Saugerties planners balance interests of contractor, neighbors

Kim Kiniry, a contractor shut down last November following complaints from neighbors of noise and dust; is once more in front of the town planning board in Saugerties seeking approval of an amended site plan.

Kiniry West is one of two adjacent properties Kim Kiniry owns on Route 212. The property includes an area for machinery, crushed rock and other storage, a section for work on materials, and a building and office space.

After back-and-forth discussion between Gina Kiniry and Mark Kanter, a neighbor who opposes the operation, at the planning board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, July 21, the board agreed to set Kiniry’s allowed hours of operation as 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the understanding that in emergencies the contractor could work beyond those hours. The board also directed planning consultant Dan Shuster to draw up a negative declaration, a statement that the operation does not have environmental impacts that would require more extensive environmental study, for the board.

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More specificity now

Engineer Chris DiChiaro said Kiniry had made a number of changes in response to comments at a previous hearing. He had included additional landscaping, identified specific stockpile areas, clarified the parking areas, updated the lighting plan, and reconciled inconsistencies in building elevations.

Emily Swenson, a lawyer representing Mark Kanter and Heather Hutchinson, a couple whose home is adjacent to the operation, thanked the board members for the work they have put into the application. She was “glad that this plan has a bit more specificity to it.”

“The biggest concerns are the noise, the visual and the dust that could come off the site,” Swenson summed up. Noise was the leading concern. Kanter and Hutchinson downloaded an app for their phone to measure the noise level, and while these meters can be inaccurate, “it does give an idea of the level.” They measured the ambient noise at about 36 decibels, but when a big truck went by it would be 46 to 49 decibels. When the couple measured the noise level while a power tool was operating in the shop, it was measured at 96 decibels, Swenson said.

Gina Kiniry said a craftsman was repairing one of the pillars not on the Kiniry property under discussion but on their adjacent property.” The stone mason repairing the pillar used a masonry saw, but only for the two hours it took to fix it, she explained. While she did not dispute the neighbiooringt couple’s sound measurement, Kiniry said she looked up sound levels “and an ordinary lawn mower is at 90. I’m not sure why they were so disturbed by this noise.” The pillar has been repaired, and the noise from the saw has ended. The problem, with the location of the rock wall and the work area, is that “the sound really travels,” Swenson said.

Swenson offered a list of five items the board should consider if it goes forward with this application. First was specifying permitted activities on the site. “The site-plan application shows a shop, a storage area for equipment and materials and a small office, so we think that that should be the activities allowed on the site,” said Swenson. Grinding, chipping and similar processes should not be allowed, she said. 

Second, rock ledges on the site should not be further reduced.

Determining activity times
The hours of operation should be specified. “Our suggestion is 8:30 to 4:30.”

“Absolutely not,” Kiniry said. 

The plan does include lighting, the fourth item on Swenson’s list. Her clients would request not having lighting on the western side of the building.
The fifth item is screening, which Swenson wanted increased. “You have screening on the [Route] 212 side, and we would ask that the screening and the berms be extended around the western boundary of the property to shield the property and the workshop from the neighbors to the west.”

DiChiaro said there was already a line of trees between Kanter and Hutchinson’s home and the shop, more than 500 feet away. “If you’re standing next to the shop building, you can’t see the neighbors’ home, and I seriously doubt whether they can see the shop building, unless it’s winter.”

The lighting was down-shielded, DiChiaro said. The illumination plan shows that you won’t have visible illumination beyond the property line, “let alone 500 feet away.”

Regarding the proposed hours of operation, Kiniry said, “These are clearly bankers’ hours. We cannot have our workers show up at the shop at 8:30 and load up by 9 o’clock, go to a job site that may be an hour away, unload and somehow get back to our shop by 4:30. That definitely infringes on our profitability.” 

