Kingston Alderman Questions Demolition of Potential Historic Properties in Kingston.

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 6.58.10 PM

By Rebecca Martin

Today, Ward 3 Alderman Brad Will issued a communication to the Common Council regarding his concern of the potential demolition of what are  potentially significant historic properties in Kingston. The public is invited to attend the next Common Council meeting on Tuesday, May 5th to voice in on the following information. To view KingstonCitizens.org’s Facebook invite on the upcoming meeting, please visit our FACEBOOK page.

###

Having reached out to residents who are experts in the field of historic preservation, please note the following:

Attached find two reports prepared by an ACRA-Accredited archaeologist for the NYS DOT in 2002, and two current real estate market estimates.  There is some discrepancy of physical address between tax roll, Ulster GIS, and the reports, but none regarding the historical significance of both properties – constructed ca. 1810-1830.  Note on page two of each report that the subject property “meets eligibility criteria” for inclusion on both State and National Historic Registers, and that each “embodies the distinct characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction; or represents a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction.”

These two structures should be saved – along with others that we will be asked to appropriate funds for destruction.  They are two hundred year old structuresthat speak to Kingston’s history – they should and can be preserved.  Properties should be re-marketed to eligible buyers (individuals or organizations) for reasonable asking prices that facilitate and encourage their preservation.  Clear and attractive identifying signage should be placed at the properties that state they are City-owned and for sale.  Absent these steps, Kingston risks losing much credibility of the marketing message stating that “Historic Is Just Our Beginning.”

Equally important will be the City developing comprehensive and public-accessible criteria to evaluate not only the structural integrity – but also the historic value and status – of any property that is being considered for demolition.  This means the City has to do its homework with SHPO, DOT, the County, Heritage Area Commission, Friends of Historic Kingston, and any other entity that may offer valuable information regarding a given property’s status.

Thanks,

Brad Will
Alderman, City of Kingston

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 6.57.58 PM

FROM THE CITY OF KINGSTON TOURISM WEB PAGE:

Tourism

“The City of Kingston is nestled in the heart of Ulster County, New York. It is 91 miles north of New York City and 59 miles south of Albany. Kingston was New York’s first capital in 1777, and was burned by the British on October 16, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga. In the 19th century, the city became an important transport hub after the discovery of natural cement in the region, and had both railroad and canal connections. Passenger rail service has since ceased, and many of the older buildings are part of three historic districts, such as the Uptown Stockade District, the Midtown Neighborhood Broadway Corridor, and the Downtown Rondout-West Strand Historic District.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 6.57.38 PM

UPSTATER ARTICLE, EXCERPT – DECEMBER 8, 2014:

Historic is Just Our Beginning – But We’re Not Just Getting Started

“Here in Kingston we say, “Historic is just our beginning,” but when it comes to historic preservation, we aren’t just getting started. We know that when people are looking to move to a city like Kingston, back to a place where population has declined over the years as factories closed or the shift took place toward the suburbs, they look for historic areas first.

“We have historic districts in Uptown where the original Stockade was established — along West Chestnut Street with grand views of the Rondout and the Hudson — and in the Rondout near the waterfront. But now we are taking steps and taking stock in our historic assets so we can plan for the future and expose our past.” – Gregg Swanzey, Director of Economic Development & Strategic Partnerships, City of Kingston

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 6.57.21 PM

Majority and Minority Leader ‘State of the City’ Addresses 4/7/15

Great speeches last night.  We appreciate the hard work of our common council.

Now you can watch at your leisure.   Thanks to Kingston News for making this possible and available.

Majority Leader Matt Dunn (Democrat)
“We will give the City of Kingston a voice for the potential sale of our water outside of the City limits.”   (20:30 – 21:42)

 

Minority Leader Deb Brown (Republican)
“(Washington Avenue Sinkhole) We are doing our due diligence and making sure all aspects of this major undertaking is done in the proper sequence. This is not a problem that happened overnight…to coordinate this project with the consultants, funding, grants, government entities, the bidding process, construction companies, easements, regulations, mother nature and unexpected failures is a major undertaking. We all want it to be done right the first time, not having to be looking over our shoulder going into the next decade. We are an old city with old infrastructures.”  (1:00 – 3:40)

12/2/14: Common Council Meeting Allocation of $25k for Council Representation

3:21 – 10:50      “We are not an Involved Agency”.  Against the $25,000 allocation.
Andrew Champ-Doren, Kingston, NY

