Ir­ish cen­ter needs en­vi­ron­men­tal scru­tiny

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - OPINION -

Dear Ed­i­tor: We re­viewed the changes to the Ir­ish Cul­tural Cen­ter of the Hud­son Val­ley’s pro­posal and, while we ap­pre­ci­ate their ef­fort to ad­dress the con­cerns raised by res­i­dents, busi­nesses and visi­tors of the Ron­d­out neigh­bor­hood, the changes pre­sented are not re­spon­sive enough to mit­i­gate the ad­verse im­pacts pointed out to the Plan­ning Board by var­i­ous agen­cies and the pub­lic.

Our cit­i­zens’ group, Grow the R-T Re­spon­si­bly, which sup­ports re­spon­si­ble de­vel­op­ment of the Ron­d­out, has de­liv­ered to the city of Kingston Plan­ning Board our lat­est pe­ti­tion main­tain­ing our group’s po­si­tion that a pos­i­tive dec­la­ra­tion of likely en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of the project is needed in the re­view process.

Rea­sons listed in­clude rec­om­men­da­tions from the Kingston Her­itage Area Com­mis­sion and the State His­toric Preser­va­tion Of­fice, pub­lic com­ments and our pre­vi­ous pe­ti­tion which was de­liv­ered to the Plan­ning Board.

The re­cent pe­ti­tion con­tains more than 30 com­ments cit­ing rea­sons this project, even with its changes, will have at least one po­ten­tial ad­verse im­pact on the area (the cri­te­ria for a pos­i­tive dec­la­ra­tion un­der state en­vi­ron­men­tal qual­ity re­view rules): scale and de­sign in­com­pat­i­bil­ity with the area; noise, traf­fic and light­ing im­pacts on neigh­bors; im­pact on nearby small busi­nesses; and the lack of park­ing, among oth­ers.

The cur­rent pe­ti­tion rep­re­sents the many of us who could not at­tend or speak be­fore the Kingston Plan­ning Board on Nov. 2, along­side those who did.

The im­pacts of this project should be ad­e­quately stud­ied so the pub­lic’s health, safety and wel­fare, and the qual­ity of life of the im­me­di­ate neigh­bor­hood will be taken into ac­count dur­ing the re­view process. Owen Har­vey on be­half of Grow the R-T Re­spon­si­bly Kingston

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