Water­front re­siliency progress

Five years later, city work­ing to ful­fill rec­om­men­da­tions to buoy in­fras­truc­ture and ameni­ties

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Kirby pkirby@free­manon­line.com

KINGSTON, N.Y. >> Five years ago, a city task force came up with a set of 24 rec­om­men­da­tions to bol­ster re­siliency at the water­front.

The rec­om­men­da­tions by the Kingston Tidal Water­front Task Force were things that could be ac­com­plished in both the near and the long term.

The task force was “formed in 2013 and un­der­took a risk as­sess­ment process that re­sulted in rec­om­men­da­tions to re­duce flood vul­ner­a­bil­ity on the water­front,” ac­cord­ing to a City Hall re­lease pro­mot­ing the “Water­front Re­silience Sum­mit and High Wa­ter Fes­ti­val” sched­uled for Fri­day, Oct. 19.

“Since that time,” ac­cord­ing to the re­lease, “Kingston has worked to ful­fill rec­om­men­da­tions and im­ple­ment projects to in­crease re­silience of water­front in­fras­truc­ture and ameni­ties.”

So, by its own as­sess­ment, how well has the city done?

One of those rec­om­men­da­tions was for the city to em­brace a “cli­mate smart” pro­gram.

“Kingston was an earlyadopter of the (state) De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion’s Cli­mate Smart Com­mu­ni­ties Pro­gram, and is one of only a hand­ful of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the state that has earned a Sil­ver Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion,” the fes­ti­val press re­lease says.

Here are some of the other task force rec­om­men­da­tions, each im­me­di­ately fol­lowed by the city re­sponse:

• Adopt the sea-level rise and flood pro­jec­tions rec­om­mended by New York state and the Kingston Water­front Flood­ing Task Force for plan­ning pur­poses. Plan and pro­jec­tions adopted Novem­ber 2013 by Com­mon Coun­cil and en­dorsed by Mayor Steve Noble.

• In­cor­po­rate the 24 find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions

from the task force into other city and re­gional plans. Lan­guage in­te­grated into city’s Com­pre­hen­sive Plan, adopted April 20, 2016.

• De­velop a Kingston Water­front “Long-term Re­siliency Plan.” Hud­son River­port-Im­ple­men­ta­tion Plan, FGEIS and mar­ket con­di­tions up­date for 192 acres of Kingston’s Ron­d­out Water­front was com­pleted in 2016.

• En­sure that all rel­e­vant city staff, elected and ap­pointed of­fi­cials are fully trained in and ex­pected to in­cor­po­rate im­pacts of flood­ing and sea-level rise into their daily work. Cli­mate Smart com­mu­nity co­or­di­na­tor/sus­tain­abil­ity co­or­di­na­tor is on staff to co­or­di­nate with mu­nic­i­pal staff on in­te­gra­tion of rec­om­men­da­tions and flood­ing con­sid­er­a­tions.

• Re­search, eval­u­ate and im­ple­ment changes to city build­ing and zon­ing codes that will in­crease re­siliency and are cost-ef­fec­tive and so­cially eq­ui­table. Re­cently, the city’s Plan­ning Board ap­proved a mixed-use water­front

de­vel­op­ment, but only af­ter de­vel­op­ers took ex­tra steps aimed at flood­pre­ven­tion mea­sures. Other mat­ters re­lated to this rec­om­men­da­tion are still pend­ing.

• Study the fea­si­bil­ity of us­ing pol­icy, zon­ing and build­ing codes to achieve cre­ative, wa­ter-de­pen­dent and wa­ter-en­hanced uses that are re­silient, in­clud­ing el­e­vated, am­phibi­ous, or float­ing struc­tures, wharves, berms and el­e­vated rights of way. Still pend­ing.

• Eval­u­ate the use of nat­u­ral buf­fers and green shore­line in­fras­truc­ture to re­duce flood risk and ero­sion and con­serve nat­u­ral re­source func­tions. Sus­tain­able Shore­line Pro­ject along Ron­d­out - Phase 1 in de­sign, Phase 2, cur­rently out to bid, de­sign work to be com­pleted in 2019.

