Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 12.01.22

PFAS Report submitted to Legislature

A Report titled “A Forensic Analysis of the Spectacular Collapse of the Poestenkill PFAS Whitewash – The Aftermath; A Whitewash Admitted, Collusion Confirmed – Executive Summary” prepared by Paul R. Plante, NYSPE, Assoc. P.H. Eng. has been submitted to each member of the state Assembly and Senate Health and Env. Conservation Committees where it has generated interest and a request for further information and documentation.

The Report begins with the quote “Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive,” meaning that when you lie or act dishonestly you are initiating problems and a domino structure of complications which eventually run out of control, and such it was to be in Poestenkill, New York for the group known as the “Partners,” they being the NYSDEC, the NYSDOH, the RCHD, the town of Poestenkill and former Eliot Spitzer Chief Policy Advisor Judith Enck, which group, from January of 2021 to 20 June 2022 wasted a year and a half of valuable time not to mention governmental resources paid for by the taxpayers, a theft of honest services, on a wild goose chase all over Poestenkill, New York in a vain attempt by the “Partners” to give political protection to Waste Management of New York, LLC, the permittee of the Poestenkill transfer station at the intersection of NY 66 and NY 351 after exceedances of PFAS were found in the water supply of the Algonquin School in Poestenkill.

The whitewash came to a spectacular end on 20 June 2022 when NYSDEC admitted the importation of PFAS through the transfer station since 2018 as well as the fact of active PFAS contamination in the groundwater beneath the transfer station.

The Report concluded by stating that the “partners” conducting a whitewash to protect the financial “health and well-being” of the operator of the Poestenkill transfer station ahead of the health and well-being of a school full of children was especially egregious as well as an act of moral insanity sociopathic in nature.

Paul Plante, NYSPE, Poestenkill

North Greenbush multi-family dwelling moratorium

In November, North Greenbush held a public hearing related to a multi-family dwelling moratorium law. Following that public hearing at the town meeting, a moratorium was adopted. During this 12-month moratorium, North Greenbush should review the data and develop policies accordingly. 

Housing vacancy rates for both rental & homeowner housing are at/near historic lows [US Census Bureau]. Per Fannie Mae, as of 2019, the U.S. was short 3.8 million housing units for sale or rent. Per a NY State Comptroller 2019 report, 44.8% of rents in Rensselaer County were above the affordability threshold and 21% above the severe housing cost burden threshold [Housing Affordability in New York State]. In March 2022, NY Sen. Hinchey announced a $200 million budget proposal to increase the supply of local housing for purchase and for rent in upstate NY. The data indicates housing needs to be addressed.

Traffic is an often cited reason to limit housing, but I would rather have housing traffic which is infrequent than commercial traffic bottle necks. North Greenbush approved multiple commercial enterprises that will probably increase traffic issues. Chick-fil-A locations in CA, CT, NC, WA, & WI all reported major traffic issues associated with stores in 2021/2022. Will North Greenbush’s Chick-fil-A snarl traffic like other locations? A Dunkin’ Donuts is near complete at the new traffic circle on Route 4. There will be 5 Dunkin Donuts between HVCC & Rte 9/20 – a 5-mile stretch of road. Will this new Dunkin’ Donut snarl traffic at the circle as one local resident suggested to me?

Rather than treating development on an ad-hoc basis, North Greenbush should update the comprehensive plan. Ideally a revised plan will encourage mixed-use spaces with retail on the first floor and residential spaces above. Per the National Association of Realtors, both younger and older generations desire walkable communities. Multi-family dwellings are essential for walkable communities.

Michael Myer, North Greenbush

Mrs. Sabo Awakens Late

A letter by former North Greenbush Councilperson Mary Frances Sabo expressing concerns over some development issues arrives years after they were needed as does the recently approved 12 month moratorium on multi-family housing. 

As a former Chair of the town Democratic Committee, our platform included the creation of a Comprehensive Plan Committee which was put in place and chaired by then Councilman Richard Fennelly. That work when completed was set aside when the town board majority flipped to Republican control. It had been completed with a State grant at no cost to the town. That Committee was dismissed and replaced by a pro development membership. A new company was then hired to redo the plan at considerable cost to the town.

Ironically, had the original Comprehensive Plan been adopted, the Town Board might not have had to pass a 12 month moratorium on multi family housing. Nonetheless, it is clear that the moratorium is needed given the degree to which development has exploded in the town and the strain on traffic and services.

I am however, surprised to see Mrs. Sabo’s awakening on increased sprawl and her wish to require developers to build sidewalks connecting neighborhoods and commercial developments allowing residents to walk and bike without complicating traffic. When the area around North Road was being developed, there was only silence from Mrs. Sabo as a member of the Town Board. Today these neighborhoods are developed without sidewalks, forcing residents onto the streets with their pets, carriages and bicycles, mostly in a poorly lighted environment. Her enlightenment comes too late for many residents and neighborhoods.

Dan Ashley, Troy

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