Recent Flooding to Residents Living on the Lower Esopus Creek in the Town of Ulster, Town of Saugerties

In August of last year, reported on Central Hudson’s “Gas Village” training facility in the Town of Ulster that destroyed 28 Acres of Forest. The impacted community members who live next to the Central Hudson project and that are sandwiched between the CSX train tracks and Lower Esopus Creek in the Towns of Ulster and Saugerties have been organizing since then. After a recent stormwater flooding event, the group submitted the following letter to their local officials:

“Dear Mr. Quigley and the Town of Ulster Board,

Glenerie Boulevard and Katrine Lane residents experienced a major emergency on Friday, April 8th, as rainwater running off from the 28-acre deforested Central Hudson training facility site ran under the CSX tracks and flooded onto neighbors’ homes and yards — running under our properties and gushing into the already degraded Esopus Creek. The fire department could do nothing until the waters receded, and even the DEC came out to file a report.

As you can see, the water was within mere feet of reaching our cars and homes and caused damage to sheds and tools. 

VIEW: Photos and videos of the flood damage

As tempting as it might be to attribute this flooding to the 4 inches of rain that came down the night before or to climate change exclusively, the primary cause of the recent flooding was that the NYC DEP did not provide adequate storage in the Ashokan Reservoir for springtime rains. They could not increase their storage when the predicted rainfall of 3 inches increased to 4 inches. 

We are concerned that NYCDEP will provide no storage (especially this August and September), and if we receive a tropical storm, we can expect another damaging flood. The DEP had promised you that they would decrease the possibility of flooding, and we ask that you demand DEP provide the flood protection they promised.

The Central Hudson Facility project has only added to the flooding problem. According to longtime residents who have lived here for 35 years, they have never seen our streets flood like this nor seen runoff pour into the creek under their homes and so rapidly. 

And the only variable/change is the Central Hudson facility site under construction that has been clear cut and now destroyed for decades – an environmental disaster facilitated by the sale of Bread Alone’s connector parcel to Central Hudson’s headquarters. 

The exact site of the cascading flood on April 8th corresponds to the precise rock removal and the thinnest part of the tree removal line on the construction site. Clearly, the systems and streams that drain the new construction site, Central Hudson parking lot, and the Micron parking are wholly inadequate.

Currently, three existing pipes, approximately 30 inches in diameter, and the discharge from the new retention pond, flow through an undersized culvert and pipe into a small stream with deep and steep slopes. The velocity of the flow has eroded the stream banks and undermined the foundation of homes. 

The Town should have addressed this problem long ago when the Micron parking lot was constructed. The Town should require Central Hudson to construct a retention basin for the three pipes, a larger culvert beneath the tracks, and enlargement and bank stabilization of the stream into the Esopus.

This community is standing together, but our concerns are falling on deaf ears on officials at the state, county, Town, and Central Hudson levels — those seemingly only caring about the bottom line. They don’t live here, so they don’t experience the daily harmful effects they’ve approved and created. 

We are fed up with being ignored and irate since we questioned these potential dangers months ago. We demand that the multiple environmental impacts that this project has created due to the Town’s negligence be ameliorated by the Town, DEP, and Central Hudson at once before things get worse. 

Regardless of the Town of Ulster’s lack of notification to the site’s perimeter residents — (over 60% of us had no idea it was coming and indeed would have shown up in the public comment period), the Town, as the lead agency, failed in its due diligence. 

We are being affected directly as the potentially toxic flood water dumps into the creek but the thousands of neighbors downstream on the Esopus into the Town of Saugerties are being affected by this project too.

If this was an affluent community, we are convinced that a project as massive as this would cease to exist. Instead, our working-class neighborhood has been literally squeezed between two environmental disasters – the CenHud Facility and the muddy Esopus Creek due to the Ashokan releases.

Considering climate change at the very minimum, this project and ALL its impacts on the residents and our environment should have been studied thoroughly before getting anywhere near approval and a “NegDec” decision. 

Within a mere 3 months of your premature approval, Central Hudson clear-cut 28 acres of absorbant forestland, emptying the site of its porous floor and rootbed; displacing millions of birds and wildlife, and then subsequently removed tons of stabilizing rocks near the CSX tracks over four months of dynamite blasting to create retention ponds. 