11:03 – 16:03       DPW Budget
Michael Schupp, DPW      Kingston, NY

16:14 – 19:33    Police Department Budget
Chief Tinti, Kingston, NY

19:40 – 23:39        Parks & Recreation
Kevin Gilfeather, Kingston NY

23:50 –  25:51         “The Mayor is my hero.”
Ellen DiFalco    COK’s Mayor Office Administrative Assistant

25:58 –  27:40        Against the $25,000 allocation
Rev. Arthur Cost, Kingston NY

27:49 – 30:43
Doris Edwards, Kingston NY

30:55 –  33:03     “Where there is a balance of power the cost of government goes down.”
Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Kingston NY

33:20 – 39:17    Miscellaneous
James Richter

39:35 – 44:18      Pilgram Pipeline concern
Elizabeth Broad, Kingston NY

44:30 – 45:52      Against $25,000 allocation
Donald Julliard, Kingston NY

46:01 – 46:55
Phillip Guerrieri

 

#227 Resolution
Allocation of additional funds to hire a lawyer.

27:20 – 54:41
Common Council members debate. The resolution is defeated 5 – 4.

 

Support the Kingston Common Council on December 2nd.

The Kingston Common Council will discuss allocating $25,000 for their own municipal lawyer. 

On several occasions, the City of Kingston’s Corporation Council – hired to represent the City as a whole – has seemingly worked against the Kingston Common Council. Most recently regarding the Niagara Bottling Company and the City being included as an ‘Involved’ agency in SEQR.

Members of the Kingston Common Council have decided that it was in the publics best interest for a municipal lawyer to work specifically with the Council on matters when the Corporation Council does not cooperate.

With at least a year left under the current administration, it is unfortunate that the council is forced to go this route – but it’s important that they do. If you agree, please come to the Kingston Common Council meeting on Tuesday, December 2nd in support of their efforts.Kingston citizens, show your support with the Kingston Common Council allocating  $25,000 budget line in the 2014 budget to hire a separate municipal lawyer to represent our Common Council whenever deemed necessary. Public comment starts shortly after the meeting begins at 7:30pm. 

If you are not able to attend the meeting, please consider sending this letter or one of your own via email to:

SUBJECT: I support the Kingston Common Council Decision to Legal Representation.

ToJames Noble, Alderman-at-large commoncouncil@kingston-ny.gov
CCMatt Dunn, Majority Leader  
ward1@kingston-ny.gov
Deb Brown, Minority Leader 
ward9@kingston-ny.gov
Mayor Shayne Gallo 
sgallo@kingston-ny.gov

My name is xxx and I am a Kingston City Resident residing on xxxx.

I am writing in support of the Kingston Common Council placing $25,000 in the 2014 City Budget towards a municipal lawyer that specifically responds to the needs of the Council whenever they deem it necessary throughout the budgeted year.

Thank you.

Insightful Letter to the DEC from Town of Woodstock Supervisor Jeremy Wilber

By Rebecca Martin

The attached letter was written by Town of Woodstock Supervisor Jeremy Wilber who shares solid arguments as to why the DEC should be Lead Agency in SEQR for the proposed Niagara Water Bottling project.  In contrast for me,  it raises more concerns as to Kingston Corporation Council Andy Zweben’s recent letter also to the DEC. Where are his loyalties placed?

Luckily, Kingston’s Common Council are asking the same questions and will vote on a Memoralizing resolution in support of the COK being an ‘Involved Agency’ in SEQR on Tuesday, November 4th.

Read more…

SPEAK DURING PUBLIC COMMENT ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4th At 7:30pm: In Support of Kingston’s Common Council Being Listed as an ‘Involved Agency’ in SEQR.

WHAT KINGSTONCITIZENS.ORG BELIEVES:

The Niagara Bottling Company’s proposal must be thoroughly evaluated for its environmental and economic impacts on our region. It is premature and irresponsible to agree to sell our water before due diligence is performed.

