DELIBERATELY ERASED from the Hudson Waterfront plan is the clear and firm public input received regarding residents’ hopes and dreams for the banks of the river. For example, it completely ignores the results of the planners’ own surveys of hundreds of residents, who were asked to rate a wide range of potential Waterfront activities on a scale of 1-5, with five being the highest... Here are the results, as they were last reported to the public in 2006, which are not found anywhere in the LWRP:
Instead, the current Waterfront Plan (“LWRP”) would:
- Open up the possibility of yet another major controversy for the region, like the Octane Petroleum fight in the 1980s, or the St. Lawrence Cement controversy in more recent memory;
- Permanently ensconce heavy industry at the river, right next to the best place to provide river access and activities to the entire region, and impairing the public’s ability to enjoy this staggeringly valuable resource;
- Result in hundreds of dump trucks and other industrial vehicles traversing the wetlands of South Bay every week; even if limited to daylight hours, one could expect an inbound or outbound trip every 3-5 minutes;
- Award Holcim, the parent company of St. Lawrence Cement, privileges which were denied in 2005 at the end of the Greenport controversy, such as extending their dock another 400 feet to accommodate Titanic-sized barges which would endanger boaters and render neighboring parks and commercial businesses impractical.
The current draft LWRP disregards the clear, unambiguous, and urgent instructions of then-Secretary Randy Daniels regarding rezoning of the Waterfront, contained in the Coastal Consistency Determination for the St. Lawrence Cement Greenport project which he issued in April 2005.
The Daniels ruling is arguably the highest-level, most definitive, and most legally-relevant document that any State agency or official has set forth regarding planning for the future of the Hudson Waterfront. The Secretary of State’s instructions for rezoning the Waterfront included the firm recommendation that a new waterfront zone be created “immediately” for the benefit of City and County residents, and the decision outlined the manner in which that rezoning should take place with great specificity:
- Permitted uses: recreation/open space, parking, residential (2nd story and above), retail, galleries, studios, office, restaurants, museums, outdoor markets, outdoor performances, street vending, marine stores, marine fuel, boat storage.
- Conditional uses could include: electronic transmission towers, public utility uses, transportation centers, railroad, ferry terminals.
- Accessory uses: signs, outdoor cafes.
- Prohibited uses: manufacturing, assembling, storing and processing products or facilities, outdoor storage of lumber, construction and building materials, contractor’s equipment, trucks, vans, buses, retail or wholesale of vehicles or boats...