.
  2. The pedestrian bridge that connects two buildings on Fair Street (not to Herzog’s Plaza) was voluntarily removed from the project design.
  3. Of the 420 parking spots, 290 of them will be designated to the city and 130 will be for the project specifically. An allocation of some spaces within the Kingston Plaza will be made available for employees and/or residents that want a second car.  Additional parking discussions are being had regarding a multi-use building near Dutch Village.  Once SEQR is complete, the applicant will ask to waive the 1 1/2 car per apartment clause in Kingston’s zoning because there’s a municipal lot and two nearby properties controlled by the applicant nearby.
  4. The applicant will be responsible to build and operate the parking garage and to charge rates that are compatible with other public parking in the area.
  5. It is unclear how the planning board will implement the relevant public  concerns including affordable housing requirements and Kingston’s comprehensive plan, the overlay zoning confusion and community character (outside of visual impacts as it pertains to community character) as they were not raised last evening.

It appears as though the applicant and planning board as lead agency are doing their own version of scoping (as predicted in earlier months) to bring the project to a neg dec come September.  As a coordinated review, the planning board’s decision on the environment will apply to all of the involved agency’s discretionary decision making once SEQR concludes (a neg dec) going forward.

Tune into Radio Kingston today at 4:30pm. KingstonCitizens.org Radio will discuss what happened at last night’s meeting.

 

 

6:39    Concerns raised by NYSHPO.  Visual Impacts, facade, etc.

24:45  Concerns raised by the NYSDEC.  Protections of waters, wetlands, cultural resources, endangered species, sewer/water.

38:21   Traffic demand and impact analysis (NYS DOT)

51:10   Regarding the Kingston Common Council as an Involved Agency “….we can’t do anything with the Common Council taking action until a determination of significance is made under SEQR so any discussions have been preliminary at they point, but this is a coordinated review for SEQR so though that documentation has been sent to the Common Council, they’re free to comment during the pendency of SEQR…”

This is precisely what the Kingston HLPC provided, also an involved agency, in their letter submitted to the planning board back in March. Their concerns were mostly disregarded last evening due to recent ‘deliberation’.

 

0:00  The planning board states that they would rather not comment on the Kingston Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission letter at this time.

“Is this the official comment of the HLPC or are they still debating?”  (Jacobson)

“I believe that there’s still some debate going on with that.” (Platt)

“There’s a question about deliberation on that.” (Cahill)

“Are we going to get more input from them regarding these comments?”  (Jacobson)

“Correct.”  (Cahill)

“This is the preliminary letter that is part of the public record right now. It’s available for folks to see on our website, but there is some further deliberation going on by the HLPC and we’re waiting for further comment from them at this time.” (Platt)

“Is it time to make comments on architectural aspects of the project?” (Jacobson)

“I think it’s ok that we comment on architectural comments outside of what the HLPC recommends.” (Platt)

9:56:  Timeline for studies to be done for a determination to be made. 

“What do you believe would be an appropriate timeline to get all of these studies together?” (Platt)

“Early July.” (Larios)

“Joint meeting in September?” (Jacobson)

19:30:  Resolution read into the record VIEW

“The City of Kingston Planning Board in review of the Kingstonian Development LLC….along with a portion of fair street extension determining specific areas/studies which the planning board believes to be critical for their decision making process….one, a visual impact study with points as defined below the recommendations followed in the SHPO letter that was provided an archeological report and geotechnical report which includes plants and animals identified potential endangered species, a water supply report, sewer report, wastewater report, traffic impact analysis with parking demand and delivery applications for demolition HLPC notice for preservation and green technologies / energy efficiency and a timeline anticipated section – that the following location points will be examined for a visual impact analysis of the project…the appropriate agencies will be notified and materials will be posted on the city website that this meeting will be reconvened…” (Platt)

“The resolution doesn’t just limit us to these items, correct? I mean, if we get these materials and want further study we have the ability?” (Jacobson)

“….the following studies/reports to be submitted for further review and final determination on any environmental significance and or supplemental information that this board deems necessary…” (Platt)

VIDEO: SEQR 101 Public Educational Forum

 

By Rebecca Martin

On Tuesday, May 21, KingstonCitizens.org in partnership with the Kingston Tenants Union hosted a public educational forum on SEQR 101.  Video from our event was created by The Kingston News brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.