Read more…

IMPORTANT MEETING / IMPORTANT VOTE: Kingston Common Council on November 4th at 7:30pm

content_Kingston_City_Hall_2

WHAT
Kingston Common Council Meeting

WHEN
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
7:30pm

WHERE
Kingston City Hall
Council Chambers
420 Broadway
Kingston, NY

WHY
The Kingston Common Council will vote to pass through two important memorializing resolutions. The first in support of the DEC as Lead Agency of the SEQR process for the proposed Niagara Bottling Company. The second in support of the City of Kingston being listed as ‘involved’ agency in the SEQR process.  READ: SEQR: Interested vs. Involved Agencies

Read more…

City of Kingston: Water Supply Permit and Water Supply Applications of 1954 & 1929.

FOIL Request DEC
By Rebecca Martin

Recently, we reached out to the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) to see if we could receive a copy of the most recent Water Supply Permit by the City of Kingston.  They asked that we FOIL (NYS’s Freedom of Information Law) for their records, which we did.

Read more…

What to Expect: October 7th Common Council Meeting in Kingston – Public Comment Session

Kingston's Cooper Lake reservoir in drought in 2012, where the water levels were down 12.7 feet.
Kingston’s Cooper Lake reservoir in drought in 2012, where the water levels were down 12.7 feet.

 

VIEW the post on KingstonCitizens.org
VIEW the event invitation on Facebook

WHAT
Kingston Common Council Meeting
Public Comment

WHEN
Tuesday, October 7th at 7:30pm

WHERE
Kingston City Hall
Council Chambers (top floor)
420 Broadway (across from the Kingston High School)
Kingston, NY

###

By Rebecca Martin

It’s great to see so many residents and neighbors planning to attend the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, October 7th to speak or to simply be present on the proposed Niagara Bottling Co. project.

As you know, the Niagara Bottling Co. project came out of the blue for most everyone with an early article in the Times Herald Record (September 10th) and shortly after, making front page news in both the Daily Freeman and Kingston Times.  From the proposal presented by Peter Romano of the Chazen Company to the Town of Ulster Planning Board on September 16th, Niagara Bottling Co. expressed their desire to begin their build in 2015. In doing so, they would be using the City of Kingston’s Cooper Lake to bottle and to sell as well as scouting out other ‘spring’ sources in Ulster County and beyond. The project was approved to be sent for a SEQRA review with the Town of Ulster Town Board taking the lead. A resolution was granted on 9/18/14 – just about the time the public became aware by the media.  Romano’s presentations were not on either agendas posted by the Town of Ulster.

Because of the swiftness of it all, KingstonCitizens.org prepared a Facebook event so that the public could go in front of the Common Council as soon as possible.  Although our passion for the subject is a no-brainer, this effort also illustrates how important it is to the people for transparent processes to be a priority for all local municipalities.  Local officials, take note.

(It may be necessary to do the very same thing at the next Town of Ulster Town Board meeting, too.  Their next Town Board meeting is on Thursday, October 16th at 7:00pm.  Public comment appears to occur later in the meeting. Stay tuned).

 

WHAT TO EXPECT. WHAT TO DO

1. ARRIVAL: We expect a very large turnout. The meeting begins at 7:30pm, so please plan to arrive early (7:00pm) so to find parking, to sign-up to speak when the list becomes available and to get a seat. It’ll be standing room only.

2. KINGSTON COMMON COUNCIL: It appears that the Common Council were caught off guard as much as we were. Many, if not most, are as concerned too. As a first step, lets work with the council in finding a solution by including an action that you wish the Council to take that is well within their jurisdiction and abilities. We want them to come back to the table with an action in response to the public’s requests. 

In Kingston, those that issued the ‘will share’ was City of Kingston Superintendent Judy Hansen of the Kingston Water Department. As an independent board, The Mayor of Kingston is the only public official who is a member. Ward 2 Alderman Brian Seche was given the role as council liaison, though it is unclear if he ever attended a meeting. The council, unfortunately, was never alerted.

Suggested Actions to request:

– For the Common Council to organize a public hearing/debate with city officials and guest speakers (such as Food & Water Watch).

– That a resolution be drafted to protect groundwater and Kingston’s surface water (Cooper Lake) from being being sold to private companies to bottle and to sell.

3. PUBLIC COMMENT: The public is taking advantage of the council meeting “public comment” period where anyone is able to speak. On his evening, we will be discussing Niagara, the use of Cooper Lake, and other items.  As per council rules,  council members “are not allowed to engage in debate during this period.”   If the project gets any further, there will be time for debate and more. That’s a promise.

