August 10, 2002
Peter Idema, Town Supervisor
Town of East Fishkill - Town Hall
330 Route 376
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
(USPS Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested)
Subject: Written Comments for July 25, 2002, Master Plan Public Hearing
- Based on the May 2002 Master Plan, the July 25, 2002 public hearing does not appear to be a continuation of the May 23, 2002, hearing, but a new initial hearing, starting at "square one". This is because there were revisions to the Master Plan and the new laws.
Solution: After any revisions, consider each hearing as if for a new document.
- The 127 pages of revisions were announced as available to the public on July 15, 2002, via a legal notice on the Poughkeepsie Journal. Therefore, at best, residents had only 10 days to acquire, read, and understand the complex revisions and how they relate to - and modify - the 226 pages (Master Plan + new laws) from May 2002. As an example, the May version of the new laws consisted of 117 pages - the July revisions consisted of 115 pages.
Solution: minimum of two-month document/revision availability to the residents prior to any public hearing.
- It is not clear how the Traffic Circulation Plan, referenced in the Master Plan, applies. There are at least two versions of this document - it is not clear which version applies. Most residents are not even aware of this document. I don't believe it was made available on the printed packages made available at town hall or the library in July, 2002. It is not on the town website.
Solution: Make the correct version of the Traffic Circulation Plan available in print as are the other new documents; and put it on the town website. Make clear the relationship between the Master Plan and the Traffic Circulation Plan.
- Even if residents had much more time to read, understand, and respond to the documentation, without specific, comprehensive Q&A sessions and presentations by the consultants/experts (e.g. on zoning, sewer, water, transportation, etc.), as was done for the Hopewell Hamlet Pedestrian Plan, most of us are not qualified to do so, since we are not being provided with adequate information. As an example, at the July 25 hearing, Mr. Fish took the time explain a particular detail - the definition of Floor Area Ration (FAR), making it very clear. We need hours of such explanation.
Solution: timely, topic-specific professional seminars for the public, at the town's expense.
The details of the plan/revision/documentation/hearing/approval process are not clear. They should be made so by law - or explained in detail to the public if they are already contained in the law. It is not clear if there will be revisions resulting from the July 25 comments. It is not clear in what form the town board's response will be to those comments.
- There must be a public review or hearing resulting from every set of comments (i.e. one as a
result of the May 23 comments, another as a result of the July 25 comments).
- There must be a public review or hearing resulting from every new document or revision,
including any made after July 25, 2002.
- The process must be clearly documented for laypersons - and made available to the public -
including via the town website.
- Regarding alternate solutions to any east-west crossing of the Taconic Parkway at Carpenter
Road/County Road 29 (e.g. overpass, underpass, diamond interchange), the proposal to use the
railroad right-of-way, or a path parallel to the tracks, was presented to you at the Town Board
meeting of November 9, 2001, by Lynn Robbins - as one of three solutions from our association
- despite statements that we wanted only one solution: a cul-de-sac. This solution was also
independently proposed at the July 25, 2002, hearing by another resident who lives no where near
A copy is being sent to George Rodenhausen, counsel for Neighbors for a Safe Community.
Neighbors for a Safe Community
39 Carpenter Road
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533