Present: Anthony Van Glad, Peter Bracci, Bill Layton, Carl Stuendel, Michael McCrary, Linda Burkhardt, Catherine Magarelli, Bruce Dolph and Counsel – Jeff Baker
Others Present: Marge Miller, Aaron Bennett, Michelle Yost, Frazier.
1. Call to order: 6:15pm
2. Minutes – October 20, 2014 – Linda Burkhardt motioned to accept the minutes; Second Michael McCrary. Passed with Bruce Dolph abstaining (absent at last meeting).
3. Privilege of the Floor – Carl offered it to Cathy. Cathy deferred at that time and the discussion took place under Quarterly Partnership Meeting with Paul Rush.
4. Quarterly Partnership Meeting/Paul Rush – This was an initiative by Paul Rush to reengage this group on a quarterly basis. Present were Carl Stuendel, Mike Triolo, Jim Eisel, Fred Huneke, Alan Rosa, Paul Rush and Dave Warne.
Economic development was a common theme. Alan Rosa suggested that DEP move their headquarters into the watershed from Kingston. One of the issues was related to the town of Ulster and a proposed Niagara Bottling project using water from Cooper Lake, the water supply for the City of Kingston. Cooper Lake is outside the watershed but its water supply comes from a diversion out of Mink Hollow that originates in the watershed and also flows to the Ashokan.
[At the CWT meeting] Cathy was bringing the issue forward on behalf of the Town of Woodstock. Woodstock would like to have the status of an interested party under SEQRA. The project site is in the Town of Ulster and therefore may be lead agency under SEQRA. NYC sent a letter to town of Ulster. Cathy raised a request on behalf of Jeremy Wilber, Town of Woodstock Supervisor. It is seeking a letter from the CWT in support of the DEP’s position. DEP is not seeking lead agency in lieu of Ulster being lead agency but had the following questions/ concerns: 1. They want to know what the City of Kingston is going to do in the case of an emergency, such as a drought? 2. How will they analyze and disclose how they would handle that situation? Cathy indicated that lead agency may not be clear yet as DEC may be lead agency.
Jeff Baker clarified that the project is at a vacant IBM location in the town of Ulster outside the watershed. There is a bit of confusion regarding how much water Niagara Bottling would withdraw. People from the Lake Hill area came to the Town of Woodstock with 500 signatures opposing the project indicating they thought the amount of water being sought was too much which in turn would lower Cooper Lake and potentially dry up the aquifer that supplies them. Cathy was confident that the total water withdrawal they are looking for is 1.75 MGD.
If they don’t have enough water (the bottler) it is being said that they may want to get it from the Ashokan. Jeff reiterated they he believes they will need a Water Supply Permit and that will answer many of the questions people have. Cathy indicated that Kingston is now becoming a bit more aggressive on the issue now that they realize it could reduce their water supply from Cooper Lake.
Carl indicated that DEP doesn’t have a particular position as 1 MGD is a very small volume. That was on 11/6. The letter from DEP was written 11/12. Pete Bracci inquired, does role of the CWT conflict with the request from the Town of Ulster? Jeff Baker stated that the CWT needs a request from Woodstock and a copy of the DEP letter before CWT can make a decision. Carl asked Cathy to get the information the CWT needs and he will put in it on the agenda for December. She said that she would consult with Jeremy Wilber and get more information.
Carl, went back to the Partnership Program meeting discussion. Carl raised the Yankee Town Pond and 845 acres. The CWT supports NYC lands to be open for recreation.
[At the CWT meeting] Cathy [reported that she had] met with Paul Lenz et al, and they arrived at a verbal agreement and are waiting for it to be confirmed in writing. The Town of Woodstock would allow deer hunting during the regular hunting season. The last week of hunting season is for muzzle loaders and will be allowed. They would allow hunting in bow season as well. DEP website indicates that Woodstock asked that they not list the terms of hunting on the DEP website. Cathy said there was some confusion about that, but that she expects to see it on the DEP website. Cathy will get specifics to the CWT in the end. Jeff informed the group that in the MOA and WSP that there is a presumption that city land is open to hunting.
Also discussed [at the Quarterly Partnership Meeting] was flood hazard mitigation, contract registration status, the Argyle Farm, rail trail, Cannonsville Hydro, Lower Esopus, FFMP, Flood Buyout, modification to the WSP. All the latter, because time was short, had no substantive discussion. Carl’s term ends in June so he suggested that Bruce, as Vice-Chairman, come to those meetings for continuity’s sake.
