Esslie-Frenia Law June 2023 Leaderboard

DEC taking over as Carver project lead agency

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Offshore wind blades similar to those that would be constructed at the Port of Coeymans should the project be approved. Courtesy of Unsplash

COEYMANS — The state Department of Environmental Conservation is now the lead agency on the review process for the offshore wind power project at the Port of Coeymans.

The DEC issued the request to the town’s joint planning/zoning board of appeals in a letter and the board unanimously voted to approve it.

“The DEC has flexed its muscles and we have a letter from the DEC dated Dec. 22, 2023. In the letter, it is stated that the agency desires to be lead agency for the Carver/GE windmill project,” board chairman Robert Nolan said at the second of two public hearings on the project.

The first hearing was held Dec. 11, and drew a crowd of speakers both for and against the project. The second hearing was held Dec. 27 after the initial hearing was adjourned.

“The lead agency will now be taking over. The town of Coeymans will not be responsible for that,” Nolan said. “We will not make any motions, we will not pass anything, we will not vote on anything pertaining to the Carver application tonight.”

Representatives from Carver Companies and their consultants spoke on behalf of the project and outlined some updates to the plan.

Dave Ingalls from Ingalls & Associates detailed the addition of another warehouse building and an increase in the number of parking spaces that would be allotted to the project.

“We have added an additional warehouse building. This is a 5,000 square foot warehouse building that GE has asked us to include in the site plan,” Ingalls said.

The additional building would be built on the property owned by Ten Eyck Powell.

The project would also add another 100 parking spots to the plan, for a total of 500 spaces, Ingalls said.

Alanna Moran, from VHB, outlined an updated traffic evaluation that increased the number of anticipated trips resulting from the project, increasing the number from 450 daily trips to 850.

Moran said it was determined that no traffic signal was necessary on River Road to accommodate the additional traffic generated by the project. It was also determined that a left-turn lane on River Road was not deemed necessary.

Numerous residents spoke out against the project, voicing ongoing concerns about traffic, environmental impacts and effects on the residential community and the Hudson River, among others.

Resident Zachary Assael said the community is against the project and called on the planning/zoning board of appeals to reject it.

“This board’s first responsibility is not to Carver Industries, but to the residents of this community,” Assael said. “And the residents are here to tell you that we don’t want this project. We don’t want 8,000 or more monthly vehicles going up and down our roads, on River Road, in front of our houses, bringing noise pollution, air pollution, dirt and the multiple number of accidents that are sure to occur. We don’t want our residential zone turned into industrial wasteland.”

Barbara Heinzen said the application for the project is “incomplete” and has more than 100 unresolved issues. There are other places the project can go, she said.

“This is a complex project in a very troublesome site with a lot of changes in elevation,” Heinzen said. “It does not need to be here. It is better left as is.”

Several residents voiced concerns about traffic and said the speed limit should be lowered.

“I would ask you to ask the DEC to work with the DOT (Department of Transportation) to lower the speed limit from the port on River Road to Route 396,” said River Road resident Kent Pugliese. “Someone has to ask DEC to get the speed limit changed.”

Another resident asked for the traffic study to be redone to include the impacts on Main Street and Route 144.

Stanley Koniszewski, from Teamsters Local 294, spoke out in favor of the project and the jobs it would bring to the community.

“Growth is a positive thing for a community. The one thing we need is growth for communities to survive and anything that comes to these areas, such as green energy or anything positive like that, I think we should embrace it,” said Koniszewki. “There will be a lot of jobs that come out of this, a lot of Teamster jobs and a lot of families are going to get fed from this work.”

A board member asked where Koniszewski lives and he responded that he lives in the Adirondacks.

Ravena Deputy Mayor Nancy Warner read a letter into the record stating that the village board requested to be named an “involved agency” in the review process, citing the village’s collaboration with the town on issues such as water and sewer.

Warner clarified a point made earlier by a Carver Companies representative about whether the village had agreed to provide water to the project.

“At this time, no formal application has been made to the village of Ravena by the town of Coeymans for this project,” Warner said, stressing that the village board has not made any agreement with regard to providing water to the site.

The public hearing was adjourned to the next meeting of the planning/zoning board of appeals, but because the schedule of meetings will not be set by the incoming town administration until the reorganizational meeting in early January, a date has not yet been set.

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