More details on proposed Rt. 28 concrete fabrication plant

Everything was still a bit tentative in the Town of Kingston at the start of this week, following a brief Planning Board meeting on Thursday, January 2. 

According to Planning Board chairman John Konior, an agenda to hear an amended application and Environmental Assessment Form from 850 Route 28 LLC on Wednesday evening, January 22, was okayed. But the contracts for holding the Planning Board meeting at a larger space in Lake Katrine, where a previous meeting was held in late August after crowds proved too large for town offices on Sawkill Road in the Town of Kingston, had yet to be signed.

Konior said the January 22 meeting on the application, to put in a manufacturing facility on lands surrounded by state Wild Forest lands and a growing recreation use trail system, would not be open to public comment, wherever it’s held.

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By mid-week, however, everything was finalized and the next Town of Kingston Planning Board meeting, to hear application changes would be presented by developers, was set to start at 7 PM at the M. Clifford Miller Middle School, located at 65 Fording Place Road in Lake Katrine, on Wedenesday evening, January 22. 

850 Route 28 LLC is a business of Thomas Auringer, a Town of Kingston native who went on to found and run a booming crane rental business in the metro area, and a number of other businesses throughout the Hudson Valley. 

“Once we determine what we’ll be doing, moving forward, there will definitely be a public hearing,” Konior added.

850 Route 28 LLC is a business of Thomas Auringer, a Town of Kingston native who went on to found and run a booming crane rental business in the metro area, and a number of other businesses throughout the Hudson Valley. 

According to the 592 page Environmental Assessment Form Addendum submitted by the prospective developer that will be coming under review — necessitated when the Kingston Planning Board rescinded an earlier Negative Declaration it had made on possible environmental impacts last autumn, as well as a town zoning change on the site pegged for construction — the site in question has a long history of industrial uses. The new document also pushes the idea of new jobs, and the new business’ wish to bring “distressed” lands back to use.

In rescinding its previous decision on the application on August 29, the planning board said its action was based on “a procedural error in the prior rezoning” of the Auringer property.

“The 850 Route 28 project team and developer look forward to the review of its proposal for development. It is generally recognized that a process such as this is complex and will take time, including educating the public that has varying degrees of information, some of which is incorrect,” noted 850 Route 28 LLC’s public relations consultant Raleigh Green in anticipation of the upcoming January 22 meeting. “Our application and research documents are available to the public on our website at 850route28.com. We remain hopeful in transforming an abandoned open rock quarry into a sustainable, local use infrastructure operation so that local roads and bridges may be efficiently, sustainably and quickly repaired.”

Continuing, Green pointed out what he felt were the plusses in the amended application that would be presented.

“The development team of 850 Route 28 LLC has had several additional studies completed on habitat, noise, and historical/archeology of the site since the initial application submission.  We have also provided more refinements on the construction of the site, including time of construction operations (M-F during regular business hours), and duration (1.5-3 years total for site preparation before operations can begin). In addition, to enhance traffic safety, the developer has agreed to create a left turn lane on Route 28 for the entrance as well as install additional signage along Route 28 warning of cross traffic,” he wrote, pointing out how direct answers to public comments from past public hearings are also available online. “We have also increased our public commitment to ‘green and sustainable’ attributes of the project — to conform to Ulster County’s drive to ‘go green’ wherever possible, by: reducing the carbon footprint of operations by using local recycled crushed glass in the concrete; use rooftop-captured rainfall for all concrete mixing; install solar panels for energy; use recycled materials for facility construction; and purchase the latest machinery equipment that significantly reduces energy use (highly efficient) during the pre-cast concrete bridge decking fabrication process.  In addition, the developer will create two stormwater catchment ponds (filtration ponds) that will, for the first time ever at this site, filter stormwater (for 100+ year events) of all sediments and particulate. In comparison, the site today at the open rock quarry gushes stormwater with particulate directly into the local watershed. This feature of the development will be an enormous environmental improvement to local water quality.”

Opposition gears up

Opponents of the development application have been organizing under the banner of the Woodstock Land Conservancy, which has dedicated a special Facebook page to the subject. In addition to their own links to news stories on the process, and a Catskill Mountainkeeper petition seeking the planning board to declare a positive declaration in regards to the new application and require Auringer’s company to submit a full Environmental Impact Statement for their proposal, they urged readers to, “Please mark your calendars and attend.”

“As people who use and cherish the Catskill Park’s mountains, forests, lakes, streams, and wetlands, we call on the Town of Kingston Planning Board to recognize both the local and regional character and the economic benefits of recreational use of Onteora Lake, Pickerel Pond, and the Bluestone Wild Forest and to conduct a thorough and rigorous environmental review of the proposed steel and concrete fabrication plant at 850 Route 28, specifically by issuing a Positive Declaration of significance and requiring a full Environmental Impact Statement,” read an announcement sent out the morning of January 8. “An online petition asking for a renewed and vigorous environmental review garnered 1,787 signatures, and volunteers also gathered more than 100 signatures from residents of the Town of Kingston through house-to-house canvassing and petitions carried at Onteora Lake… We are now mobilizing public opinion to insist that the next stages of the Planning Board’s review are rigorous and to oppose the Town of Kingston’s attempts to rezone the parcel in question toward industrial uses.”

There are 2 comments

  1. TheRedDogParty

    “……the site in question has a long history of industrial uses.”

    This is a specious argument. Previous industrial uses do not justify future industrial uses. Furthermore, back in the day when this parcel was a quarry/junkyard. Onteora Lake was not a valued and heavily used recreation area as it is today. This parcel should be returned as a natural wilderness, joining the neighboring preserves.

  2. Glenn Kreisberg

    The cultural resources of the development site have not been acknowledged or considered. The archaeological assessment was shoddy at best and conveniently overlooked the obvious existence of the Waghkonk Trail, currently Waughkonk Rd., one of the earliest known travel corridor for Native Americans, European settlers and early American commerce.

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