croton blog for croton-on-hudson new york


Board of Trustees Meeting Set for August 15

August 12, 2005

The Regular Village Board of Trustees Meeting is being held on Monday, August 15th and simulcasted to Cablevision customers on ch. 78 beginning at 8:00 pm. Agenda follows…

Public Hearing

To consider the application by Philip Spagnoli for a steep slopes special hardship permit for 214 Grand Street (resolution).

Correspondence

  1. County Executive Andrew Spano, re: request for Board to consider the approval of a resolution calling for the state legislature and Governor to enact a civil confinement law.

  2. Carolyn Whiting, Nordica Drive, re: signs placed on phone poles throughout Village.

  3. Sue Kelly, re: Highlands Conservation Act.

  4. Jan Wines, Chair, Trails Committee, re: Half Moon Bay Esplanade.

  5. Cara Bonomolo, Snyder & Snyder, re: Application to Village of Ossining by Omnipoint Communications for a wireless telecommunications facility at 56 Browning Drive.

  6. Fran Allen for the Waterfront Advisory Committee, re: Riverwalk Trail Project.

Resolutions

  1. Calling for a Pubic Hearing to consider the special permit request by Gerald Weinstein for an accessory apartment at 1339 Albany Post Road on September 6, 2005 at 8pm in the meeting room of the Stanley H. Kellerhouse Municipal Building (resolution).

  2. Adoption of the Hazard Mitigation Plan and authorization of its submission to FEMA for its consideration and approval (resolution).

  3. Authorizing Village Manager to sign the agreement with the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation for the Croton Landing Improvements Grant (resolution).

  4. Authorizing the use of a permit from Westchester County to allow the Village to manage and schedule the Croton Point Park ballfields for the fall 2005 season (resolution).

On August 16, 2005 12:09 PM, Mrs. Smith said:

Of interest whilst watching the board meeting last night was Mayor Schmidt’s angry attack on trustees Wiegman and Kane for not getting the memo from WAC re: River Walk to his desk for timely consideration. When Leo weigman tried to explain the timing he was shut down by the Mayor. He was “very offended” by WHAT???? I was astounded by his display of arrogance and rudeness to two fellow trustees (who don’t happen to walk the same side of the aisle as he does). I guess that open government only goes as far as when you agree with the Mayor Schmidt’s opinions.

On August 14, 2005 4:49 PM, TeaDrinker said:

From CCC1 with the text of the letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) from Westchester County Legislator Thomas J. Abinanti.

From: Maria Cudequest [mcudeque@bestweb.net] Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 9:02 PM To: ‘ccc1@bestweb.net’ Cc:’bbb1@westchestergov.com’; ‘drgreg412@aol.com’; ‘trusteew@bestweb.net’; ‘ckanes@bestweb.net’; ‘james.steinberg4@verizon.net’ Subject: THANK YOU AGAIN MAYOR SCHMIDT, STEINBERG, OROS, THE MEMBERS OF THE COLKID WASTE COMMITTEE AND LEG. ABINANTI Importance: High

cc: Croton Bd/Ohio EPA/Ohio AG/CT DOJ/Berger

Dear Friends:

Throughout the long history of Metro Enviro, two legislators have distinguished themselves with respect to Croton residents’ legitimate concerns. They are Legislators Tom Abinanti and George Oros. In fact, Mr. Abinanti is the chief author of the county’s licensing law.

Enclosed is a plain text letter that was sent to the STB today concerning recent events surrounding Metro Enviro—signed in Committee today. It has been sent by fax and fed ex (with copy of report) to the STB.

Once again my neighbors and I thank all the members of the Committee on Solid Waste & Recyclables, and Trustees Steinberg and Mayor Schmidt for having the foresight to seek the assistance of Messrs. Abinanti and Oros.

Thank you notes to Legs. Abinanti and Oros may be sent to tjaesq@aol.com and geooros@aol.com.

Maria Cudequest

=================see below

August 12, 2005

Surface Transportation Board 1925 K Street, NW Washington, D.C.bb20423-001

Re: Finance Docket No. 34734

Northeast Interchange Railway, LLC, Lease and Operation Exemption Line in Croton-on-Hudson, New York

Dear Chairman Nober and Members of the Board:

As a Westchester County Legislator and the Chair of the Committee on Solid Waste and Recyclables, I urge the Surface Transportation Board to reject the attempt of Northeast Interchange Railway, LLC (“NIR”), actually a construction and demolition debris processor, to disguise itself as a railroad to exempt itself from state and local regulations. The County appreciates that the STB has stayed NIR’s notice of exemption and is permitting input from interested parties.

