Waterfront Advisory Committee Minutes 09/15/2010
VILLAGE OF CROTON ON HUDSON, NEW YORK
MINUTES OF THE WATERFRONT ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2010

A meeting of the Waterfront Advisory Committee of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, New York was held on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 in the Municipal Building.

MEMBERS PRESENT:        Fran Allen, Chairperson
                                Robert Luntz
                                Ian Murtaugh
                                Richard Olver

ABSENT:                 Stuart Greenbaum

ALSO PRESENT:           James Staudt, Esq., Village Attorney's office
                                Joanna Feldman, Esq., Village Attorney's office
                                Ann Gallelli, Member or the Board of Trustees
                                Daniel O'Connor, P.E., Village Engineer
                                
1.  Call to Order:

The meeting was called to order at 8:02 P.M. by Chairperson Allen.

2.  Referral from the Village Board Regarding Local Law Introductory No. 6 of 2010 – A Local Law to Revise Chapter 123 of the Code of the Village of Croton-on-Hudson to Permit Bowhunting of White-tailed Deer – Final Consistency Review

Chairperson Allen said that the WAC’s task tonight is to do a final consistency review of the Village Board’s proposal to revise Chapter 123 of the Village Code to permit bowhunting of white-tailed deer.  Chairperson Allen said that the WAC has received a memorandum from the Village Board with some new materials attached to it.  The WAC’s first task would be to go through these new materials and ultimately come to a conclusion as to whether the Proposed Action is consistent. Mr. Staudt said that included in the new materials is the Village Board resolution dated September 7, 2010 issuing a Negative Declaration.  Mr. Staudt noted that the WAC had done a preliminary consistency review after which the Village Board issued a Negative Declaration.  Mr. Staudt explained to the WAC that, at this point in the process, the Proposed Action has come back to the WAC for a final review. The WAC would not have seen the Negative Declaration until now.

Chairperson Allen noted that attached to the Negative Declaration is a two-page document entitled “State Environmental Quality Review Negative Declaration Notice of Determination of Non-Significance.” Chairperson Allen said that this two-page document justifies the reasons for supporting the Negative Declaration determination. Chairperson Allen asked where this document came from, to which Mr. Staudt said that it is part of the Negative Declaration and it came from the Village Board. Chairperson Allen asked who wrote the document, to which Mr. Staudt said that, “It’s the Village Board’s document, so you have to take it as having been written by the Village Board.”  Mr. Olver noted to Chairperson Allen that the Village Board adopted the Negative Declaration after the close of the public hearing on September 7, 2010.  

Chairperson Allen said that she found, when reading this two-page document, that it was “somewhat self-contradictory.”  Chairperson Allen said that the first page is mostly background and/or the reasons why the law is being proposed.  Chairperson Allen read aloud the top paragraph of the second page as follows: “The Village Board of Trustees has also determined that the proposed action will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment based on the following additional criteria…..” Chairperson Allen said that the criteria pertaining to erosion problems, (for example), would seem to contradict the statements made about soil erosion on the first page.  Chairperson Allen said that the first page of the document on the reasons for the law (e.g., the impact of deer on the air quality, soil stability, etc.) does not seem to “go together” with the second page.  Mr. Olver said that he would disagree with Chairperson Allen; in his view, there is no contradiction at all.  Mr. Luntz said that he finds the first and second pages of the document to be entirely consistent with each other.  Mr. Luntz said that by reducing the deer population the understory of the forest would improve through regeneration and the regrowth of vegetation, which is consistent with saying that not only would there be no significant adverse impacts but there would be a beneficial impact. Chairperson Allen said that, perhaps, she is putting too much emphasis on the word “action,” which in this case is “killing.”  Mr. Luntz said that the “action” in this case is reducing the deer population.  The intent is to reduce the population so that the deer are not overrunning the forests, causing vehicular accidents on roadways, etc.  Chairperson Allen said that, in so far as reducing the deer population is concerned, “we can kill [the deer] or do it in other ways.”  Chairperson Allen said that she would prefer that, in the document, the word “project” be used rather than the word “action,” to which Mr. Olver said that the WAC is not being asked tonight to edit this two-page document. The WAC is being asked to do a consistency review.

