Planning board gets two more weeks to decide completeness of DEIS

The Geneseo Planning Board was unable to come to a decision on whether the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), as supplemented with additional materials submitted last week, was complete at its meeting Monday night. The board split 3-3 with one abstention on two motions first to declare the DEIS incomplete and then a second motion to declare it complete.

In both cases the abstention came from board member Mark Shepherd who said that he had not had time to read the 200 pages of additional material that had been delivered to the town at 4:45 Friday afternoon. Shepherd, as well as board members Tom Curtin and Trish Jones had only picked up the material on Monday afternoon.

Curtin and Jones, however, joined with Chairman Dwight Folts in voting for completeness. Votes for incompleteness were made by former Chairman John Zmich, Patti Lavigne and Marge Wilkie.

The latter argued that, the DEIS had not correctly studied the affects of increased traffic on alternative routes through residential areas such as Lima Road, and that the study did not adequately address the precedent that approval of the Newman PDD would have on future development.

Planning Board Attorney Joe Picciotti of Harris Beach then advised the board that a tie vote would have the effect of finding that the DEIS was complete. Shepherd then asked if the developers would consider granting an additional 2 week extension on the decision so he would have time to read the new materials. (The developers had previously granted an extension from the original Sept. 4 deadline until Sept. 10.)

Attorneys for Newman Development then left the room for a conference with their clients. When they returned they agreed to grant the extension. The board will take up the issue again at its workshop meeting on Sept. 24.

Some fireworks were provided when PDDG member Corrin Strong demanded the floor to protest the fact that the addendum under consideration had not been made available to the public. (See previous post) Chairman Folts attempted to rule Strong out-of-order, but Strong handed him his cell phone, invited him to call 911, and then spoke anyway.

He said that the DEIS process was incomplete because the public had been left out of the information loop. Later Planning Board member Tom Curtin asked why the material was not public. Attorney Picciotti, however, would only say that he would review the request and respond within 5 days.

Strong then asked Chairman Folts if he had read the four opinions from the NYS Open Government Committee that PDDG had sent him last week that stated that the DEIS and all correspondence from the developer pertaining to it were public documents. “I don’t read that stuff,” Folts replied.

(For more, see Corrin’s Clarion Call Column on Civil Disobedience)

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