And because this project was rubber-stamped, none of these actions were studied or vetted regarding their real-world impact on the surrounding neighborhood, the CSX train trackbed, and the Esopus Creek, nor the toxicity of the existing site’s soil. 

Central Hudson’s retention pond plan has failed; the massive potentially toxic runoff is running under our properties and gushing into the Esopus Creek. It seems we have endured the unending construction, blasting, vehicle noises, and inconvenience they have created for the last six months for no good reason.

In addition, the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) filed by CenHud was grossly flawed and didn’t disclose the site was within wetlands. If sustainability experts or professionals had been hired to evaluate the project, that omission would have been rectified and the situation professionally assessed — but even the site’s officially contracted developers and landscapers involved in the site planning fail to display any modern-day sustainability or permaculture expertise or interest.

Instead, your Board pushed the project through to create revenue and increase Ulster County’s tax base, and as a result:

– The DEC levied a $37,500 daily violation to CenHud for dumping waste into the Esopus Creek last November

– For those of us on well water, we may have potential drinking water contamination from toxic runoff

– Many of us experienced dust and soot downwind of the site, compromising the air we breathe 

– The CSX trains are infinitely louder because of the deforestation, disturbing residents’ sleep, and work schedules

– The millions of birds, wildlife, beneficial insects, and even bears are all displaced due to 28 acres of trees being clear cut

– 5 longtime neighbors have already moved because of the site blasting and construction noise

– Our property values have been forever affected by the site’s existence

– Legacy trees in our yards have fallen because of the four months of dynamite blasting in the rain and 10 hours of daily pneumatic hammering vibrating our houses

– Light and noise pollution from 9W traffic and the storage facility drown our dark sky and peaceful environment because the forest screening is gone… and now…

– Floods – because the retention ponds Central Hudson built and assured us would contain the runoff do not work

– Increased insurance costs and claims resulting from the damage

– Add to that, the flooding weakens the land under the CSX tracks because now there is no shale buffer, and now we have to worry about a train derailment in our front yards

As much as we like lower taxes and bringing jobs to our community, our quality of life, the environmental impact, and our property values matter more. Clearly, our adjacent residential community was not prioritized when greenlighting this project. There should have been a balance. How much more money, time, and inconvenience will it cost now to fix these situations because they weren’t adequately addressed from the onset?

Since we initially reached out in concern in March of 2020 and then again in June of 2021, when the project restarted after pandemic delays, we have been polite, respectful, and cooperative. 

We have tried to work with Central Hudson at quarterly virtual meetings (our next one is in June TBA) to make suggestions without any real significant progress to ameliorate these effects (even offering a comprehensive 10-page proposal to offset their impact on us) — but this latest event is too much and falls squarely on the Town, DEP, and CenHud’s shoulders.

Our immediate demands (paid for by the Town and/or CenHud and at NO EXTRA COST to Ulster County taxpayers): 

1. We would like a study conducted and a short-term and long-term solution implemented for how the runoff will be dealt with on Glenerie Blvd. Eastern Parkway, 9W, and Katrine Lane in subsequent storms

2. Testing of drinking water for any of us on well water

3. We would like an acoustic engineer to study what can be done in the way of landscaping or infrastructure to absorb the additional train and traffic noise, and then a solution implemented based on their recommendations

4. We would like an expert to recommend screening and planting solutions to give us back some quality of life, cleaner air, and visual privacy from the site with absolutely no more clearcutting whatsoever

5. We want CSX to inspect the tracks from the crossing at Eastern Parkway to the switching station along the Glenerie Blvd. side to make sure the flooding has not compromised their tracks

6. Demand DEP provide the flood protection they promised

7. Community benefits: We can’t safely swim in the creek or hike the forest trails now, so we would like nearby public space dedicated or donated for recreational use for our kids and dogs to offset what’s been taken. This would partially compensate for the unbelievably negative impact and inconvenience this project has had on our community. 

