When the Kingstonian environmental assessment form (EAF) was submitted to the Kingston planning board in early 2019 to begin the project’s environmental review process, the council was listed as having two important decisions to make pertaining to the “sale or lease of land” and “closing of Fair Street Extension”.
At no time throughout this mendacious process would the Kingston Local Development Corporation be named to negotiate the sale of North Front Street or that Fair Street Extension would require an easement and be partially abandoned.
The applicant misled the public and our representatives in this instance from the start. When there are significant changes like these, they must be required to amend their EAF in order for there to be a complete and thorough environmental review to determine the mitigation of the significant adverse environmental impacts, and that includes traffic. Furthermore, the council missed an important opportunity to assert itself into the process to ask questions as an involved agency in order to gain clarity and certainty that all of the appropriate studies were done as it pertained to closing Fair Street Extension. In all of the years of my following the Kingstonian project, not once did a member of the council publicly engage in the environmental review process.
The planning board’s negative declaration is now a noose around your neck, as you are beholden to their decision that includes all of the inadequate traffic studies that they approved without your input.
What’s worse, is that the KLDC and the easement/abandonment of Fair Street Extension wasn’t on anyone’s radar because it was a tactic that was devised following the environmental review in order to keep a wealthy stakeholder from purchasing either or both the land and the street. Otherwise, had the process proceeded as expected based on the city charter, the land and the street would have been required to go out to the highest bidder.
The executive branch can spin it anyway they’d like in order to use you to achieve its goals. But there is a record of these flaws, and whether or not they are upheld in a court of law, they will forever be associated with your name as a part of this city’s reckless history.
The planning boards negative declaration and the councils decision to approve an easement for Fair Street Extension makes the direction of your vote clear to me. But I also know that there are members of the council who have real concerns about what’s taken place but not the courage to call it out.
Therefore, my request to our council is that for those who vote yes who have concerns of deceit – and that includes our council president who hides behind not having to vote – if you harbor any regret, then place that on the record to repair the public’s trust that has been deeply harmed throughout this project process and perhaps, too, to clear your conscience.
20 year Kingston resident and member of KingstonCitizens.org