5. CWT/CWC Meeting – Officers of CWT and CWC will be present. Mike Triolo suggested they have quarterly meetings. Rotating meeting locations in the watershed. Expects Mike will be back in touch or he’ll reach out to Mike if it doesn’t hear from him soon after CWC’s Board meeting on Dec 2, 2014.
a. Status of Flood Mitigation Program:
i. Water Supply Permit Change: Bruce had a concern. The language he was concerned about was the original language of concern raised by the State. Carl clarified that that issue has supposedly been resolved; however, it needs to be in writing. DEP wants to convene a meeting of all the Watershed stakeholders to discuss concerns and arrive at wording acceptable to all parties. Carl told Michelle that Graydon suggested that he tell Michelle that she should move ahead on the erosion hazard home. Shouldn’t need a full LFA, perhaps a mini analysis. Michelle will pursue DEP for a response. Michelle referenced some power points related to this that the DEP put together. Frazier said he would forward them to her and Aaron. The overall fear is that a decision on the WSP language change will get dragged out. The timeline is the big question. Bruce said that Walton is moving ahead based on a discussion with DEP at a relocation meeting. Walton is moving on buyouts, etc., in the Village of Walton and using the Breaky Motors project as a pilot.
Carl inserted a discussion on the WIG at this point. [At the Quarterly Partnership Meeting] DEP inquired if the watershed in general is having some challenges regarding Phil Bein? There are varying opinions on what the role of the WIG is.
[At the CWT meeting] Jeff indicated that the WIG is supposed to assure that everyone complies with the WR&R. What the WIG is not supposed to be doing, is acting as an additional independent regulator on projects. The position does not give him regulatory authority.
Jeff continued on a related issue. The CWT, Delaware County and others agreed with DEC’s position that an additional 30 days for comment. Interestingly enough Crossroads Venture has agreed voluntarily provide the WIG with their plans. WIG has hired Don Lake as a consultant to help him review the stormwater projects. He continues to act as an advocate for the environment as though he has authority to regulate. Crossroads feels that voluntarily arrangement with the WIG will yield fewer problems.
ii. Reg. Relief – TAG – With so many components in need of coordination regarding the implementation of the updated FAD, the CWT asked if the timing would be good to try and reinvigorate the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) which had not formally met in several years, to discuss issues related to the FAD. Delaware County Department of Watershed Affairs helped arrange a meeting for October 31 in Middletown Town Hall. Most of the meeting time was given to the issue of “regulatory relief”. Kevin Young was seeking input on options for regulatory relief. Kevin cited the model of Tax Free Zones established to encourage economic development in NYS. Based on that precedent, he suggested the establishment of zones that might be called “Sustainable Affordable Development Zones”. The second part of the meeting had to do with a possible economic impact analysis of the Watershed Rules and Regulations (WR&R).
Continuing the discussion from the TAG meeting Carl described the dialogue from the meeting. Kevin reported that most of the required regulations for buyout and relocation are duplicated by SEQRA. The idea being to streamline, [to eliminate the duplication]
and not need to both. Kevin is working on it and collaborating with Jeff on the white paper. Carl thought that the strategy Kevin was proposing was more long term and legislative. Jeff indicated that this was not Kevin’s intent as that would be an enormous lift. Jeff stated that changing the SEQRA process could be terrifying if it were opened up from any perspective. Kevin suggested using the Recovery NY program as a precedent that might be used to keep us whole. Establish Sustainable and Affordable Zones using the Economic Zones as a precedent to establish them, giving relief from regulations. It would be similar to pushing economic zones, with regulatory relief. Shovel ready areas to provide for relocation.
At the CWT meeting Jeff clarified that in the December 2010 WSP, all the money for the Watershed Protection and Partnership Programs had been negotiated during the WSP permit renewal process. At that point there was agreement that the CWT would not come back with more requests for funding in the revised 2007 FAD. Marge suggested that there are parcels being bought by the City that have been subdivided that should be considered for protection from purchase. Outside hamlet designated areas the City can purchase these but the number of acres that can be purchased like that is limited by the WSP in the West of Hudson. No action was taken.
Aaron brought up industrial parks. These types of areas should be established by communities. Is there a way to use City money to purchase land or do a swap. Jeff indicated swaps are possible. Bruce offered that if the governor could provide money for communities to buy up key parcels for development or relocation before being sold to the City.