Sorter hours would also affect other neighbors of the construction site, she argued. “We cannot leave people without water or sewer to accommodate Mark and Heather because they don’t like the noise or the sight or the smell or whatever their concerns are. When they bought their property they knew it was in a commercial zone, and that at some point a business would open up.”
They were lucky to have a long time before that happened, Kiniry said. “I don’t want to have to apologize for being a highway business in a highway-zoned property.” In response to a question, Kiniry said she would like to follow town and county work schedules, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Board members suggested a wide variety of times. Chairman Howard Post, who is in the construction business, said he would propose 6:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Swenson resisted, referring to a document she said had been prepared by the Kinirys, in which they had suggested a 7:30 start. Kiniry maintained that referred to their other site, where grinding and crushing was done. Swenson said she was referring to a document specifically addressing the 1740 site.

While the final agreement is still not complete, the board held an informal vote on the proposal and agreed to Post’s suggested hours.

Accommodating everybody

Kanter said he and his wife did not want to be involved in trying to enforce the regulations. “We’re depending on the town and its representatives – you guys – to keep a reasonable structure that will accommodate everybody.” He noted that there have been ongoing problems with damage to a rock ledge near his property, noise and equipment placement. 

“We have businesses, too,” he said. “Our concern is just that business takes into account the nature of where it is and the impact on the other people. That’s the consideration that we’re asking for, and it’s not to overturn the idea that somebody has a business that’s on the highway, it’s just that the business shouldn’t be overly impactful beyond what is reasonable.”

Kanter and Kiniry argued briefly again about whether the acoustics of the area, amplified by a rock ledge bordering the property, was a factor in the neighbors’ problems with noise. Kiniry said she could not do anything about the nature of the property. Kiniry’s engineer, DiChiaro, said neighbors across the road from Kiniry, were considerably closer than Kanter, had never complained about noise.

Michael Moriello, attorney representing the Kinirys, reminded the planners that the plans must be submitted to the county planning board.

Board members suggested several different time frames, but in the end 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with some accommodation for specific problems, appeared to be the consensus. Post authorized consultant Dan Shuster to draw up a resolution for the board to vote on at its next meeting on Tuesday, August 18.

There are 5 comments

  1. Andrew Cowan

    Interesting that despite all of the contentious activity from Kiniry toward Saugerties, Ulster County, the DEP, his neighbors, the fact that he’s been repeatedly found to clearly violating several laws and regulations- and in general thumbing his nose at anyone and everyone while doing so the Town of Saugerties is “trying to be fair to everyone”?

    What gives here? The town is “negotiating” with him about his hours and activities? They’re granting him ability to “crush rocks” after hours when he deems it an emergency? I may be naive but I really can’t think of a scenario where there’d be an emergency need to crush rocks?

  2. Guy DeGennaro

    It amazes me that the Town of Saugerties, Ulster County, The NYSDEC, the Woodstock Land Conservancy, The Catskill Mountainkeeper, The Dump Here Never Group and any other agencies that may be involved are negotiating with Kiniry to operate a similar business to Karoly’s right down the street. They would not negotiate with Karoly’s at all, but for reasons unknown, they are going to allow this man to operate. Mr. Kiniry is well known in Saugerties and has a lot of political connections. Typical small town good ol boy society stuff going on here folks, nothing to see. But I’d bet the farm there are shady deals happening behind the scenes.