Your hasty approval of this project has created emergencies and environmental disasters on multiple levels. As tax-paying citizens, residents, and neighbors, we demand accountability by the Town of Ulster and Central Hudson and retroactive solutions. We look forward to your timely response before any of these situations deteriorate further. “


50+ Esopus Creek Neighbors

NYSDEC issues a Notice of Violation for Central Hudson “Gas Village” in Town of Ulster for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity

Back in August, we reported on the Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation Training Center and “Gas Village”, a new construction in the Town of Ulster. With a speedy environmental review process, the Town of Ulster Town Board determined that the project would have no significant adverse environmental impacts.

Construction on the site destroyed nearly 30 acres of forest located in the Lower Esopus Creek watershed. Complaints about stormwater, erosion and turbidity started to roll into the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and on October 29th, a notice of violation (NOV) was issued for the projects State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Permit for stormwater discharges caused by construction activity. On that very same day, another NOV was issued for another contentious local project known as “850 Route 28” also for stormwater pollution.

In the case of Central Hudson, the state wrote that, “At the time of the inspection, the water quality in the wetland was indicative of pollution from discharges from stormwater runoff related to construction activities. This is a violation of Article 17 of ECL. Please be advised that violations of the ECL are subject to penalties of up to $37,500 per day per violation.”

A final determination on enforcement is not yet known, though we are all pleased by the DEC’s initial action.

What is a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Permit?

On the NYSDEC’s website, it says that ‘”New York is rich in surface and groundwater resources”, it says on the . “Article 17 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) entitled “Water Pollution Control” was enacted to protect and maintain these valuable resources. Article 17 authorized creation of the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) program to maintain New York’s waters with reasonable standards of purity.

The SPDES program is designed to eliminate the pollution of New York waters and to maintain the highest quality of water possible– consistent with public health, public enjoyment of the resource, protection and propagation of fish and wildlife and industrial development in the state.

New York’s SPDES program has been approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for the control of surface wastewater and stormwater discharges in accordance with the Clean Water Act. However, the SPDES program is broader in scope than that required by the Clean Water Act as it controls point source discharges to groundwaters as well as surface waters”.


VIEW Central Hudson “Gas Village” training facility in Town of Ulster Destroys 28 Acres of Forest (

Demand Central Hudson make their informational meeting virtual for their “Gas Village” training facility project located next to a residential neighborhood and in the Esopus Creek Watershed

Community members in the Town of Ulster have asked Central Hudson to hold a virtual informational meeting in order to answer questions and concerns regarding Central Hudson’s “Gas Village” training facility project next to a residential neighborhood and located in the Esopus Creek watershed. They rejected that request and instead, scheduled an in-person meeting at their headquarters even in the midst of surging Covid-19 infections.

TAKE ACTION: You can support residents in the Town of Ulster to make this meeting virtual in order to be seen by more community members by contacting John Maserjian of Central Hudson Gas & Electric at:

From Town of Ulster Community members to Central Hudson:

“We appreciate your response to our request for a community meeting to address the many concerns that we have for the environment, Esopus Creek watershed water quality, long-term noise and aesthetics due to the construction of your Gas Village next to a residential neighborhood and in the Esopus Creek watershed located off of route 9W. Being in-person as well as the format however, is not what we asked for and therefore we will not be attending.

The indoor in-person meeting that you have scheduled for September 22 at CenHud Headquarters is dangerous and irresponsible given the current realities of Covid-19. Your current plans will end up excluding a large segment of our community in the same way that 60% of our community members living directly adjacent to the construction site did not receive your 2019 notification letter about the approved project or its timeline.
Regarding the immediate concerns of public health and in-person meetings, they are not ours alone. Recently, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into legislation last week a law to extend remote town meetings due to safety concerns, our neighbors in the City of Kingston just this week reinstituted remote city meetings for the foreseeable future and in a recent Ulster County update, County Executive Pat Ryan wrote, “Due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant, Ulster County reported 573 active cases of COVID-19, on August 26 – the highest number of reported cases since April.

The roving meeting format does not allow for complete transparency. This unstructured way of questions and answers facilitates sidebar conversations either muffled due to mask-wearing or inaudible to the rest of the public. Furthermore, you are forcing strangers whose vaccination status is unknown to be confined in a room for an hour or more and to walk around the room to see your displays and converse with each other. This increases risk and exposure.

