DELAY Decision Making on the Central Hudson Gas Substation Project or DENY Special Permit
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In the spring of 2017, Central Hudson purchased a single-family residentially zoned lot, intending to drastically change its use by placing a large above ground gas regulator substation without notifying the neighbors through any form of outreach. It was by chance that the neighbors in this densely populated residential area discovered Central Hudson’s plans, which could pose health, safety, and economic hazards to the people in our community. Gas regulator substations intentionally release flammable methane gas and possibly other impurities and additives into the air to control pressure.
Central Hudson is no longer the small, regional utility that it used to be. In 2012, the company was purchased by Fortis, Inc.—a huge, multinational corporation—one of the top 15 utilities in North America. When Fortis bought Central Hudson in 2012, it boasted $13.6 billion dollars in assets. In just five years, it has grown its assets to $48 billion. Unfortunately, while trying to place a new gas substation in our neighborhood, Fortis, Inc./Central Hudson has appeared to value profits more than the health, safety, and economic stability of the residents of our community. Furthermore, Central Hudson has been a bad neighbor, having been cited for numerous violations related to its gas equipment.
Although we support Central Hudson’s effort to improve its gas infrastructure by replacing the current gas regulator substation on Emerson Street, we conclude that the Kingston Planning Board, charged with protecting the health, safety, environmental well-being, and property values of Kingston residents, either DELAY any decision-making until more studies are done and careful consideration has been given to the new location on the corner of Janet Street and Washington Avenue or DENY the special permit.
Residents therefore respectfully request:
- In keeping with Kingston's Zoning Law section 405-9B(1), which describes allowable utility uses with the provision that the Planning Board determines there is “no other reasonable location in a less restricted district that can be utilized for the purpose,” that the Planning Board require Central Hudson to provide the board and public with a list of all sites (to include dates and addresses) that they pursued for the replacement of the Emerson Street substation, which according to Central Hudson “spanned over 20 years,” as well as the reasons the locations were not chosen. The Planning Board should also require Central Hudson to conduct further site research.
- That the Kingston Planning Board require Central Hudson to pay for the following independent studies. Central Hudson has the financial resources to conduct all of the necessary impact studies to answer significant questions left unanswered that have already been asked by the public. These studies should include, but not be limited to:
* An Analysis of Economic Impacts: To determine the impact of the proposed project on property values for the surrounding residential area.
* An Analysis of Environmental Impacts: To determine any public health and environmental impacts of the proposed project such as gas releases, combustion, and all other public safety and health concerns.
* Construction Impact Study: To determine the potential impacts of construction to the structural integrity of the neighboring homes with items that include the project timeframe, potential digging, and blasting, street parking and vermin.
- That the Kingston Planning Board require Central Hudson to provide a map of the high-pressure gas lines for the city to ensure that this is the only possible site for the proposed gas substation.
- That the Kingston Planning Board require Central Hudson to answer the questions that residents have already posed regarding health, environmental, safety, and economic impact, as well as the intended scope of the project. Adequate time should be provided to allow the public to view Central Hudson’s responses before the Planning Board decides on this project.
- If a delay in decision-making until more studies are done is not approved, residents therefore respectfully request that the Special Permit for this proposal be denied at this time
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