At the Nov 6 Partnership Meeting Carl called for studies to demonstrate the positive net impact resulting from City involvement in the Watershed, a positive impact that off-setting by far the negative impact of WR&R on economic development. He said we now have seventeen years of data to sort through. At that same meeting Alan Rosa pointed out that the CWC had commissioned an Economic Study, referred to as the “HRA Report” (Hamilton, Rabinovitz and Alschuler, Inc.), which was done shortly after the MOA was signed, that addressed this. Paul Rush and Dave Warne said that study was conducted with respect to establishing guidelines for the Catskill Fund for the Future and that it did not address any of the City monies that went to Watershed Ag Council (WAC). Carl felt the City might have left the door open for further consideration of the possibility. Carl said that TAG group may want to address this.
Carl emphasized the need for newer members to understand the history and was pleased with the discussion.
iii. Inundation- was covered earlier in the meeting, but Inundation thresholds have not been established TAG – Dave Warne had told Carl they didn’t have the language ready yet.
iv. Aaron reported on his new position. Ulster County created and Environmental Planner position. Ulster County Dept. of the Environment contracted with CCE of Ulster County to fund this position with City money. In essence his tasks will be essentially the same. He will be coordinating and collaborating on activities in the municipalities that are working on flood mitigation issues, e.g., All Hazards Mitigation Plan and LFA efforts. DEP will pay for portions of the LFA in the watershed. Aaron has gotten one grant to pay the other half of the Towns LFA. Aaron’s position will be filled. Aaron will be 3 days in the watershed and 2 days in the County. He will be working with municipalities. Michelle indicated the City has advertised a position for the stream program. Position will assist in coordination of stream LFAs. Another position is also in the works to assist Beth Reichheld.
b. Kurt Ossenfort Proposal – Jeff Baker in contract process.
c. Septage Hauling – This is ongoing. On Nov 6, Carl told David Warne that he would like to roll this item into our Enforcement Issues meeting and that we would like to have another such meeting soon. David agreed.
d. Below Dams Activities
i. Delaware – UDRTC formally organizing. Meeting with DEC to discuss a number of items the UDRTC is handling to see what help they can offer and seek their partnership with us in their initiatives such as the SCMP. Town of Tompkins has joined the party. Three important streams are also a part of the basin.
ii. Esopus – Aaron will not be directly involved with these issues in his new position, but will do his best to keep the CWT informed.
iii. Schoharie – no report.
e. Dues – At least five municipalities have paid up their dues. Town of Delhi paid 2014 and 2015 dues. Where CWT sends the bill and where the muni should send the check needs clearing up as some are still sending the check to Michelle. In particular Ulster County.
7. Warrants: Tony had stepped out so Bruce did the treasurer’s report.
Young/ Sommer – $2,450.00
Delaware County postage $ 24.00. Total $2,074.00.
Checking balance – $704.81
Savings balance – $ 86,720.39
Linda Burkhardt motioned; Bill Layton second. Passed.
8. Correspondence – In reference to dues a letter from Town of Deposit questioning the value of Deposit remaining a member of the CWT. In short, they have decided to relinquish their membership. Jeff indicated that Deposit is eligible for funding from the CWC/ Catskill Fund for the Future and that CWT’s strong push for the Tax Litigation Avoidance Program (TLAP) during the WSP negotiations directly benefits the Town of Deposit, site of the Cannonsville Dam. At this point in time the only funding available is loans. Clarity on what is available to Deposit should be researched regarding CWC funds and what the CWT has done for the town members.
a. Michelle announced the 9th annual watershed conference is being held on Saturday January 24th at the Hunter Elementary School. Keynote speaker will talk about national and international flood mitigation with experience on relocation.
b. Carl informed Pete that he brought up the Hydro with Paul Rush at the quarterly meeting. Carl stated that he asked Dave Warne about sending a DEP rep to discuss this with the CWT Exec Board. Dave was open to that. Carl will make arrangements. Frazier informed the CWT that Paul Rush and Mark Schneider, Executive Director of DCEC, will meet to discuss what the possibilities may exist to provide electricity generated by the Hydro power to DCEC. So, all will wait for the news of that meeting.
10. Adjourn: Bill Layton moved for adjournment; Linda second. Passed 8:10 PM.