Westchester County has a unique interest in regulating waste haulers. In 1999, after several years of investigation and research, the County enacted the Westchester County Solid Waste and Recyclables Collection Licensing Law for two purposes. The first, because of our own concerns and pursuant to state mandate, was to ensure that solid waste generated within the County is disposed of or recycled in an environmentally safe and sound manner.

The second - and perhaps overarching - was to address the threat and influence of organized crime in the solid waste and recycling operations in Westchester County. Following federal indictments of garbage industry executives, the Board of Legislators commenced an in-depth study and found that organized crime permeated the solid waste hauling industry in Westchester County and constituted a significant problem for the health, safety and welfare of County residents. The existence of cartels has produced crime and corruption, as well as anti-competitive effects in the industry, including price fixing, prevention of new entry into the industry, and unconscionable customer contract terms. Through the modification of standards for waste hauling licenses and the expansion of the license application process in the Solid Waste Collection Licensing Law, the County is trying to ensure the good character, honesty and integrity of waste haulers in the County; to encourage competition; to regulate and monitor customer contracts; and to eliminate the influence of organized crime in the solid waste and recyclables collection industry.

Although we believe that any waste hauling operation — even one disguised as a railroad — is subject our licensing law, we have some concern that NIR - with its 1600 foot track spur - would claim itself exempt. As the STB itself stated in its August 5, 2005 decision staying NIR’s notice of exemption, “The transaction proposed by NIR would … trigger[] the agency’s primary jurisdiction and rais[e] important issues regarding the potential preemption of the proposed service from many aspects of local control.”

Our opposition to NIR’s application does not arise from NIMBY-ism. Nor is its opposition merely based on environmental concerns, albeit we share those very important concerns with the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and the State of New York. Nor do we seek to interfere with railroad operations.

Rather, the County has a very specific and critically important interest in eliminating the influence of organized crime in the waste hauling business in Westchester County. I have read NIR’s Notice of Exempt Transaction and am familiar both with the entities mentioned in it and with Metro Enviro, whose assets NIR intends to purchase. I must advise the STB that the site has had a checkered history with many concerns having been raised about the good character, honesty and integrity of some of those who have been involved in its operation in the past. Similar concerns have been raised about some of those who may potentially want to be involved in its operation and it is respectfully suggested that they may not qualify for a Westchester County Solid Waste and Recyclables Collection License.

As stated in the enclosed resolution, the Westchester County Committee on Solid Waste and Recyclables urges the STB not to permit NIR, an admitted processor of construction and demolition waste, to attempt an end run around our law. We urge that the STB reject NIR’s notice of exemption. This decision impacts not only the Village of Croton-on-Hudson; it will set a precedent for the entire County. If NIR is deemed exempt, every waste hauler with a few feet of track and every hauler located near a railroad track - indeed, every waste hauler who can make a deal with a company located on a railroad track — will seek a similar exemption and thereby thwart all environmental, land use and anti-corruption regulations of the waste hauling industry.

Thank you for your attention to this very important matter. Please advise me of any further proceedings related to this application.

Very truly yours,

Thomas J. Abinanti Chair, Committee on Solid Waste & Recyclables

On August 14, 2005 2:02 PM, weewill said:

My fear was that the new administration would continue to ignore and refuse to face the real threats of the litigation surrounding the waste hauling operation known as MetroEnviro.

Thanks to Schmidt, Oros and Abinati for finally stepping up to the plate and to Leo Wiegman, Ann Gallelli and the Village Manager who who have researched and studied the implications of a potential operation by “a railroad”. Special thanks to Charlie Kane who single handedly researched and brought this whole “railroad thing” to the attention of the board and even to our special counsel, Michael Gerrard. Thanks to the previous board who for so many years were the target of unfounded accuations and charges by uninformed residents who pretended to have all the answers.

Industrial Recyling, MetroEnviro I, Metro Enviro II, Greentree Realty, NYRR or some transfer, waste hauling business will fight relentlessly and (expensively!!) to protect their presence in this choice location. This is complicated stuff and we’ll need every resource to protect the village.

On August 14, 2005 1:49 PM, Don Diego said:

Croton’s finest practitioner of the art of the smear by innuendo, Maria Cudequest, continues to mislead the public under the guise of her ‘independent’ activism. Let me tell you what I mean.