If you choose to proceed despite these concerns that is your prerogative. But we request that you provide us with your construction timeline, as we asked for two weeks ago, by September 17, 2021.

Once we have that we can adequately review your plans and hold our own remote community meeting to compile town members’ and CenHud customer concerns and present those to you to address them.

Our goals are safety, inclusion, transparency, and collaboration. Respectfully, we urge you to reconsider and to make your upcoming meeting virtual. “


READ:  Central Hudson “Gas Village” in Town of Ulster Destroys 28 Acres of Forest

Central Hudson “Gas Village” training facility in Town of Ulster Destroys 28 Acres of Forest

By Rebecca Martin and Tanya Garment

Last week, we met a resident who lives on Glenerie Boulevard in Lake Katrine. Her home is sandwiched between the Lower Esopus Creek and the CSX train tracks.  We got the call because of the ongoing muddy releases in the Lower Esopus Creek and offered to come and look to see the creek from her property. 

In December of 2020, she had witnessed the massive muddy pollution released into the Lower Esopus from the Ashokan reservoir first hand during an unprecedented storm event. A mix of rain and snow melt resulted in 63 billion gallons of water flowing into the Ashokan reservoir during a 48-hour period, making it one of the largest runoff events in the history of NYC’s water supply. 

The releases turned the Lower Esopus into a thick chocolate milk colored mess, and the harms to the creek have been ongoing throughout the spring and summer months. Furthermore, our area has experienced heavy rains this year, leading to the Town of Ulster recently issuing an alert that more releases from the Ashokan reservoir were to be expected.  New York City had measured the rainfall in July to be 5.31 inches at the reservoir, more than the area typically receives for the entire month and falling into the 90th percentile conditions for runoff.  

Climate change is no longer some future existential threat. It is here, now. 

During our visit, we learned about a recent clearing of nearly 28 acres of forest between 9W and Glenerie Boulevard.  “It’s now a huge hole in the ground and none of us were informed it was even happening, “ she said. With the daily dynamite blasting, residents complained and were finally given an auto bot call an hour before and loud horns moments before each incoming blast.  Residents reported damage to their foundations and roofs.  

“What is it?” we asked.  Turns out, it’s a large training facility and Gas Village project for Central Hudson. How did we miss this?

When we left, we made several calls to local advocates to find out if they were familiar with the project. Most were as surprised as we were. After some digging, we learned that Central Hudson purchased property in this area to the south. For the present project, they purchased a separate 56 acres from Carriag Properties, an apparent Callanan Industries affiliated entity and needed a 1+ acre lot line adjustment from Largay LLC (Bread Alone) to connect the two parcels.  The lot line adjustment occurred in 2019 at the Ulster Planning Board and Town Board together with site plan approval. No one appeared at the public hearing. At that time it appeared from the Town minutes that various residents were focused on Glidepath (a fossil fuel project that was proposed in the Town of Ulster that we, along with residents, NGOs and county representatives, were able to transition into a battery storage proposal outcome).

Residents who own property on Glenerie Boulevard are faced with three serious environmental and economic harms: Muddy pollution from the Ashokan Reservoir into the Lower Esopus Creek;  a freight train that carries hazardous materials (such a Bakken crude oil); and now, deforested lands that many believe has displaced thousands of animals in order to build a Central Hudson training facility and outdoor gas ‘village’. Where are the Town of Ulster representatives? Where is the county?

The Town of Ulster is notorious for bad planning and projects that are shortsighted and potentially harmful to their community and our area at large.  They were nearly successful in selling the City of Kingston’s drinking water supply back in 2014 (Niagara Bottling Company) and welcomed a fossil fuel power plant a few hundred feet from a residential neighborhood (Glidepath).  Luckily, both projects were forever changed for the good by the hard work of local advocates. 

Unfortunately, with the Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation Training Center’s speedy environmental review process completed some two years ago where the Town Board as lead agency found that the project would have no significant adverse environmental impacts and made a determination of nonsignificance within a month’s time. It’s anyone’s guess what the residents living nearby can expect.  