Chairperson Allen read aloud the second to the last paragraph at the bottom of page 2 as follows: “There will be no encouraging or attracting of a large number of people to a place or places for more than a few days, compared to the number of people who would come to such place absent the action…..” Chairperson Allen wanted to know what this is based on and if she could have an example, to which Mr. Murtaugh said that there might be one, two or three people (bowhunters) at a site early in the morning where there would be no people at that site otherwise. Mr. Murtaugh said that the Village Board is not advocating “having 50 people out there.” Mr. Luntz added that, as he understands the wording of this paragraph, having a few hunters at a site is not going to have an adverse impact on someone’s wanting to hike through the woods. Mr. Murtaugh said that he thinks the key here is “a large number of people.”

Mr. Murtaugh said that he believes that the hours for bowhunting would be limited.

Chairperson Allen said that there is no information before the WAC as to what the regulations for bowhunting would be.  There is no specific information as to how this is going to actually work.  Chairperson Allen said that the WAC is being asked to “take these things on faith,” to which Mr. Olver responded that the regulations themselves are going to be put before the WAC in due course. Mr. Olver said that the regulations have not come before the WAC yet; just the legislation. Chairperson Allen said that she wishes she had “more specifics” to look at. She questioned where these regulations would come from and how the WAC can be sure that the bowhunting law will actually be beneficial.  Mr. Olver noted that the WAC’s mandate is to protect the waterfront. He would think that Chairperson Allen is “greatly overstepping her bounds” by expanding the mandate of this committee to every piece of property in the Village, to which Chairperson Allen said that the WAC’s mandate goes beyond the waterfront. It includes the ridgelines. Mr. Olver asked Chairperson Allen if she had found something pertaining to the Proposed Action that would have an effect on the waterfront. Mr. Olver said that he would think that Chairperson Allen is “engaging in delay and obfuscation” tonight.  He said that if Chairperson Allen cannot chair this committee objectively and within the law, then, she should resign as chairperson. Mr. Olver said that he is upset by how Chairperson Allen perverts this committee’s work.  He told Chairperson Allen that it would appear that she has “a personal agenda.”  Chairperson Allen said that the whole Village is under the jurisdiction of the WAC from an environmental point of view.  Chairperson Allen said that Trustee Gallelli was instrumental in putting the LWRP program together; the area under the WAC’s purview “goes from the high waterfront on the other side of the Croton River out to the middle of Haverstraw Bay.” Mr. Olver noted that the WAC’s jurisdiction over this area is “in so far as it affects the waterfront.”  Mr. Olver said that Chairperson Allen draws the WAC’s mandate “far too large.”

The Village Engineer summarized the status of this proposal stating that the WAC has already made a preliminary determination of consistency with the LWRP.  The public hearing before the Village Board has taken place. The Village Board has issued a Negative Declaration. The Proposed Action is back before the WAC for a final determination of consistency.  The Village Engineer noted that the WAC now has “new information” in the Negative Declaration; the WAC might want to consider their final recommendation of consistency based on this “new information.”

Mr. Staudt said that he brought with him tonight copies of the section of the Waterfront Revitalization law, which tells how a final consistency is supposed to be made.  He distributed copies of the law to the WAC members. Mr. Staudt said that Section 225-6H(1) states that “The WAC’s recommendation of consistency shall indicate whether, in its opinion, the proposed action is consistent or inconsistent with the LWRP policy standards and conditions set forth in Subsection L [J] of this section…..”  Mr. Staudt said that what the WAC needs to do is go through the 18 standards/conditions, many of which would probably not apply because a large number of the LWRP policies are (would be) more key to a land development proposal. Mr. Staudt said that if there is any that merit particular comment, then, these should be looked at. The Village Engineer noted that at the last WAC meeting he made a statement to the WAC that Policy #9 pertaining to the expansion of recreational use of fish and wildlife resources would probably be one of the policies to look at.  

Mr. Luntz read aloud the first policy standard under Subsection J pertaining to the revitalization of waterfront areas and said that one could argue that this is not applicable.  Mr. Luntz read aloud the next three policy standards and said that he would think that these three standards are also not applicable.  Chairperson Allen said that, usually, the WAC goes through the 44 polices in the LWRP.  The 18 policy standards and conditions enumerated in the Waterfront Revitalization law are an abbreviated version of the actual policies. Chairperson Allen said that, for the meeting tonight, she also looked at how the questions in the revised FEAF were answered.   Mr. Staudt noted that, indeed, the FEAF has had some changes made to it since the last time.  Mr. Murtaugh said that he would think that the WAC would not have to go through the policies that are more specific to waterfront properties, for example, Policy #6 “To maintain and expand commercial fishing facilities to promote commercial and recreational fishing opportunities…..”

