Present: Carl Stuendel, Bruce Dolph, Mike McCrary, Toni Coiro, Ric Coombe, Pete Bracci, Bill Layton, Stephen Walker and counsel Jeff Baker
Others Present: Michelle Yost, Aaron Bennett, Guest speaker Kevin Young, Frazier.
1. Call to order: 6:20 PM
2. Minutes – Dec 15, 2014. Moved by Bruce Dolph; second by Bill Layton, passed unanimously.
3. Privilege of the Floor
4. Kevin Young- Young/Sommer Attorney –
a. FBO and Relocation Regulatory Relief Position Paper At the request of the CWT Kevin Young developed potential ideas for streamlining the regulatory process of the DEP. This concern is driven by the maze of regulatory thresholds that are required to put a capital project through the regulatory and permitting processes of local municipalities, State and City. This is especially concerning as we look ahead regarding the potential (VOLUNTEER PROGRAM) purchase of flood damaged property, potential moving and relocating of a business or homes to move them outside local residents outside areas of high flood risk, as proposed in the overall NYC Flood Mitigation Program negotiated by watershed stakeholders.
Kevin outlined as many as 24 regulatory hurdles that may have to be overcome. Follow that with SEQR. With a SEQR Negative Declaration and no subsequent lawsuits the process approaches 3 years. A positive declaration could mean the end of a project as it opens it up for any involved party to delay a project for years. The costs to develop an Environmental Impact Statement under a Pos Dec could easily exceed $200,000 even for a small project.
Six different tools were discussed. A seventh was mentioned by Jeff Baker reminding all, that the WR&Rs enables a community to take assume regulation stormwater permitting and management in their community. It would be a challenge to do, but counties may want to consider it.
Carl asked the board what they wanted to do regarding the material Kevin has developed. The CWT did decide that they need to discuss those options further and wait to see. It was proposed that the CWT could discuss one or two options at each meeting going forward. The CWT felt that they should examine each and prioritize where they want to expend their efforts.
b. Following-up on the June 10, 2014 regulation enforcement meeting in Grahamsville [See June 16, 2014 CWT meeting minutes, item 4b.], on Dec 22, 2014 Carl attended a meeting in Kingston between DEP officials and Full Moon Resort (FMR) owners Henry Stout and Michael Densmore, their engineer Rex Sanford and attorney Kevin Young. Kevin, consistent with his June 10 position, expressed his concern that this enforcement proceeding, though based on a suspected “change of use” at Full Moon, seemed to be overkill as there never was any evidence of a failed septic system and though Henry and Mike’s business strategy continues to evolve, there is no agreed upon usage baseline to justify raising the “change of use” flag, an early-alert to a possible impact on water quality. The only impact of these aggressive enforcement actions will be to put good businesses out of business.
After the meeting had concluded, Carl spoke with DEP attorney Joya Cohen who acknowledged FMR’s frustration, but said DEP felt frustrated by Kevin’s objections to what seemed a rather straightforward application of the WR&Rs ‑‑ an exploratory investigation related to Non-Complying Regulated Activities (NCRAs) that was well within DEP’s jurisdiction. In addition, Joya indicated that since the June 10, 2014 meeting, DEP had been working internally to incorporate many of the suggestions from that meeting into a revised set of enforcement guidelines. (Carl said that in a subsequent conversation he had with David Warne, Dave had confirmed that progress had been made on a set of revised guidelines that would be issued in draft form to CWT in the near future.)
a. Status of Flood Mitigation Program:
i. Water Supply Permit Change – nothing to report – Carl indicated he will investigate status.
ii. Inundation and DEP’s new FBO Selection Criteria document – Nothing new to report. There is no date to send comments by, but one can still comment. The CWT at the last meeting concluded there did not appear to be anything that was problematic.
b. Kurt Ossenfort Proposal – Jeff Baker – ongoing
c. Below Dams Activities – No new news to report on any of the three listed.
d. Dues – Carl reported that he had a very good conversation with Tom Axtell regarding what real benefits arise for his Town as a result of membership in the Coalition. Tom said he would, once again, bring the matter up to his board. Carl wanted Tom to know he was not being singled out for scrutiny and affirmed that this was a decision for Tom and his board.
e. Hydro-electric on the Cannonsville – there have been some positive constructive discussions between the DCEC and NYCDEP. It is too early to conclude anything. Carl Reported that Paul Rush has agreed to speak about the issue at a future CWT meeting.
f. Clarification of Mike Brandow and Dixie Baldrey CWT executive committee membership status. Dixie is an alternate. Because Mike is currently serving on the CWC Board of Directors, CWT by-laws don’t allow him to serve on the CWT Executive Board.
6. Treasurer’s report and warrant(s).
Bruce Dolph moved to approve the warrants and treasurer’s report. Bill Seconded passed.
Checkbook balance – $ 1,000.11
Savings account balance – $100,660.38
Young/ Sommer – $3,045.00
Delaware County Watershed Affairs – $2,579.92
7. Correspondence: none to report.
a. Bruce and Carl reported that their meeting (which included our very own Tony Van Glad) with CWC board members Mike Triolo and Berndt Leifeld. They said the meeting was positive. They renewed their commitment to work together and set up the next quarterly meeting for April of 2015.
b. Carl informed the Board of a meeting with SUNY Delhi to discuss how they, the only college in the NYC watershed, may be able to assist the Watershed through their environmental science/ natural resources curriculum, continuing education programs, and training opportunities. Dean and Carl met with the Provost and two professors.
A next meeting is scheduled for January 30 to discuss the types of jobs that exist or are needed in the Watershed and the degrees and course work that are needed to meet them. Organizations such as the SWCDs, Planning, DPW, NYCDEP, CWC, WAC, Eco Dev, CCE would be invited to what Delhi calls a DACUM, the purpose of which would be to get a good sense of the positions and skills required by these employers and then to decide what curricula or training programs SUNY could develop to meet those needs. If possible this could lead to many positives regarding jobs and a larger program at SUNY Delhi, which could lead to growth there, benefit the local economy and produce graduates who could learn directly from the largest recognized watershed protection program in the world.
9. Adjourn: Moved to adjourn Bruce Dolph; Second Steve Walker. Passed. 9:15 PM.