This project caught us by surprise, so there is a lot of catching up to do. It’s uncertain what long game strategies there can be. But in the short term, Town of Ulster residents should demand that the Town Board implement environmental oversight of any future developments.  

The Town of Ulster is one of the few municipalities in Ulster County that has rejected the implementation of a Conservation Advisory Council (CAC). CAC’s are important bodies created by a municipal board to advise local agencies on development, management and the protection of natural resources. Even though residents have asked for and offered to participate in a CAC for nearly a decade, the town board, led by Supervisor James Quigley did not support it.

In June of this year, graduate students from the Center for Environmental Studies at Bard College alongside the volunteer advocacy group presented the results of a gap analysis of strengths, opportunities and recommendations for funding options for enhanced resilience in the Town of Ulster, a framework that was taken directly from the Climate Smart Communities initiative. The group was hoping that the town would join the more than 248 municipalities throughout the state and take the Climate Smart pledge.  Quigley refused the request to work with and aid the Bard students in preparing the Gap Analysis, then rejected working with residents to pursue their recommendations. The town board agreed.

Additionally in June, the Town of Ulster – one of the impacted communities on the Lower Esopus Creek – declined to submit comments to the New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation during the public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on behalf of their constituents. Again the town board, led by Supervisor James Quigley, did not support it.

There is an election this fall, where Supervisor Quigley is up for re-election. Without anyone running against him, he is sure to win another four years. There are also two town board seats up for grabs, but they, too, haven’t any real competition. It is so important that we nurture new leadership in the Town of Ulster.  If you are a resident there, consider challenging future elections. They have it in mind to keep passing the baton to those who think like the current administration does.  Get in there.

TAKE ACTION:   In the short term, Town of Ulster residents are encouraged to join members of to insist that the Town of Ulster take the Climate Smart pledge. Residents can also demand that the town initiate a Conservation Advisory Council in order to help shape good protections for its remaining natural assets.  Consider asking them how you can run for office in your town.  Contact:

A Timeline of Transactions: Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation Training Center

1982-1983: Callanan Industries buys land located at N.Y.S. Route 9W and Eastern Parkway in the Town of Ulster. The Covenant is not mentioned in these documents that turns up later on.  

10/25/12: NOTORANGE, INC. & Mary A. Orange sold land to Largay LLC (Bread Alone) for $10.00.  The land is also mentioned later in the Lot Line Revision Map.

1. Callanan Industries sells the 56.43 acres to Carraig Properties.

  • 6/4/18: Contract for sale from Callanan Industries Inc. to Carraig Properties LLC.
  • 7/31/18: Callanan Industries Inc. sells 56.43 acres of land to Carraig Properties LLC. for $70,000

2. Central Hudson starts preparing for their application by having an Existing Conditions map drawn and then a lot line revision map based on a plan to swap land with Bread Alone.

3. The application is submitted. Bread Alone is not yet under contract with Central Hudson, but is helping, by signing a consent letter, that is submitted along with the applications/site plan/etc.

“The Applicant, Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation, is proposing to construct a 40,351 square foot Training Academy that will feature offices and classrooms, a separate 31,358 square foot indoor training area and an outdoor gas ‘village’ containing (6) 120 square foot residential training buildings, (1) 800 square foot commercial training building, (1) 240 square foot apartment training building, and simulated electric transmission and distribution pole yards. A 41,550 square foot Electric Transmission and Distribution Primary Control Center will be developed adjacent to the proposed Training Academy. The site will tie into an existing municipal water main and a request to extend the existing municipal sewer district will be made to allow connection to an existing sanitary sewer pressure line. The buildings will utilize proposed parking areas on the north and south of the Training Academy and Primary Control Center providing 226 parking spaces. The project area is a 56.51 acre wooded site located on New York State Route 9W and Eastern Parkway. The project area is situated in Highway Commercial (HC) and 1-Family Residence District (R-30)  Zoning Districts. A 1.8 acre land swap with the adjacent site, Bread Alone (Largay, LLC), is also proposed.”

