UDC grapples with comments on NYS draft SGEIS, Executive director Douglass to retire
“So you abstained personally, not for the town?” asked Ritter.
“I represented the town and I exercised my option of abstaining,” said Fluhr. “I have no obligation to consult Mr. Rando.”
Town of Deerpark representative David Dean said he thinks it’s time to revisit the RMP and its guidelines. “All documents, including the U.S. Constitution, are amendable,” he said.
McGuinness responded, “The document is amendable, but it’s based on the land and water use guidelines which the secretary put in place during the local discussions back in the day.
Those guidelines are not amendable. The communities are supposed to have zoning in place according to the guidelines and this body is supposed to have discussions about ways to make it all work in a partnership.
“Your Congresspeople voted and made this a wild and scenic river, and told the secretary to work with local governments and residents to develop land and water use guidelines to provide protection for this corridor so that the quality of life would remain the same. This plan guides how everyone is going to work together to make sure that this valley is protected for present and future generations. The guidelines are not amendable unless Congress amends them.”
McGuinness reminded the council of their role. “You just
decided not to approve the letter to New York State,” he said. “That letter is supposed to tell New York State how drilling and fracking is going to affect this corridor, not how it will affect New York State. The job of this body is to protect this river corridor according to the guidelines. Understand what they say and what your responsibilities are.”
Fluhr added the council was established for essentially two reasons. “One was to protect the river, the second was to protect the private property along the river,” he said. “We ended up with the RMP. Each township had the option of accepting it or not. The towns then were obligated to do zoning to protect the river from certain things. Over the years, with a lot of controversy, we’ve always been able to find a middle way between these two extremes.”
In other matters, concerns raised about the excessive rainfall in August and the current levels of the reservoirs brought a reminder from Delaware River Basin Commission branch manager William Muszynski that the release schedules are set by the Flexible Flow Management Program. Town of Hancock, NY representative Fred Peckham responded, “The bottom line is there’s too much water in the reservoirs.”