. . Below is the Email message sent by David Giacalone to the Historic Stockade Yahoo Listserv on June 23, 2020. It continues the tale told in our prior posting “was the Pump Station another Rendering Ruse” (May 7, 2020). .
- The Council’s June 2017 Clarifying Resolution (Res. 2017-179; attached below) clearly states: “any overflow into Riverside Park will be minimized to no wider than 30 feet, including needed landscaping and buffering for a new pump station.” And that no construction will be approved “it the design requires taking a portion of parkland extending more than 30 ft. to the west of the current pumping station fence into Riverside Park.”
- All prior renderings of the Project shown to the public and Council: (1) Depicted the New Station situated so as to allow the façade of the Old Pump House to be seen from the West Lawn of the Park and other locations west of the New Station, and (2) Show the preservation of the healthy century-old silver maple tree after the construction process. For example:
(1) CHA provide a new full rendering depicting the current proposed location of the new station, new fence, and nearby trees(2) Any Construction be paused that would prevent “bumping” back the New Pump Station, farther from the River, so that we and future generations will be able to view the picturesque historic façade of the Old Pump House from west of the new pump station.(3) A new site plan be presented to the Council and Stockade community that allows the Old Pump House, as in the October 2017 Plan, to be seen from west of the New Pump StationAnother issue that needs consideration is whether 25 years of working with the City has made CHA’s relationship too cozy with City officials. Ignoring Council resolutions and offering less-than-useful-and-frank “briefings” should not be tolerated in a contractor making millions of dollars.
- ABOVE GROUND. At 30:30 to 31:40] Miller admits the encroachment of the design made after consulting with the contractors is “roughly 34 feet on the north side, 21 ft on the back side”.
- Miller explains [at about 38:00] that “The only specific guidance we had was not moving the fence line more than 30 ft. into the park”. That raises the question as to why he, Lafond and Mayor McCarthy (and later the Stockade Association Board) nonetheless endorsed a plan with a section of the fencing 34 ft to the west of the old fencing.
- Also, BELOW GROUND: [31:50] there is encroachment of “roughly 50 feet” past the original fence.
- Although Miller told Karen Z-W that the dimensions of the underground portion have not changed, he did not clarify that the underground portion is at least 15’ farther into the Park than with the October 2017 Plan, in which the underground portion already butted right up to the 30’ mark.
- We did not move the new building farther than the 30 ft agreement
- But: The Clarifying Resolution does not contain the word “building” and explicitly states that the overflow “shall be minimized to no wider than 30 feet, including needed landscaping and buffering for a new pump station.”
- The overflow was ”roughly 28 foot average on that structure.”
- But: Average Encroachment is not a concept found in or suggested by Res. 2017-179, and adopting that standard suggests Miller & Lafond knew they could not meet the “no wider than 30 feet” requirement.
- The Agreement and Guidance only concerned above-ground, green space
- But: There is no distinction in the Resolution between above and below ground encroachment, nor mention of green space, or use by the public.NOTE BENE: There may be valid reasons why the facility needed to be moved to the west and north. But, the failure of the Pump Station managers to notify the Council and public of the changes prior to implementing the May 2019 Plan, deprived us all of the chance to test those reasons and seek alternatives that would preserve the elements of the October 2017 Plan that protected Park aesthetics, while fulfilling the CIty’s engineering goals. There was plenty of time to achieve that balance before our current spring construction season.
- An Obstructed View of an Historic Resource is considered an adverse impact which must be removed or mitigated under our Environmental Review law.
- Miller makes the (flippant) observation that you can see more of the Old Pump House than when the two Stations were closer together (yes, if you stand, or float by, directly in front of the increased space between the Old and New Stations).
- The New Rendering is Irrelevant to the issues raised.
- Miller was asked for a new rendering analogous to the set of Oct. 2017 renderings (example above), which showed the positioning of the two pump stations, and location of the new fence, along with preservation of the Grand Old Maple Tree.
The unhelpful New Rendering, seen below, only shows the New Pump Station in its latest form, giving us the presumed answer to the unasked question of whether the outer design (appearance) had changed. No one said it had changed in any significant way.
5] THE FATE of the CENTURY-OLD SILVER MAPLE TREE WAS KNOWN in EARLY 2018 and NEVER REVEALED to the public in the two years before it was chopped down.
- It surely was very important to the project managers that the Clarifying Resolution states:
RESOLVED, without a full public hearing on such design, the City Council shall approve no contract for the construction of a new pump station, and no construction shall be approved if the design requires taking a portion of parkland extending more than 30 ft. to the west of the current pumping station fence into Riverside Park.”
- CHA Project Engineer Mike Miller: MMiller@chacompanies.com
- Schenectady Commissioner of Operations, Paul Lafond: firstname.lastname@example.org
- City Council Members via the City Clerk: email@example.com
- Council Member Marion Porterfield: MPorterfield@schenectadyny.gov
- Stockade Association President Suzanne Unger: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gazette reporter Pete Demola: email@example.com
- Times Union reporter Paul Nelson: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Summary of Pump Station Briefing. (pdf file; email to City Council from David Giacalone, June 21, 2020)