The SEQRA filing...and the questions it raises

The latest Orange County SEQRA Environmental Assessment Form, filed May 7, 2015, raises many questions.

Click on this link to download a copy of this document and you can decide if it is credible. (Note that Orange County only publishes a 2014 version of the filing on their website. The document available thru the County states very different information than the latest filing.)

Below is a summary of references to the items in the document that we find misleading or erroneous.

Reference numbers at the beginning of the sentences relate to box numbers on the form.

PART 1

D.1.b.b:  Total acreage to be physically disturbed = +/- 0.7 acres. (Previous filing reported +/- 5.0 acres to be physically disturbed. More than an acre of disturbance would trigger the need for a state permit for historic preservation review by another state agency [New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (NYSHPO)].) And what about 324 new parking spaces listed in D.2.j.iii ? According to DOT recommended sizes, a parking space should be 8.5 feet wide by 19 feet long, or 161.5 square feet. Of course, mandatory handicapped parking spaces would be larger. 324 parking spaces consume 52,326 square feet or 1.2 acres!!! That is just for the parking spaces. There must be lanes to access the spaces which would take more space than the parking spaces. Total allocation for parking should be about 3 acres. Where are these 3 acres contained in the stated project size of +/- 0.7 acres? It is illegal to "segment" the project. The area for the new parking cannot appear in a later phase and be hidden from this filing.

D.1.e.ii: “demolition estimated at 5 months” directly contradicts D.2.r.i where it states 6 months for demolition. D.2.r.i. also states there will be 4,400 tons of construction debris to dispose of.

D.2.a: Certifies there will be no excavation. So where will all the crushed material from D.2.r.i. go?—under the existing building foundations?

D.2.f.: Certifies that there will be no stationary sources during construction, including D.2.f.ii Crushers. They cannot recycle the demolished concrete without crushers.

D.2.j.iii.: Certifies that the project will contain 324 new parking spaces. See D.1.b.b. above for comment on how these additional spaces were intentionally omitted from the stated acreage to avoid triggering a review by NYSHPO.

D.2.i.: Certifies no releases of air pollutants from open-air operations (including rock particulates/dust). This is impossible if they crush the concrete debris certified in D.2.r.i.

PART 2

4: Certifies that there will be no impact on groundwater and that there is no potential to introduce contaminants. Yet it is well documented that recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) introduces contaminates into groundwater.

15.a: States the noise as listed in D.2.m will have no or a small impact. It is well documented that the RCA process causes immense noise.

16.1: Certifies that no or only a small impact will be felt from leachate. It is well documented that high pH levels related to the alkali-silica reaction (ASR) and groundwater leaching are problems associated with RCA.

Part 617.7.c.l.i

  • Certifies no process will impact air quality during construction. What about dust from RCA?
  • Certifies that groundwater will not be adversely impacted. What about the increased alkalinity from RCA?
  • Certifies no adverse noise impacts. Was a quiet system invented to crush concrete that none of us are aware of?
  • Certifies that no solid waste production is anticipated. Where is almost 10,000 tons of RCA going?

Part 617.7.c.l.v

  • "The NYS Historic Preservation Office has reviewed the proposed Project. However, since the work on the Government Center Building will not involve Federal or State funding, review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act will not be required."
  • "Further, as a mitigation measure the Orange County Government Center, current exterior and interior will be recorded and this record will be maintained by the County as a public record as well as provided to the US Library of Congress."
  • "The Program will not impact any scenic views known to be important to the area."

Both the county and their contractor were notified by NYS Historic Preservation Office that the Paul Rudolph designed Orange County Government Center "is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. We will be reviewing the project to ensure that the proposed work complies with the Secretary of the Interior's Standard's for Rehabilitation."

The county is willfully ignoring this opportunity to list the building and preserve it. Instead they are proposing to destroy it and take pictures of it for future generations to view!

Below are the copies of the determination letters from NYS Historic Preservation Office (NYSHPO) that the county is intentionally ignoring:

 

Attachment A

Lists storm drainage improvements to be made; but where in the filing is land being disturbed to accomplish this? The prior 2014 filing certified in D.2.b.i. that the Rio Grande would get maintenance to its unclassified drainage course. This detail was omitted in the newest filing. The prior 2014 filing certified in D.2.e.ii. that the expanded parking lot would have surface runoff and building additions would cause roof downspout runoffs. These details were omitted in the newest filing even though they commented that drainage improvements are necessary. Why the lack of clarity here?-because the county does not want to show that they must disturb more than their claimed +/- 0.7 acres!


Goshen attorney Michael Sussman posts an analysis on his website of why he sees the current SEQRA filing as misleading and deceptive. He has sent his analysis to the local legislators.