Ross W reports that the latest from CCC1 opens with the notion that “the new board continues to clean up the MetroEnviro situation they have inherited”. Let us examine this backhanded attack on the prior administration.

The reality is that the MetroEnviro site being poised to become a 24 hour a day floating garbage dump has more to do with the closing of Metro Enviro — at the insistence of Ms. Cudequest and her votaries — than with any permit ever issued by the ‘old’ board. The so called inheritance is actually that the Appellate Division had upheld denial of the Metro Enviro permit renewal, because the ‘old’ board had been so careful and deliberate in its actions. Metro Enviro’s challenge to that ruling was pending in the Court of Appeals. Hardly a mess to “clean up”, despite the implication.

But, given the ‘old’ board’s successful closing of Metro Enviro, waste industry moguls have applied to the Federal government for an exemption which will permit their operation of a completely unregulated and unlimited garbage transfer site, to handle untold tons of New York City garbage, on an around the clock basis. They may be repelled for the moment, but they will return, sure as night follows day. Sooner or later the property owners will locate the right operator to exploit the loophole in Federal railroad law and obtain that exemption. Voila: Welcome to Garbage-on-Hudson.

It appears that Ms. Cudequest knew all along of this glaring down side to closing Metro Enviro, but harmed us all by her silence, in order to gain electoral advantage for our new mayor and board members. To be fair, the jury is still out on what if anything Dr. Schmidt knew of this when he was a trustee.

But aahhhh, to be the impartial and independent Maria Cudequest! Why with the very election of Dr. Schmidt and Mr. Brennan, along with the appointment of losing candidate Mr. Steinberg, the streets became cleaner; merchants in the Village poured out their souls to her and proclaimed their newfound optimism; indeed the very air must have seemed sweeter and the birds’ songs that much lovelier. However, the latest partisan cheer leading for Dr. Schmidt and Mr. Steinberg’s dealings with small time county pols Oros and Abinanti notwithstanding, it is not at all clear that they have any ability at the county level to stop the planned garbage operation at the Metro Enviro site. Given Federal preemption, it seems unlikely that they do. And by the way, isn’t this just the kind of “regional” cooperation so derided when Mr. Elliott was mayor?

In the past, no one wanted to challenge the regular falsities, fabrications and deceptions in Ms. Cudequest’s bombastic regal pronouncements. This is not surprising, given the serial automotive vandalism she perpetrated against her former neighbors, who actually sold their house to get away. Even though the vandalism stopped after Ms. Cudequest was arrested and pled guilty, she apparently likes to tell supporters that she ‘copped a plea’ based on bad legal advice. But the truth is she was captured on video committing her crimes.

Liberated by the anonymity of this blog, an opposing voice can now be heard and the truth can finally be told. And so, I remain…

Don Diego

On August 12, 2005 5:08 PM, weewill said:

Too little, too late, Oros and Abinati.

How come you guys didn’t take some action before now if your chief informant, Ms. Cudequest, Ex trustee McCarthy, and Mayor Schmidt have known about this for several months? I would also suggest the effort be coordinated with the whole board and the village manager - not only with the Mayor, one trustee, and the brand new village attorney. Maybe better to consult our special and very expensive attorney, Michael Gerrard.

On August 12, 2005 4:10 PM, TeaDrinker said:

If you don’t get CCC1, here is the latest.

From: Maria Cudequest [mcudeque@bestweb.net] Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 2:24 PM To: ‘ccc1@bestweb.net’ Subject: Thank you Oros, Schmidt, Abinanti and Steinberg!

Dear Friends:

As the new board continues to clean up the Metro Enviro situation they have inherited, I thought you would all be interested to know that Mayor Schmidt and Trustee Steinberg have been very busy in the past week.

Over 221 emails and faxes have gone to the county, our various elected representatives, etc. All those that have written Mr. Oros have received a response. Please see that response below. Keep up the good work. See you all on Monday night.

Maria Cudequest

From: Geooros@aol.com [Geooros@aol.com] Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 6:28 AM To: Subject: Re: Northeast Request to deny license and sale approval

Thank you for your email. Please know that I share your concern about licensing this firm to operate in Croton. I am against it. Just yesterday I met with Mayor Schmidt, Trustee Steinberg and Legislator Tom Abinaniti on this issue. As a members of the Board of Legislators Committee on Solid waste and Recyclables Tom and I have agreed to take some formal action to weigh in to oppose this license.

We are coordinating that effort with the Mayor, Trustee Steinberg and the Village Attorney.

Sincerely,

George Oros, County Legislator District One



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