Chairperson Allen suggested that the WAC could go through the 44 policies in the LWRP, to which the others agreed.

Chairperson Allen referred to Policies 1 through 1E “Development Policies” and said that she would think that this first set of “development policies” is not applicable.  Chairperson Allen referred to Policies 2 and 2A pertaining to recreational water-dependent uses and said that these, too, are not applicable. Policies 3 and 4 refer to the development of major ports and the strengthening of small harbors, respectively, and do not apply.  Chairperson Allen referred to Policies 5 through 5C concerning development activities and the availability of public infrastructure and said that these policies would not apply. Policies 6 and 6A pertaining to permitting procedures would also not apply. Likewise, policies 7 through 7G concerning the protection of coastal fish and wildlife habitats would not apply. Chairperson Allen said that Policy 8 pertains to the protection of fish and wildlife resources in the coastal area from hazardous wastes and pollutants.  Chairperson Allen said that even though the “coastal area” of the LWRP is the entire Village, she would think that Policy 8 would not apply to the proposed bowhunting law.

Chairperson Allen said that Policy 9 concerns the recreational use and protection of fish and wildlife resources. Mr. Luntz noted that the argument made last time is that the recreational use of fish and wildlife resources would include fishing and hunting.  Chairperson Allen said that Policy 9B pertaining to the encouragement of recreational uses in fish and wildlife areas/habitats “has that same spirit.” Mr. Olver noted that the Proposed Action is consistent with the New York State hunting laws and regulations, which focus on maintaining the sustainability of the deer population.

Chairperson Allen said that Policy 10 concerns the further development of commercial fishing and would not apply.

Chairperson Allen referred the WAC to Policies 11 and 11A Flooding and Erosion Policies, to which Mr. Luntz said that he would think that the proposed law would be consistent with these policies in that by reducing the deer population the vegetation and forest understory would return, thus discouraging erosion.  The forest would become healthy again.  Chairperson Allen referred to the 17 principles enumerated under Policy 11A and noted that these principles are more related to development/construction activities, so they would not apply. Chairperson Allen said that, nonetheless, these 17 principles “are something that we need to pay more attention to in this Village.”  

Chairperson Allen said that Policies 12 and 12A concern the protection of natural coastal features, such as beaches and sand dunes, and are not applicable.  Chairperson Allen said that Policies 13 and 13A pertain to erosion control structures and the maintenance of bulkheads along the Hudson River.  She sees nothing in either of these policies that relates to the bowhunting law.  Likewise, Policies 14, 15, 16 and 16A pertaining to erosion control, mining, excavation and dredging are not applicable.  Chairperson Allen said that Policies 17 and 17A also have to do with erosion control.  Policy 17A pertains to efforts to control erosion through non-structural means, such as the planting of vegetative covers, to which Mr. Luntz pointed out that the reduction in the deer population would have the desired effect of reestablishing these vegetative covers. Chairperson Allen referred to Policy 18 concerning major actions and their impact on the economic, social, and environmental interests of the State and its citizenry and said that this policy is not applicable.

Chairperson Allen said that Policies 19 through 19E have to do with public access to shoreline areas. Chairperson Allen said that Policies 19 through 19E are “very much about having access to the environmental treasures that we have in the Village.”

Mr. Murtaugh referred back to Policy 11A under the Flooding and Erosion Policies.  Mr. Murtaugh said that the Committee passed over tonight the 17 principles under Policy 11A that are to be applied to potential development activities in the Village; however, he would like to point out that the following principle (#4) applies to the bowhunting law. It reads as follows: “Natural vegetation shall be retained wherever possible…..” Mr. Murtaugh noted that this is exactly what the goal of this proposal is, i.e., to reestablish the natural vegetation and the forest understory.

Mr. Olver said that the aforementioned Policies 19 through 19E, which relate to public access to the shoreline, are not applicable to this bowhunting proposal.

