You may wonder why we voted against $52,000 of spending on February 21, 2006 (see video clip in comment #2) to hire a consultant to prepare the environmental impact statement on the condemnation of property at 1A Croton Point Avenue for a new DPW facility (see: “Touring the Croton Municipal Garage”).
First, the proposal lacked a public input stage (a.k.a. a “scoping session”) that we have used so often on big projects in the past.
Second, we—Charlie and Leo—have worked through many environmental impact statements over the past decade. We have learned a few things along the way. If past is prologue, this analysis will end up in court. So, why wouldn’t we want to get it right up front?
Third, the trustees are not rubber stamps for whatever the mayor wants. This significant item was cloaked in secrecy until it was sprung on us—Charlie and Leo—that evening.
There is no question that—if the village condemns the property at 1A Croton Point Avenue—the village must prepare an environmental impact statement (see: “Eminent Domain – Risk Vs. Uncertainty”). This document would describe the impacts of using the site for the intended public good, principally, a public works garage and storage yard. And there is also no question that the village’s condemnation proposal is controversial.
“Scoping sessions” were required until the state law was changed recently. Yet, the state highly recommends such public scoping sessions for controversial proposals. Scoping sessions help:
Experts can provide most of the answers to points 1 through 5 above. But we consider the final point—public participation—the most significant reason to hold a scoping session.
The village has a wealth of expertise and experience among its residents in relevant areas such as law, real estate, public works, design and construction, environmental analysis, and finance. We might learn valuable insights by listening to such neighbors.
We are not convinced that speed—on a matter of such potential financial significance—is in the village’s best interest. Whatever we do here has to stand the test of time.