  • 3/12/19:  Date on the Existing Conditions document prepared for Central Hudson
  • 5/2/19: Proposed Lot Line Revision Map “revised” to finalize subject boundary (as listed on map)
  • 5/16/19: Proposed Lot Line Revision Map revised to revise wetland (as listed on map)
  • 7/30/19: Date of Submission Letter addressed to the Planning Board. Did they obtain (or need to) a zoning variance for the 1-family Residence district portion? (need to look at zoning code and ZBA agendas and minutes)

“The applicant, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, is seeking site plan, special use permit and lot line realignment approval for the development of a 56.51-acre parcel located in the Highway Commercial HC) and 1-family Residence (R-30) zoning districts. The proposal includes a 1.8-acre land swap with the adjacent Bread Alone site to allow Central Hudson to access the proposed Training Center, Primary Control Center, Training Annex and outdoor training facilities through their site.”

Submitted with this letter

  • Site Plan
  • FEAF Part 1 with attachments and Draft Part 2 and 3; The Proposed Action from the Environmental Assessment Form; 

4. The State Environmental Quality Review (SEQRA) process and public hearing are wrapped up in about 2 months.

  • 8/15/19: The Town of Ulster initiates Lead Agency status in the SEQR Type 1 Action – Coordinated review
  • 9/19/19: The Town of Ulster Town Board issues a Negative Declaration in SEQR.   REVIEW resolution (page 17)

“WHEREAS, the Town of Ulster Town Board, as Lead Agency issued a SEQRA Negative Declaration on September 19, 2019 on the Proposed Action (Lot Line, Site Plan and Special Permit)…”

  • 10/3/19: Special Permit public hearing.  REVIEW resolution (page 17)

“WHEREAS, the Town of Ulster Town Board…opened and closed its Special Permit public hearing on October 3, 2019…”

5. Carraig Properties LLC sells 56.43 acres of land to Central Hudson.

  • 12/10/19:  Having gone to contract just 2 1/2 months after the Callanan Industries/Carraig Properties sale, Carraig Properties LLC. sells 56.43 acres of land to Central Hudson for $630,000, nine times the price they paid.   In the deed, the land has a covenant that prohibits “overburden” (a term that in this case is a product of mining).

Did Callanan Industries know that this was (evidently) purchased to sell to Central Hudson?  Would that include clear cutting?

Central Hudson purchased a large piece of land, which the subdivision map calls “Glenerie Lake Park”, from Carraig Properties LLC (who, as per the 7/31/18 deed listed above, held the deed for less than a year after purchasing it from Callanan Industries LLC).  This piece of land had a covenant attached to it (that may prohibit clear cutting) that prohibits “overburden” (a term that in this case is a product of mining), which was also in the deed from it’s previous sale, less than a year prior. 

6. “Land Swap” is documented in 7/30/19

“…Land swap with the adjacent Bread Alone site to allow Central Hudson to access the proposed Training Center, Primary Control Center, Training Annex and outdoor training facilities through their site.”

7. The Lot Line Revision Map is stamped “filed”

8. Bread Alone and Central Hudson essentially swap two small pieces of land, to connect Central Hudson’s older land and newer land, as was planned in the second steps.

  • 3/4/20: Sharon Burns-Leader, co-owner of Bread Alone signs the Lot Line Revision Map, as an owner (also see consent letters on the Application for Preliminary Subdivision Plat Approval
  • 3/9/20: Lot Line Revision Map stamped “Filed”
  • 9/30/20: Contract for sale from Largay LLC (Bread Alone) to Central Hudson 
  • 9/30/20: Contract for sale from Central Hudson to Largay LLC (Bread Alone)
  • 12/02/20: Largay LLC (Bread Alone) sells 1.7 acres to Central Hudson for $100,000
  • 12/02/20: Central Hudson sells 1.8 acres to Largay LLC (Bread Alone) for $100,000
    • Central Hudson already owned land, just below the Bread Alone Land. In order to connect their old land with their new land, Central Hudson traded a section of their new land with a section of Bread Alone’s land.
    • Business transactions between Largay LLC (Bread Alone) Bank of Greene County are also listed on UC Deeds filed on the same date (12/22/20)