Chairperson Allen said that Policy 20 is about providing access to shoreline areas and is not applicable. Policies 21 and 21A are about providing access to water-related recreational opportunities on the coastline and would not be applicable. Likewise, Policy 22 concerning coastal development and water-related recreation would not apply. Chairperson Allen noted that Policy 23 concerns the protection, enhancement and restoration of historic, archeological, architectural and cultural resources and would not apply. Mr. Murtaugh noted that the word “protect” might apply, to which Mr. Luntz added that he would think that this policy (Policy 23) would apply if a “forest” is considered to be one of the “areas of sites that are of significance…..” Mr. Luntz said that Policy 24 relating to the impairment of scenic resources is not applicable to the bowhunting law.

Chairperson Allen referred to Policies 25 and 25A, which concern the protection, restoration or enhancement of natural or manmade resources.  Mr. Olver said that the bowhunting law is directly applicable to these policies. Mr. Olver said that the reduction of the deer population would help to restore the natural vegetation. Mr. Olver gave as an example the slopes behind the Duck Pond, which are greatly degraded by the overgrazing of deer.  Mr. Olver pointed out that once the deer population is reduced, this local scenic resource could be restored. Mr. Olver said that Policies 25B through 25D have to do with securing the designation of scenic viewsheds and would not be applicable.  

Chairperson Allen referred to Policy 26 regarding the protection of agricultural lands which, as stated in the policy itself, is not applicable to the Village.  Chairperson Allen referred to Policies 27 through 28A “Energy and Ice Management Policies, which are not applicable. Policy 29 regarding the development of energy resources is not applicable. Polices 30 through 30B “Water and Air Resources Policies” would not apply.  Policies 31 and 31A are clean water policies.  Mr. Staudt noted that, with respect to these clean water policies, there is a belief that overgrazing on slopes could ultimately cause the degrading of the water quality. Mr. Staudt questioned if that is (also) what Mr. Olver was alluding to in his discussion of Policies 25 and 25A.  Mr. Olver said that, with respect to Policies 31 and 31A on clean water, he is not sure that one could say that these policies are “on point” because they are discussing waterfront revitalization and taking into account waters overburdened with contaminants. He added that these two policies (31 and 31A) are more focused on waterfront development than on the estuaries.

Mr. Olver said that Policy 32 pertaining to sanitary waste systems does not apply.

Chairperson Allen referred to Policies 33 through 33B regarding stormwater runoff and sewer overflows draining into coastal waters, which would not be applicable.  Mr. Murtaugh said that Policies 34 and 34A concerning discharge of waste from vessels and Policy 35 on dredging in coastal waters would not apply.  Likewise, Policy 36 concerning the discharge of hazardous materials would not apply. Mr. Murtaugh said that Policies 37 through 37B pertain to the discharge of nutrients, organics and eroded soils into coastal waters and would not be applicable.

Mr. Murtaugh referred to Policy 38, which concerns the protection/conservation of the quality and quantity of surface and ground water supplies and said that he would think that this is applicable because water supplies would be more protected with the deer population under control.  Mr. Olver thought that this was, perhaps, “a bit of a stretch.”  Mr. Olver said that, if anything, it would have a moderate, positive impact.  Mr. Luntz said that one could use the same line of reasoning for Policy 33 regarding stormwater runoff.  With the deer population reduced and the forest understory restored, there would not be as much runoff.  Mr. Luntz said that reducing the deer population would help to restore the natural flow.

Mr. Murtaugh said that Policies 39 through 39B regarding hazardous waste would not apply.

Mr. Murtaugh referred to Policy 40 pertaining to effluent discharge from steam electric generating and industrial facilities, to which Chairperson Allen said that this policy (Policy 40) refers to a “specific target” and is not applicable.

Chairperson Allen said that Policies 41, 41A and 42 refer to air quality as it relates to land use and development.  Chairperson Allen noted that the two-page document attached to the Negative Declaration mentions air quality.  Mr. Murtaugh said that he would think that these policies would apply to the extent that the vegetative regeneration of the forests would ultimately improve the air quality.

Mr. Olver referred to Policies 43 through 43B relating to the generation of acid rain precursors and the monitoring of vehicle emissions and said that these policies do not apply.

Chairperson Allen said that Policies 44 and 44A concern the preservation and protection of tidal and freshwater wetlands areas and are not applicable.

