Waterfront Advisory Committee Minutes 02/07/07

A meeting of the Waterfront Advisory Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Wednesday, February 7, 2007 in the Municipal Building.

                  MEMBERS PRESENT:      Chairperson Fran Allen
                                                Ann Gallelli
                                                Charles Kane
    ABSENT:            Stuart Greenbaum
Leo Wiegman

                     ALSO PRESENT:              Vita Rhodes, WCC Member
Daniel O’Connor, P.E., Village Engineer
1.  Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M. by Chairperson Fran Allen.


Chairperson Allen told the committee that Stuart Greenbaum from the WCC was unable to attend the meeting tonight but has reviewed the project and has provided his comments to her via email. Chairperson Allen distributed to the WAC members Mr. Greenbaum’s comments.  Ms. Rhodes said that she is attending the meeting tonight as a representative of the WCC.  

Chairperson Allen showed Ms. Rhodes a colored rendering of the railroad tie removal project site.  She noted that a black & white version of this colored rendering was sent to the WAC in their packets.

Chairperson Allen noted that the WAC has received the Short Environmental Assessment Form and the Coastal Assessment Form for this project.  Also, as part of the packet of materials, the WAC received the two reports from Hudsonia, Ltd. and the report from the United States Military Academy at West Point.  

Chairperson Allen said that, having reviewed the materials, there was not much of any discussion in the materials about where, during the removal process, the railroad ties would be temporarily stored and for how long. She would think that the Village would want to have more definitive information on where they would be stored and when they would be removed.  Ms. Gallelli thought that this was a legitimate issue to raise. The Village would want to know, for example, if the individuals in charge of this project are going to wait until they have piled up all 1,000 of the railroad ties before taking them off site.  The Village Engineer said that, as he understands it, a certain number of ties would be extracted from the bay each day.  Once the ties come on shore, they would be picked up and stacked in the roll-off container. The temporary storage area would be the roll-off container on site.   Chairperson Allen asked how the individual ties would be picked up and put in the roll-off container.  Mr. Kane told Chairperson Allen that he has been in contact with Metro North regarding this matter.  A pay loader would be used to pick up the ties and place them in the roll-off container. Mr. Kane noted that this equipment belongs to Metro North and they (Metro North) would be operating the equipment.  

Chairperson Allen said that it is her understanding there would be a 20-ton minimum per truckload. If this were the case, how many truckloads would there be?  Ms. Gallelli said that a truckload would consist of 33 ties at approximately 300 pounds per tie. The total number of truckloads would, therefore, be 7.

Ms. Rhodes asked where they would dispose of the railroad ties. Mr. Kane said that they would be taken to the Superior Green Tree Landfill.  

The Village Engineer asked what the size of a railroad tie is, to which Mr. Kane said 7” x 9” x 8’6”.

Chairperson Allen asked how long the project would take, to which Mr. Kane said that he does not know exactly how long it would take.  It would be done in the fall.  Mr. Kane noted that how long it would take also depends on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).  Ms. Gallelli said that this project is going to be a training exercise for the Department of Defense.  She would think that, due to the fact that this project would be a military exercise, it would probably be done quickly.  The Village Engineer pointed out that this exercise of removing the ties from Croton Bay has to correspond with the tide(s) schedule.  The window of opportunity would be relatively short.  The project would have to “hit the fall window and the tide window.”

Mr. Kane noted that the military program under which this project falls is known as the Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training Program.

The Village Engineer asked where the money would be coming from to dispose of the railroad ties, to which Mr. Kane said Metro North. They would be providing a sum of $18,000 for the project.

The Village Engineer wanted to know if 300 pounds is a saturated weight or the normal weight for a railroad tie.  The ties being removed from Croton Bay would be saturated with water.  He (the Village Engineer) would think that, even if the ties were wet, it would be better not to wait for them to dry out but to get them off site as soon as possible.  Hopefully the ties could be removed within a week.  The Village Engineer noted that the Echo Canoe Launch would have to be closed off while the project was underway.  Mr. Kane said that he would think that the boat launch would have to be closed for public safety reasons.

The Village Engineer noted that when the project is complete, 1,000 ties would still be left in Croton Bay.  There are a total of 2,000 ties in the bay, and 1,000 are being removed.  The Village Engineer asked if the ties would be removed at random.  How do they decide which ones would be removed?  Mr. Kane said that he would think they would want to make a channel for boats to pass through, so they would be clearing out an area for that purpose.  Mr. Kane noted that there might be a possibility of removing all of the railroad ties from Croton Bay.  He would be in touch with the Village of Ossining regarding this matter.  Mr. Kane noted further that the Village would also have to contact the U.S. Military to see if they could allocate the time. Ms. Gallelli said that there might be reasons why it would not be a good idea to remove all of the railroad ties from Croton Bay. It is her understanding of the current project that they would be focusing on those railroad ties that could be easily removed.  Ms. Gallelli noted that the Croton Bay railroad tie project was originally envisioned as an aesthetic project.

