Present: Bonita Chase, Anthony Coiro, Ric Coombe, Bruce Dolph, Peter Friedel, Art Merrill, Michael McCrary, Donald Murray, Jake Rosa, Mark Tuthill, Anthony Van Glad, Greg Vurckio, Jeff Baker
Public: Al Rosa, Tim Cox, Alicia Terry, Marge Miller, Dean Frazier, Molly Oliver, Michelle Yost, Rick Weidenbach
1. Call to order – 6:14pm
2. August 17, 2015 minutes approval – Motion to approve minutes as amended made by, Ric Coombe seconded by Mark Tuthill.
3. Introductions (old members and those newly elected)
a. Members, alternates and public introduced themselves.
b. Discussion of remaining alternate seats to be filled. The position will be offered to Diana Cope and another alternate from Delaware County. Carl withdrew from the race, so Bonita Chase is the alternate for Greene County. Ulster County currently does not have alternates. Ulster County is lacking two. It is their decision to pursue them.
c. Bruce will work with Kelly to send a letter to Alternates outlining their roles and responsibilities. Alternates should attend all meetings and contribute to the conversation.
4. Small business issues
a. There are businesses that have issues with DEP either with enforcement or concerns about septic systems or other changes in the business. CWT is going to be addressing these issues when it can. Bruce will write a letter to all counties, towns and villages inviting them to send us a letter with documentation if there has been an issue. Then we can decide if we should be involved or if it is outside of our scope. There has been strong enforcement of rules. Business owners are often caught needing to pay thousands of dollars to prove that they have not broken a use, changed use, etc. Not all businesses can afford to even attempt to prove their case and they are forced out of business.
b. Jeff said that he, Kevin, and Carl Steundel had met with DEP about a year ago to discuss some of these issues and DEP said they would look into them.
c. City attorney said they are coming out with draft regulations that attempt to address some of these issues.
d. Bruce stated that had he been the owner of Full Moon he would have been intimidated by the large number of DEP staff present at the facility to discuss issues they have raised about his changes, that resulted in less flow than before he made the changes.
e. Bruce added we should advocate for businesses, CWC, SWCD, and CCE. Need to keep business development affordable
f. Mike McCrary added that many of these businesses are beneficial to NYC visitors to the Watershed. If they go out of business because of regulations, this is a disservice to the people of NYC. DeBlasio might want to know about this.
g. Dean added that the Full Moon visit Bruce referenced is the tail end of a 2-3 year long process. Full Moon was a non-complying regulated activity.
h. The CWT discussed the process of getting approvals for designs and permits. It has the appearance of purposely stretching out the processes, and that businesses need a lawyer just to keep things on track. Most, if not all small businesses cannot afford this expense. This is a serious concern as the Watershed cannot afford to lose any existing businesses or discourage new businesses.
5. Flood Commissions reports
a. Rick Weidenbach reported that Delaware County SWCD has been working with eight communities in Delaware County. The LFAs for those communities should be completed in 1.5 years. In Greene County Prattsville, Windham, and Lexington are completing LFAs. Schoharie County has Conesville. The Town and Village of Walton have the Main Stem complete and now working on the tributaries.
b. Michelle Yost noted that that CWC grant round application is available. Dec 1st deadline.
6. CWC reports
a. Alan noted that the CWC has had correspondence with DEP re: regulation of small business.
7. Below the reservoirs
a. Delaware – Dean reported that the UDRTC bylaws are complete and officers elected. Resolutions have been passed and members and alternates chosen. The Task Force intermunicipal agreement between several of the towns below the dam is complete and officers have been elected. The UDRTC has been awarded significant funding toward the development of a stream corridor management plan. As a result of the issues with the Cannonsville incident, NYC will be taking action on issues of concern below the dam ie. warning systems. Water 101 is scheduled for Thursday Sept. 24th. Water, Water Everywhere is scheduled for October. That is the annual conference of Friends of the Upper Delaware River.
b. Esopus – no report
c. Schoharie – no report.
8. Preparing for the 25th Anniversary of CWT
a. We will look into this more. We need to form a small committee. If anyone is interested in working on this, let Bruce know. We should put together a history.
b. Logo outreach letterhead update? Kelly will begin reformatting the letter head to include Alternate Members, etc.
c. Develop a fact sheet to pass out that explains what the CWT has accomplished.
9. Membership Dues
a. Some towns haven’t paid yet for this year because of budget cycles. Town of Deposit 7/2013 and Stamford 11/2010 dropped out. Masonville, Franklin, Halcott, Tannersville, Hunter, and Jefferson haven’t paid yet this year. The CWT decided to send another letter to Stamford and Deposit, seeking their membership. Stamford has a lot of businesses. The CWT should be communicating with both municipalities so they know the CWT is an advocate for businesses.
10. Discussion on FAD
a. It is time to start planning for the 2017 FAD. Need to explore the type and amount of land being purchased. CWT will work with the Attorney to get a list together to make sure we have a comprehensive list of issues.
b. It was suggested that the TAG be resurrected to assist the CWT in preparing for discussions about the forthcoming WR&R changes and FAD.