Mr. Staudt referred the WAC to the Waterfront Revitalization statute, Section 225-6H Recommendation of Consistency.  Mr. Staudt stated that the WAC has been through all 44 policies of the LWRP tonight and has concluded that a number of these policies are not applicable.  Mr. Staudt noted that the WAC thought that some of the policies are relevant. He gave as an example Policies 11 and 11A Flooding and Erosion Policies. The WAC thought that the proposed law would be consistent with these policies in that by reducing the deer population the vegetation and forest understory would return, thus discouraging flooding and erosion. Mr. Staudt said, “Let us assume that you (the WAC) find the action consistent to these policies.” If the WAC were to find the Proposed Action to be consistent, the next step would be to address items (a), (b) and (c) under Section 225-6H1.  Item (a) pertains to the potentially significant adverse impacts on coastal resources and consistency or inconsistency of the action with the LWRP.  Mr. Staudt said that it would seem from the WAC’s review of the LWRP policies tonight that the WAC has not found anything in the Proposed Action that would constitute a potentially significant adverse impact.  Mr. Staudt said that item (b) pertains to alternative actions that would avoid potential adverse impacts and ensure consistency with the LWRP. Mr. Staudt said that if the WAC does not find any potential adverse impacts, then, the WAC need not address this matter pertaining to alternative actions. Mr. Staudt referred to item (c) “Measures to mitigate potential adverse impacts on coastal resources and resolve inconsistencies.” Mr. Staudt said that, again, if the WAC does not find any potential adverse impacts, then, the WAC need not address this matter of mitigation measures.  Mr. Staudt said that he thinks that this is the point the WAC is at, based on the comments he heard from the WAC members during their review of the 44 policies. Furthermore, as to (a), (b) and (c) (above), the WAC did not find any potentially significant adverse impacts, so he (Mr. Staudt) would think that there would be no further recommendation relative to these items. Mr. Luntz said that, perhaps, the WAC should have a discussion as to whether there are any issues that affect (a), (b) and (c) relative to consistency, to which Mr. Olver said that the WAC has been through the policies and has found no adverse impacts among them. In his (Mr. Olver’s) view, items (a), (b) and (c) have been duly addressed.   

Chairperson Allen asked if there were any other comments, to which there were none.  Chairperson Allen said that she would welcome a motion on a recommendation of consistency.  Mr. Luntz made a motion that the WAC find the Proposed Action consistent with the policies set forth in the LWRP. Mr. Luntz stated that the WAC’s recommendation of consistency is relative to the WAC’s review of the LWRP policies.  In their review of these policies, the WAC found that, in some specific areas, not only would the Proposed Action be consistent with but would be favorable to these policies. Furthermore, the Proposed Action would not have any adverse impacts on coastal resources. Mr. Luntz stated further that the WAC has gone through items (a), (b) and (c) under Section 225-6H1 pertaining to potentially significant adverse impacts and considers that these items have been duly addressed in that, in the review of the LWRP policies, the WAC found no significant adverse impacts. Mr. Olver seconded the motion to find the Proposed Action consistent.  The vote was 3 to 1 (WAC members Luntz, Murtaugh and Olver [ayes] and WAC member Allen [nay]).

Mr. Olver questioned how Chairperson Allen could be opposed if, in her review tonight, she joined the WAC members in not finding any inconsistencies, to which Chairperson Allen said, “Because the basis for the hunting [law] is so fraudulent.”  Mr. Olver said that he believes that there is no basis under the LWRP for that “nay” vote.  Mr. Olver said that he believes Chairperson Allen should step aside from her position as chairperson because of her refusal to “stick to” the LWRP. He suggested that the WAC should take a vote on this. It is his understanding that the WAC can elect their chair. He noted that Chairperson Allen has carried over as chairperson from year to year. Chairperson Allen suggested that this matter could be resolved separately.  She would review the legal documents and consult with the attorney, to which Mr. Olver said, “Fair enough.”      

The Village Engineer questioned what the timeframe for the WAC’s recommendation of consistency to the Village Board is (would be).  He told the WAC that he would look into this matter tomorrow with the WAC secretary.

3. Approval of Minutes:

The minutes of the Thursday, August 26, 2010 WAC meeting were approved, as amended, on a motion by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Murtaugh and carried by a vote of 4-0.   
 
4. Adjournment:

There being no further business to come before the Committee, the meeting was duly adjourned at 9:00    P.M. on a motion by Mr. Luntz, seconded by Mr. Murtaugh and carried by a vote of 4-0.

Respectfully submitted,


Sylvia Mills
Secretary


Sylvia Mills
Village of Croton-on-Hudson
Engineer's Office
tel: 914-271-4783
fax: 914-271-3790