The WAC reviewed the Coastal Assessment Form (CAF) for this project.  Mr. Kane referred to question 13(b) on page 2, “Will the action be directly undertaken, require funding, or approval by a federal agency?”  The answer given to this question is “Yes.” Question 13(b) also asks, “If yes, what federal agency?” The federal agency listed in question 13(b) is the US Department of Defense.  Mr. Kane thought that, along with the US Department of Defense, the Village might also want to include the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE).  Ms. Gallelli asked if the ACOE was an Involved Agency under SEQRA, to which Mr. Kane thought that they were.  They are included in the Village’s list of Interested and Involved Agencies.  Chairperson Allen stated that, if the ACOE were an Involved Agency, then they should be included in question 13(b).  Ms. Gallelli said that she would think that if the ACOE were considered an Interested rather than an Involved Agency, then they would probably not be included.  Mr. Kane surmised that, in so far as approval by a federal agency is concerned, any disturbance to the environment of this nature would require the ACOE’s approval.  Ms. Gallelli noted that whether or not the ACOE is listed in 13(b) the ACOE is going to receive the documentation on the railroad tie removal project, and the ACOE will make a determination as to whether or not their approval is required.  The WAC ultimately decided not to include the ACOE in the list for question 13(b).    

Mr. Kane referred to question C2(c) on page 2,“Will the proposed action have a significant effect upon scenic resources of local or statewide significance?” The answer given is “No.”  Mr. Kane thought that the answer should be “Yes” because the removal of the ties would have a positive effect on the local scenic environment.  Mr. Kane noted that the answer given to question C2(b), “Will the proposed action have a significant effect upon significant fish or wildlife habitats?” is “No.”  He questioned whether the answer should be changed to “Yes.”  Chairperson Allen thought that the answer could be “Yes.” It could then be explained in Section D of the CAF how the impacts to the environment would be minimized.  It could be stated that the project would be undertaken in the fall. This would assure that there would be no disturbance to fish spawning in Croton Bay.  Mr. Kane noted that it could also be stated that, according to the Hudsonia Study, the macroinvertebrates would not be affected.  Macroinvertebrates are a food supply for fish.  Ms. Gallelli said that she would think that the answer could remain “No” and then give, as an explanation, the reasons that have just been stated.  In either case the explanation given is what is important.  The Village Engineer pointed out to the WAC members that another way of minimizing the environmental impacts of removing the ties is the floating dock method being used.  This should also be included as part of the explanation in Section D. The WAC decided to change the answer to C2(b) to “Yes” with the reasons just stated.  The WAC also concluded that C2(c) should be “Yes.” The explanation would be that the removal of the ties would have a positive effect by significantly improving the aesthetic appearance of Croton Bay.

Mr. Kane said that he thinks the answer to question C2(f) on page 3, “Will the proposed action have a significant effect upon the scenic quality of the coastal environment?” should be “Yes.” The answer should be “Yes” because the removal of the railroad ties would have a positive effect on the scenic environment.  The Village Engineer said that, likewise, the answer to question C2(j) on page 3, “Will the proposed action have a significant effect upon existing or potential public recreation opportunities?” could also be “Yes.”  The removal of the ties would have a positive effect on existing and future recreation.

Mr. Kane referred to question C5(a), “If project is to be located adjacent to shore, does project require a waterfront site?” Mr.Kane said that he thinks the answer should be “Yes” because the project requires a waterfront site to launch the boats.  Chairperson Allen said that she would also answer “Yes” to question C3(a) on page 3, “Will the proposed action involve, require or result in physical land along the shoreline, land under water or coastal waters?”  Mr. Kane agreed that the answer to this question should also be “Yes.”  The proposed action involves, and requires, a boat launch area along the shoreline at Croton Bay.

Mr. Kane noted that the answer given to question C8(c) on page 4 “Will the project involve transport, storage, treatment or disposal of solid waste or hazardous materials?” is “No.”  Mr. Kane thought that the answer should be “Yes.”  Mr. Kane said that it is his understanding that railroad ties are classified as construction & demolition (C&D) materials, to which the Village Engineer said that this is, indeed, the case.  Mr. Kane said that the answer to question C8(c) should, therefore, be “Yes.”  It should be stated in Section D of the CAF that these materials are being disposed of by Waste Technology Services, Inc. (WTS), a professional waste disposal company providing the safe and lawful transportation and disposal of waste materials.  

