Jan 28, 2019 | Letter to the Copake Planning Board - Craryville Residents, Peter Watson & Kathleen Heins

For the attention of Mr. Haight and Members of the Planning Board: 

We realize that you have many interests to serve as members of the planning board, and that you're committed to the wellbeing of the community as a whole.

Having attended several meetings recently, I would like to express my reservations about the meetings with GRJH, Corp.

For one, the public meetings don't seem genuinely aimed at the public. The easel with their illustration is invariably turned with its back to us.  The representative from GRJH speaks in an inaudible mumble unless we in the public area specifically request her to speak up.  Her volume tends to go down again, and nobody reminds her that we are there to listen actively and that she should pipe up. The blueprints aren't easy at all for regular people to grasp what has now changed and what didn't. Renderings could be made much easier for us to follow. Nobody sums up the key differences for us.  If this presentation was really to be made so that the people in the surrounding community could understand what was now being proposed, it would be set out differently. There would be a clear list of the current status of the request: How many pumps, how many acres under concrete, what's the new floor space of the building, how big is that is compared to the original proposal, what will take place in that big building, what are the hours of the station, how long will the lights stay on at night, how big is the septic, where will gas spillage drain into when it rains or they clean the surface?

But apart from the way the meetings take place, I would like to say that it would be completely reasonable--and performed as routine matters in requests of this type by most Hudson Valley communities--to make advance requests of GRJH. It's every bit as important for the good people of Craryville to know about anything that could affect their water supply as it would be for good residents of Copake Lake. These aren't strange. They are standard, and everyone is 100% right to be concerned. For one, based on what I heard at the last meeting, GRJH doesn't have a perfect track record and has been sued by other communities. The studies on water impact are normally asked for by communities, and the petitioners are the ones who should pay.  Even if they don't pay, the Board has the ability to request these environmental studies and the right to insist on such, up front, before any permissions are granted. 

The building that GRJH proposes is bigger, if my facts are correct, than the sizable hall that the Planning Board uses for the meetings, and if there's no restaurant allowed, why on earth is such a huge space needed? 

I will be making these points at the next open meeting if I'm able to attend, but in the meantime, wanted to make sure that our concerns are entered into the public record. 

Thank your for the time and energy you put into looking out for the residents of our community.  Just please remember that if we want to ask GRJH to be transparent and forthcoming about their plans, and are concerned about whether those plans are suitable for the location, that these are not unreasonable. Rather, they're the questions that must be asked before one brick goes in place.

Peter Watson & Kathleen Heins