It’s never too late to do the right thing!

Yesterday morning, Bill Lofquist and I sent an e-mail letter to the Geneseo Town Planning Board asking them to provide an opportunity for public comment on the new material that Newman Development has submitted to supplement its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). We have, as of yet, received no answer to our request, either directly or at last night’s board meeting.

This is not unusual. We’ve gotten quite used to being ignored by the Planning Board and its attorneys, especially with respect to Freedom of Information matters. This particular request, however, is one that they should give some serious thought to.

It’s growing increasingly clear that those, like John Zmich, who argued that the DEIS was not complete last fall were correct. The material that Newman is now being asked to produce for the final EIS (FEIS), represents in many cases substantial additions and modifications from what was in the DEIS.

When so much new material is being added to the record at the last minute, it seems obvious that the public should be allowed an opportunity to be heard about it. Not only that, it is also the law! See SEQR regulation (§617.9(a)(7)(iii).

It is also obvious that the previous vote of the board to find the DEIS “complete” and schedule a public hearing the week before town elections, had a lot more to do with politics than it did with following a fair process. As many commented at the time, to hold one 5-hour joint public hearing with the town board to cover the entire DEIS and the PDD re-zoning was apparently intended more to discourage public input than to encourage it.

As the title of this piece suggests, however, it is never too late to do the right thing. Clearly the right thing, right now, is to really let the public into the process, and give them the opportunity to be heard on such critical new material as the capacity of Rt 20A to handle increased traffic, the need for a curb cut at Morganview Drive, a new pedestrian plan and many other significant environmental issues.

I’m sure that some project proponents will counter with the position taken by Planning Board Chairman Dwight Folt’s last night that 2 1/2 years of review is enough and it is time to expedite the process. But then again, isn’t this what Mr. Folts and his confederates have been saying for the last past 3 years?

The fact is that the developers, and their supporters in the town government, are in the position of the child who murders his parents and then asks for the mercy of the court because he is an orphan! It is the consistent refusal of the developers to do the job right from the get-go, with the active encouragement and political support of Messers. Folts, Kennison and Tenalio that has created this mess in the first place.

I was encouraged last night that the attempt of Chairman Folts to restart the railroad was rejected, not only by board counsel, but also by some of the newer members of the board. I was also pleased by comments from many of the board members that indicate that the concerns we have been raising for the past three years are starting to be heard and taken seriously.

Perhaps this is what set off Mr. Folt’s panic to try and slam the door shut.

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11 responses to “It’s never too late to do the right thing!

  1. The suits from Newman said in the LCN last fall that the time invested in this project has been “about average.” Look it up!

    And it is irresponsible for supporters to make accusations of delay without being able to point to at least one specific instance as evidence to support their point.

  2. Jim, my hard copies indicate that Newman plans for a three to five year battle in the “typical community”

    Have you seen their (Newman’s) most recent estimates as to when 20A will need to be widened and damage to the National Historic landmark District will occur?

    ???

  3. Yes, we are all irresponsible. We share that irresponsibility of losing tax dollars due to the length of time this process is taking. We irresponsibly want to drive 30 miles to purchase goods that could be two miles away. Of course we are irresponsible to side with the majority of the town residents who support Lowe’s. We are just one big irresponsible bunch of uninformed folks. I’m just generally irresponsible since I have a financial interest and thus act irrationally.

    Corrin…….are these those transient college people you referred to in an earlier post? Of course they are.

    We just hope that the future Target, Kmart, Best Buy, GM assembly plant and nuclear power facility move a little faster!

  4. It’s irresponsible to keep talking about “delays” despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    It’s irresponsible to keep talking about tax money after learning that VERY little of the tax money will actually go the Town or Village of Geneseo (the County gets the lion’s share).

    It’s irresponsible to claim that the majority of residents support Lowes without any specific polling data to support your view.

    These are facts. But some people just don’t care about facts. There are some people who are still uniformed about these facts, but many people, such as Mr. Lamb, just don’t care about facts.

  5. That sounds like an angry comment. You must have an inside track (which you do) since Corrin acts with editorial perrogative when I send something that he believes is angry and thus will not post the comment. Is “irresponsible” a psychology term?
    VERY little tax money is much better than NO tax money. Seems to me that I recall reading something that the schools would have benefited rather handsomely over the last three years in tax revenue. Of course, the project was just initiated three years ago, but even two years of tax dollars would have provided something. To deny tax dollars to schools………now that truly is irresponsible.
    The recent elections, which I have been advised was not a referendum on Lowe’s, provided me the “polling data” I needed to support my views that Lowe’s is desired by most of the community. Lowe’s proponents were elected…….remember. Now that is a FACT.

  6. In terms of community opinion, at least you have some good evidence on your side. Yes, candidates supportive of Lowe’s were elected. But it is not clear that there is a majority of pro big box sentiment in the community. Certainly it is not clear that this is a large majority. After all, the strongest big box proponent of them all, Wes Kennsion, lost too.

    But in terms of the other issues you seem to be blissfullly ignorant. And it is hard to understand how someone could be so poorly informed at this point in the process. This has been explained many times by many people, but I’ll try again. The school tax amounts to about 1% of the current school budget. Some may argue that 1% of budget is worth selling our souls for. I don’t agree.

    And this argument also misses the fact that the 1% is likely to be more than offset by significant costs brought by the new big box. For instance, there is likely to be increased costs in police and fire protection and road maintenance. There will also be increasing burdens placed on the Town’s sewer and water systems. And perhaps most important of all, there is traffic. Big box proponents jabber about building round-abouts that will solve the problems on 20A, but give no hint about how to pay for these structures.