Mr. Kane referred to Section B11 on page 2, “Describe nature and extent of action.”  He thought that this section should be extended to include a sentence regarding the disposal of the dredged ties.  The WAC decided to add the following sentence at the end of B11:  “The ties will be removed from the site using a safe and legal method.”

Chairperson Allen stated that the WAC needs to decide tonight whether to find this project consistent with the Village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) policies.  She asked the WAC if they found the project to be consistent.  She noted that, if necessary, the WAC could discuss, tonight, the policies enumerated in the LWRP.  Ms. Gallelli said that she thinks it would suffice in this case to say that there are no policies with which it (this project) is inconsistent.  The WAC members all agreed   

Chairperson Allen entertained a motion to find this project consistent with the Village’s LWRP subject to the WAC’s changes/additions to the CAF, discussed tonight.  The motion was made by Mr. Kane, seconded by Ms. Gallelli and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.  

Chairperson Allen asked if the WAC would (also) support the Village Board’s intent to be the Lead Agency for this project.  The WAC members agreed that the Village Board should be the Lead Agency.

Chairperson Allen said that she would put together a response to the Village Board and email it to the other WAC members for review and comment.   

Chairperson Allen referred to Mr. Greenbaum’s comments on this project. Mr. Greenbaum had no objection to the project moving forward.  She noted that he said in his email to her that he would prefer the floating dock method of removing the ties because he thought it would be an expeditious and inexpensive method of removal.   

Mr. Kane said that he would like to recommend some changes to Section D of the CAF.  He would like to add the following wording to the end of the first sentence in the second paragraph:  “…due to navigational hazards and visual blight.”  In the last sentence of that paragraph the words “impact to” should be added so that the sentence reads “…After a number of years of testing impacts to both benthic macroinvertebrates and the bird population…”.  In the third sentence of the third paragraph the word “where” should replace the word “there” to read “…where the tie and tie fragments…”.  Finally the first sentence of the fourth paragraph should be changed to read as follows:  “It is intended that this project will occur during the fall to have minimal impact on bird and young of the year anadromous species populations.”   

Chairperson Allen told the WAC members that the WAC secretary and she would develop a draft memorandum and circulate it to the WAC via email for review and comment.  She noted that the memorandum would have to be submitted by the end of the workday on Wednesday, February 14th to be on the Village Board agenda for their meeting of Tuesday, February 20th.


Chairperson Allen noted that, with respect to certain Village projects that have come before the WAC, the WAC has made preliminary findings with the intent that, when more information was available, these projects would come back to the WAC for a final consistency review.  She gave as examples the proposed DPW facility at the 1A Croton Point Avenue site and the Nextel monopole project.  Chairperson Allen said that she would want the WAC members to know the status of these projects.  She would want to be assured that these projects were coming back to the WAC for the final review.  Ms. Gallelli stated that, in so far as the Nextel project is concerned, there is a new (modified) lease that has been drawn up, but it is still in the “proposed” stage.  It has to go through the full review process at which point it would come back before the WAC for an LWRP consistency review.

Chairperson Allen said that another project, about which the WAC would want to know the status, is the recreational project at Croton Landing.  Ms. Gallelli recalled that this project had already come before the WAC for the consistency review.  The WAC had a discussion about the proposed playing field not being a “fixed” field in the sense that it would not be striped but, instead, that the field would be left as a “great lawn.”  The WAC made a recommendation that, as part of its recreational use, the “great lawn” would be allocated to teams wishing to use the field for sports/recreation.  Chairperson Allen suggested that the WAC secretary should email the WAC members the set of minutes pertaining to the Croton Landing recreational project.

The Village Engineer recalled that the WAC also reviewed, and made preliminary findings, on the Riverwalk Trail project.  Mr. Kane noted that this project would have to come back to the WAC for a final consistency review.  The Village Engineer suggested that the WAC secretary could also email the set of minutes pertaining to the Riverwalk Trail to the WAC members.

Chairperson Allen reiterated that she would want the WAC to be kept informed of the status of these projects.  She would want to be assured that, when required, these projects would be coming back to the WAC for the final review.          

The minutes of the Wednesday, May 24, 2006 WAC meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Kane, seconded by Ms. Gallelli and carried by a vote of 3 to 0.   

5.          ADJOURNMENT:
There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting duly adjourned at 9:00 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Sylvia Mills, Secretary