11. Discussion on WSP
a. There are continued disagreements about Conservation Easements pertaining to the FBO. CWT believes that properties owned by the towns should not be subject to the restrictions of a CE. Towns need the flexibility to use the parcel as necessary to mitigate the flooding issue being addressed. There is a wide variety of reasons a parcel may need to be purchased including utility relocation and bridge expansion. Larger parcels could have a portion that is out of the floodplain that could be used for many different types of projects.
b. Clarification was made by the board that not all parcels are black and white. In the black and white scenario, some parcels will be used for direct flood reduction purposes, ie. creation of flood plain, but the “gray” scenarios are where the towns need flexibility. There are many different types of projects that need to be done. Conservation Easements can essentially never be removed from a deed.
c. Michelle Yost asked if there had been any resolution re: WSP comments, etc. No one knows of any updates.
12. White paper. Tony Coiro brought up the White Paper. Ric Coombe says he supports our role being at a higher level and that we do not have the time or resources to take on every case in the watershed. We need to discuss the global policy and procedure issues. We do need examples, but not to take on every case. Tony Coiro agrees. Dean noted that the White Paper frames the larger issues with some examples. Its framework captures the commonality of the day to day issues raised by several watershed partners. Bruce clarifies further that we often use Full Moon as an example, but what we are really addressing is the larger issue of overzealous application of the regulations.
13. Schedule meeting with Soil & Waters and Cooperative Extension. Rick Weidenbach said the city has scheduled a meeting for October 28th in Kingston. All basins have been invited to discuss the design issues.
a. Kurt Ossenfort proposal – he has most of it digitized. We need to look at his contract.
15. Kevin Young’s “Plan of Action/Relocation Took Kit” (June 12, 2015) – Need to send a copy of this to all of the new members. Once they review, we can have a discussion.
16. Marge Miller (Town of Middletown Supervisor) – Marge will talk to Jeff about the idea of a land bank or land trust that may possibly enable communities to purchase parcels they consider critical to the future of their village or town. Would like to see this as part of the FAD negotiations. Ric Coombe notes that if the land trust was meant to temporarily park a piece of land to enable the subdivision process, then the funding agency could be an environmentalist group. Municipalities’ role and responsibility should not be to hold land for long periods of time. Rick Weidenbach noted that this might be more of a land bank or development corporation, not a land trust.
a. WAC interested in moving offices to Treadwell.
b. New office location is outside of the Watershed.
c. WAC voting on building has been postponed indefinitely.
d. Concern was expressed that those in the watershed have to manage the challenges of the NYC WR&R and therefore those in the watershed should gain any benefits resulting from the staff involved in WAP. There was concern that WAC’s trade will go primarily to Oneonta/Otsego County if they move to Treadwell.
e. Rick Weidenbach noted that the unique nature of the programs all being under one roof creates synergy not otherwise possible if they separate staff between two locations. There is a potential that up to 70 jobs will be moved outside the watershed.
f. WAC should have to live here and have some ‘skin in the game.’
g. Tony VanGlad made a motion to have Young and Sommer draft a resolution to urge the WAC to stay within the Watershed boundaries. Seconded by Tony Coiro. Motion passed unanimously. Rick suggested that we send a copy of that to Paul Rush. Tony VanGlad agreed and the Attorney will do that.
18. Warrant(s) and Treasurer’s report
a. Tony VanGlad makes a motion to approve the warrants:
i. #26 – $314.50 – Young and Sommer
ii. #27 – $1880.00 – Watershed Affairs
Seconded by Art Merrill, passed unanimously.
b. Tony VanGlad reports that the checking account has $1,000.10 and the savings account has $92,021.18. Motion to accept the treasurer’s report made by Tony Coiro, seconded by Mark Tuthill. Passed unanimously.
a. Dean reported a letter came in from the East of Hudson. The CWT does not usually take action on matters in EOH. It is in the file as an FYI.
b. Bruce read a letter from Kelly Blakeslee of Delaware County Watershed Affairs regarding the letterhead updates. She asked if we should include alternates on the letterhead. Tony Coiro was wondering why alternates had not been included previously. He also notes that the alternates should be designated as such. Bonita Chase suggested they be listed at the bottom. Jeff said including the phone numbers is a good idea. Board would like the letterhead to be redesigned to include alternates with phone numbers and email addresses for each member and alternate.
a. Regarding the Subcommittee to look into elections. The Committee was created last time and created Mike McCrary, Anthony Coiro, and Mark Tuthill. Coiro thinks the subcommittee should only have one member from Greene County, so he will be replaced by Ric Coombe of Sullivan County. Watershed Affairs will send out contact information and the subcommittee will find a time to meet. Mike McCrary is the chairman and will call the meeting.
21. Motion to adjourn 8:40 made by Tony VanGlad, seconded by Mark Tuthill. Passed unanimously.