    You may disagree with some of the arguments I’ve made, and, if so, I’d be more than happy to engage in a discussion with you. But to simply assert that tax revenue will go up with another big box, without providing a specific logical and empirical rationale for this argument is irresponsible. You’re ducking the argument and showing that you’re not interested in dealing with the facts.

  7. Phillip J. Bracchi

    Greg,

    Bill Lofquist has lived in Geneseo for 16 years, Jim Allen for 13.5 years, Kurt Cylke for 15 years. Hardly transient, I would say!

  8. To follow up on Phil’s comment (he’s lived in Geneseo for over 3 decades, and my wife and I have lived here 25 years), most tenured faculty who live in the village hope to continue living here until or past retirement – unless the changing nature of the village destroys the small town atmosphere we love. That why we oppose development which will further erode this atmosphere.

    Most of us who have lived here a decade have also found local vendors (Smiths, Geneseo Hardware, York Hardware, Livonia Hardware, Livingston County Appliances, Conrads) which make trips to Lowes in Henrietta unnecessary. I have never been there. These local stores will be driven out of business by Lowes, negating much of the presumed economic advantage the opening of Lowes allegedly provides.

    I would, however, encourage all to tone down the rhetoric and to disagree with a modicum of civility. Responsible people can have different opinions. Greg should admit that Newman’s DFEIS has serious weaknesses, and we should admit that the town’s voters in an election with a very high turnout elected a supervisor and two board members who favor Lowes.

    That the Town Planning Board and its attorney are doing their jobs is encouraging!

  9. Thank you to Jim Williams for a civil post. Does the FEIS need work? Having not seen it in its entirety I don’t know for certain, but, based on the comments here and in the Planning Board meetings I would say “Yes”, it does need some work. And, I expect that Newman will fix the problems.

    The transient language is borrowed from a near quote by Corrin when referring to the elections, I believe. I know he made the statement but I’m not sure of the context. He referred to the transient professors and students.

    As I am sure you have noticed, most of the PDDG members (and you may be one) tend to get a wee bit uncivil in their comments. And, while I have not taken offense to anything said recently, they do tend to get personal. I think you can be passionate about something and still keep the personal out of it, but just about anytime I make a comment that conflicts with the PDDG, I get, to use a Bill Loquist phrase, “personally attacked”.

    I have no problem with the Planning Board, Town Attorney and Town Board being diligent. But even if there are areas of the FEIS that are incomplete, the comments here take potshots at those incomplete areas. It still seems to me that this has taken a long time, but, apparently I am wrong.

  10. IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO DO THE RIGHT THING, SO, I’M DOING IT.

    I wonder if Jim Williams has noted that it has been nearly 48 hours since he asked for “a modicum of civility”. I wonder if he has also noticed that not one of the PDDG militants has posted another comment. Those people, yes, you heard me, those people, have no civility. Their posts, their replies to posts, their letters to the LC News editor, etc. etc. are pointed comments that lack civility and are exagerrations of the situation related to Lowe’s, Newman the FEIS and anything they can think of to criticize in an uncivilized manner. They deny that the people have spoken in the recent election. They make comments about legal action (better known as fishing expeditions by some) and degrade anyone who supports the Lowe’s, in their traditional uncivilized manner. There are a few, but very few, exceptions amongst the PDDG membership.

    Well, it is time for me to do the right thing. While I will continue to read this rag, for entertainment purposes, I do not intend to post in the future. I will use the Lamron and the LC News if I have anything to convey. At least using those forms of media it takes a week before an uncivilized reply occurs.

    I do have a hole card and, like most poker players, have no intention of showing it at this time. Suffice it to say that several members of the PDDG are in violation of State law. Is that a threat? Heavens no. Absolutely not. I don’t threaten. It is a fact. But, to use the hole card at the wrong time would risk losing the pot so, I think I’ll keep it turned down for a bit longer.

    Corrin will probably say this post is “angry” and may refuse to allow it. It’s not. I just decided that I need to do the right thing and this is it. Happy Trails.

  11. Mr. Lamb,

    You wrote:

    “I do have a hole card and, like most poker players, have no intention of showing it at this time. Suffice it to say that several members of the PDDG are in violation of State law. ”

    Several members? What are you talking about? PDDG has no formal membership, no constitution, no bylaws. Legally, PDDG has only two members. How can “several” members of PDDG be in violation of state law? Am I a member, a supporter, a sympathizer or interested bystander? What is the difference between a member, a supporter or a sympathizer? If an interested bystander contributes $10.00 or $10,000.00 to the cause, does that make them a member? Could sympathizers be “in violation of state law?” Corrin in his role as founder and president of PDDG has certainly broken no laws. Perhaps you need to look at your hand again, is that Ace perhaps a three of clubs?

    You wrote:

    “I wonder if he has also noticed that not one of the PDDG militants has posted another comment. Those people, yes, you heard me, those people, have no civility. Their posts, their replies to posts, their letters to the LC News editor, etc. etc. are pointed comments that lack civility and are exaggerations of the situation related to Lowe’s, Newman the FEIS and anything they can think of to criticize in an uncivilized manner”

    If civility is to be encouraged, examples of incivility might help. If a clear example of a personal attack could be presented then others might be educated about what is and is not permissible in civilized dialogue.

    Could you please provide some specific examples of statements which clearly “degrade anyone who supports the Lowe’s, in their traditional uncivilized manner.? ”

    Kind Regards

    Kurt

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