3. COMMENT LENGTH: Because of the number of people who will want to speak on the 7th,  we ask that you come prepared with a statement. What is typical is that a speaker is given 3 minutes each. Try to keep it to that length and as noted above, consider ending with an action that you wish the Kingston Common Council to make that is in their jurisdiction.

4. THOSE IN FAVOR…:  Jobs will be the argument made by those who attend in favor of the Niagara Bottling Co. project.  For those who wish to, please prepare facts to counter.

5. FILMING: The public comment period will be filmed.

If you have further questions, please send them along to Rebecca Martin: rebecca@kingstoncitizens.org

 

Kingston Citizens: Niagara Bottling Company Project. YOUR WATER IS IN PLAY.

NiagaraWaterPkg
Click on the image to view the film “tapped” that examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil.

 

By Rebecca Martin

We have recently created a Facebook invitation for the next Common Council meeting on Tuesday, October 7th.  Please consider coming to speak during public comment (at the beginning of the meeting) on the proposed Niagara Bottling Co. plan to bottle and sell Kingston City Water.

The timing here is crucial, given that the group has apparently been in private talks with City officials for several months. Media reports say that they are planning to get moving as early as 2015.

 

Read more…

KingstonCitizens.org presents “Exploring the Role of Kingston’s Common Council” on May 28th at 6:00pm.

 

1530592_606337079416206_300093879_n

KingstonCitizens.org to host a public educational forum and discussion, the second in its series, called “Exploring the Role of Kingston’s Common Council” on Wednesday, May 28th at the Kingston Public Library 55 Franklin Street, in Kingston NY from 6:00pm – 8:00pm.  Panel guests include Alderman-at-Large James Noble, Majority Leader and Ward One (1)  Alderman Matt Dunn and Minority Leader and Ward Nine (9) Alderwoman Deb Brown.

Kingston, NY –  The city of Kingston has a total of nine wards, each having a single representative to act on their behalf. The “Alderwoman or Alderman” (the role of the ‘common man’) carries a two year term and collectively, acts as the city of Kingston’s legislative body that is also as the  “Common Council”.

KingstonCitizens.org is pleased to present, the second in an ongoing educational series on civics in Kingston, a public forum discussion called “Exploring the Role of Kingston’s Common Council” on, Wednesday, May 28th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Kingston Public Library located at 55 Franklin Street in Kingston, NY.  All are invited to attend.

Guest panelists include James Noble, Alderman-at-Large; Matt Dunn, Majority Leader (Democrat) and Ward 1 Alderman; and Deb Brown, Minority Leader (Republican) and Ward 9 Alderwoman. The group will discuss their roles and relationship to their ward, constituents, council and collaboration with those at Kingston City Hall.

The evening will be co-moderated by Rebecca Martin, founder of KingstonCitizens.org and Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Principal at Hone Strategic, LLC and the former Deputy Director of Planning at Ulster County.

This event will be streamed courtesy of Kingston News.

For more information, contact Rebecca Martin at: rebbytunes@earthlink.net

VIEW: “Lessons in Civics” by KC.org:  What are City Manager / City Administrator Forms of Government? 

###

Our Moderators

About KingstonCitizens.org: KingstonCitizens.org is a non-partisan, citizen-run organization focused on relevant and current issues about Kingston, N.Y and working to foster transparent communication by encouraging growing citizen participation.  The founder of KC.org and evening co-moderator Rebecca Martin is a world renowned and critically acclaimed musician who has 25 years of experience as a manager, community organizer and activist.

About Jennifer Schwartz Berky, Principal at Hone Strategic, LLC:  Berky, the evening’s co-moderator, has over 25 twenty years of experience in the fields of architecture, conservation, economic development, and urban planning in the non-profit, government, academic and private sectors. Prior to launching Hone Strategic, she served as Deputy Director of Ulster County Planning for over seven years, where she was the lead researcher and liaison to the Ulster County Charter Commission. Before moving to Ulster County, she worked in Washington, DC at the World Bank and Urban Institute, at the University of Rome (Italy) and as a project manager of design and construction for New York City’s major cultural institutions. Berky has lived for extended periods in Argentina, Chile, France, Israel, Italy, and Spain. She earned a B.A. in Art History from SUNY Stony Brook and Masters’ degrees in Urban Planning (M.Phil.) and Real Estate Development (M.S.) at Columbia University, where she is also currently completing a Ph.D. in Urban Planning on the subject of environmental economics.