The event’s AGENDA is available with valuable links to resources on page two.

Thanks to Jennifer O’Donnell for bringing her knowledge and experience on the subject to our community.

 

VIDEO #1 

What is SEQR?  
* Purpose (12:17)
* Environmental Factors (15:40)
* What is an “Agency”? (19:11)
* What is an “Action”?  (20:54)

SEQR Processes and Procedures
* SEQR timeline and process  (24:00)
* When does the SEQR process begin?  (34:18)
* Who starts SEQR?  (36:54)
* Classifying the Action: Type II, Type I, Unlisted  (37:12)
* Avoid Segmentation (43:52)
* Type II Action (49:25)
Type I Action (52:24)
* Unlisted (53:26)
* Establishing Lead Agency (55:15)

VIDEO #2

* Establishing Lead Agency (continued) (00:00)
* Coordinated  Review (and Uncoordinated Review) (5:00)
* Determination of Significance: Negative or Positive Declaration? (9:36)
* Environmental Assessment Form (10:20)
* Part 1: Project Information (10:49)
* Part 2: Identification of Potential Project Impacts (11:03)
* Part 3: Evaluation of Impacts (12:01)
* Determination of Significance (17:55)
* Criteria for Determination of Significance (19:20)
* Substantive and Literal Compliance (19:40)
* Evaluate Impacts in Context (21:32)
* More on Determination of Significance (27:00)
* Conditioned Negative Declaration (Unlisted actions only)  (27:16)
* Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)  (27:55)
* EIS Process (33:05)
* Scoping (33:30)
* Draft EIS (35:17)
* Public Comment (35:30)
* Final EIS (36:31)
* Generic EIS (37:33)
* Findings, File and Provide Notice, Final Decisions, SEQR Compliance (40:25)
* Recent Changes to SEQR (41:16)
* Questions and Answers (52:40)


VIDEO #3

* Questions and Answers (Continued)  (00:00)

VIDEO: Kingstonian Proposal Informational Meeting at the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The Kingstonian proposal will appear on the Kingston Planning Board Agenda on December 17th at 6:00pm.

 

By Rebecca Martin

In what was a ‘coordinated review’ of sorts, project spokesman Joseph Bonura and members of JM Development Group LLC gave an informational meeting at the City of Kingston’s Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC). It’s smart, because by meeting with our HLPC early – they will benefit by getting feedback on the proposal before their review process begins. This not only saves time in the long run, but it puts their best foot forward by starting off with a more realistic project in one of our historic districts. Already the project has improved by doing so – and we would expect that it will continue to go in the right direction with the input and guidance of our historic professionals.

The Kingstonian project will be on the agenda of the next Planning Board meeting on Monday, December 17th (new business) Items #11 and #12.  AGENDA

Video from last evening was made by The Kingston News, brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org.

 

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…

VIDEO: City of Kingston Police Commission Meeting 11/15/17

The following video was captured from yesterday’s City of Kingston Police Commission Meeting on November 15th, 2017.  Brought to you by KingstonCitizens.org thanks to the Kingston News.

Thanks to the City of Kingston for moving the meeting to council chambers so to accommodate more citizens that evening.

Video #1:  City of Kingston Police Commission: PUBLIC SPEAKING (Click on image to review video)

 

Video #2:  City of Kingston Police Commission: Debate
(Click on image to review video)

Video #3:  City of Kingston Police Commission: Fabian Marshall Describes Incident
(Click on image to review video)

A More Democratic Approach to Public Meeting Discussions in the City of Kingston.

By Hillary Harvey
hillary@kingstoncitizens.org

The Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission (HLPC) recently chose to change its format to allow the public an opportunity to participate on applications in real time, creating a more democratic format for both the applicant and the public. The changes provide a model of a more participatory meeting format that all City of Kingston boards, committees and commissions  might consider applying.

Currently, in the City of Kingston, the majority of committees and subcommittees offer public speaking at the discretion of the committee chair.  It is possible to reach out to the chair ahead of a meeting to let him/her know that citizens would like time to present comments or questions.

Read more…