• En­sure that lo­cal street net­works, util­i­ties and other in­fras­truc­ture func­tion and re­main con­nected as the city im­ple­ments adap­ta­tion strate­gies to sealevel rise. State grant of $60,000 to be used to fix 1,400 feet of fail­ing bulk­head on water­front. Ad­di­tional $300,000 grant to do ad­di­tional de­sign work of fail­ing bulk­head.

• Re­search and eval­u­ate land-use tools and fi­nanc­ing mech­a­nisms or in­cen­tives to fa­cil­i­tate flood adap­ta­tion in the water­front. No ac­tion noted.

• En­sure op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­ist for open space and re­cre­ation over the long term. Kingston Green­line: Kingston Point Rail Trail is un­der con­struc­tion and Hud­son Land­ing Prom­e­nade plans un­der­way. Em­pire State Trail will now go through Kingston in­clud­ing water­front area.

• Con­sider fu­ture flood haz­ards in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment plan­ning. No ac­tion noted.

• De­velop a plan to mit­i­gate both near- and longterm risk to the waste­water treat­ment fa­cil­ity. Some flood-preven­tion work at the plant has been com­pleted.

• Host an in­for­ma­tional pub­lic meet­ing with FEMA. Task Force hosted a Na­tional Flood In­sur­ance Pro­gram and Com­mu­nity Rat­ing Sys­tem Work­shop on Dec. 4, 2014.

• Con­duct pub­lic out­reach to prop­erty own­ers, ten­ants and prospec­tive buy­ers in the Flood Haz­ard Over­lay District. No ac­tion noted.

• En­cour­age and as­sist com­mu­nity-based or­ga­ni­za­tions in their ef­forts to com­mu­ni­cate the risks of flood­ing and po­ten­tial adap­ta­tion so­lu­tions to vul­ner­a­ble or non-English speak­ing pop­u­la­tions. No ac­tion noted.

• Col­lab­o­rate with other water­front com­mu­ni­ties and county and state gov­ern­ment to plan for coastal haz­ards like sea-level rise and storm surge. Fa­cil­i­tat­ing re­gional Hud­son River Es­tu­ary Pro­gram grant to re­con­vene four water­front com­mu­ni­ties (Kingston, Catskill, Pier­mont and Stony Point) to col­lab­o­rate on how to take steps for­ward to im­ple­ment rec­om­men­da­tions de­cided on in each com­mu­nity’s task force.

• Re­vise emer­gency man­age­ment plan­ning doc­u­ments. Kingston Com­pre­hen­sive Emer­gency Man­age­ment Plan was drafted in 2014. This is in progress.

• Em­ploy new tools to im­prove real-time emer­gency man­age­ment plan­ning. Es­tab­lished Swift911, the city’s sub­scrip­tion-based Emer­gency No­ti­fi­ca­tion Sys­tem, to alert cit­i­zens to emer­gen­cies.

• En­sure safe ac­cess and evac­u­a­tion along the water­front dur­ing reg­u­lar flood events. Kingston’s Draft Com­pre­hen­sive Emer­gency Man­age­ment Plan has evac­u­a­tion guide­lines.

• De­velop a process to map and track repet­i­tive storm dam­age. No ac­tion noted.

“The city con­tin­ues to bear the brunt of in­creased rain­fall events, more se­vere weather and harsher win­ter storms,” Noble said in an email. “Re­siliency be­gins with good plan­ning, com­mu­nity out­reach and in­cre­men­tal steps to make sure our com­mu­nity con­tin­ues to pre­pare for th­ese ad­di­tional chal­lenges in the fu­ture.”


In this Oct. 30, 2012 photo, two Down­town Kingston res­tau­rants — Rosita’s, fore­ground, and Steel House — are sur­rounded by Ron­d­out Creek flood wa­ters.

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