    1. Ralph 212

      I have several questions regarding this business.
      1. What is the source of these materials that will be processed and or stockpiled on the property? If they are coming off of an excavation site, they are Solid Waste/ C&D Debris by definition of the DEC and need to be regulated as such.
      2. The Town of Saugerties in a similar case down the road insisted that section 204-3 of Town of Saugerties Code states that no other lands other than the Town Transfer Station may be used for the processing of any Construction and Demolition Debris or Wastes. Why is the Town now considering allowing this business to operate in flagrant violation of town laws?
      3. The Town law 204-5 specifically states that even if a special permit were to be issued, in no event shall any debris be permitted to be imported from outside the limits of the Town of Saugerties. Kiniry admitted in this article that his workers will need to travel an hour from his shop at this location to their jobsites. Who will regulate the importation of foreign materials into our town?
      4. Will this business be required to file a processing permit with the NYSDEC?
      5. Will testing be required of any materials imported to the property for depositing on site as fill or for processing and redistribution ?
      6. As a resident of Route 212, I have noticed a significant increase in dump truck and lowbed trailer traffic since this business started, specifically trucks marked “Kiniry”. The intersection at Glasco Turnpike just down the road from his site is very dangerous as it is, with accidents regularly. Will a traffic impact study be conducted to evaluate the added commercial vehicle traffic in and out of his site?
      7. Will other person’s and or businesses, including but not limited to associates and affiliates of Kiniry, be allowed to dump materials for any purpose at this facility? And if so, how do we regulate the source and hold responsible that party if the material is contaminated?
      8. There is mention of working after permitted hours in the event of an emergency. What constitutes an emergency? Who determines that it is in fact an emergency? And how often/ for what length of time does the Town allow for “emergencies”?
      9. Does the Town plan on issuing similar permits to other businesses, or is it making an exception for this specific entity?
      10. Once the permit is issued, will the permit require a review at a specified length of time, where residents can comment on the day to day operations/ the operators compliance with the terms outlined in the permit?
      These are very important questions that need to be brought up at the next town meeting. Unfortunately my health prevents me from attending, but I would appreciate if one of my fellow readers/ residents would address these points.

      1. Andrew Cowan

        Couldn’t agree more – This matter “smells” of some sort of “special” treatment by the Town toward Kiniry. I also question under what possible circumstances would “rock crushing” be deemed an emergency – and by whom. Why this operation is allowed at all in a residential area is baffling; why allowing it to operate starting at 7 am is deemed acceptable also makes no sense. Zoning laws are established in order to specifically control development, separate heavy industry from residential, commercial from private, maintain quality of life, free from excessive noise, dust, traffic etc. yet in Ulster County there seems to be little regard, regulation or enforcement of same. Why on earth should there be such a history of illegal dumping, out of state debris, illegal and dangerous materials being brought into Saugerties, Catskill and other nearby areas ? It’s clearly because the local governments have collectively not only allowed it, but attracted it and then looked the other way, abdicating their covenant to develop and maintain a quality of life for the taxpayer citizens.

        Why these types of businesses- concrete plants, asphalt plants, “rock crushing”, gravel manufacturing etc. are welcomed here is beyond me. We live in the most green of areas in New York state yet we have and encourage the dirtiest, most disruptive large scale operations, some dangerously close to meeting the definition of strip mining. The appeal to the businesses is cheap land, an apparently unregulated environment, under enforcement and the subsequent associated economic benefits. The towns (Saugerties, and now Kingston) seem to be unwilling or unable to refuse to allow these operations, frantic to collect what appear to be minimal additional taxes from them and quick to trade away the environment while looking the other way. For Kingston to recently cite that a huge concrete plat proposed to run from 6 am to 10 pm on Rt 28 will bring 360k of tax revenue and 60 jobs to the area is ludicrous. These numbers are inconsequential as compared to the disruption an operations of this scale will generate. My belief is that Ulster County has successfully marketed itself as friendly to these types of operations, attracting them from hundreds of miles away – it’s no accident or coincidence that there are so many heavy industry excavating, dumping, and manufacturing operations in the very small footprint of Ulster.

  3. Ralph 212

    It is my understanding that Kiniry is currently operating out of his home property on West Saugerties Rd, in a very residential neighborhood. His own wife is sick of the truck traffic, along with the noise and dust it brings with it. That is why they are trying to move and expand their operations to the Saugerties/ Woodstock Border on 212. The business in supposed to be handed down to the son. The Kiniry family is very wealthy, which is why they are able to receive special treatment from Government agencies. It seems all too convenient that his small potatoes neighbor was shut down down last year, and now all the corrupt Town officials are pushing for Mr Big Shot Kim Kiniry to pick up the slack.

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