On November 15, 2006, the New Hartford Town Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the Town's Comprehensive Plan Update. But the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the Adoption of the Comprehensive Plan Update was not accepted until March 14, 2007. Soooooo . . . . The Planning Board seems to have recommended approval of a plan before it had the statement of the plan's environmental impacts.
Bass Ackwards, n'est-ce pas? Je ne comprend pas.
Ou est le boeuf?
But take a close look at the Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement that has been accepted. There are identification of actions that may cause impacts, and identification of things that might mitigate impacts, but no attempt to estimate the magnitude of potential environmental impacts of the various developmental scenarios advanced by the Comprehensive Plan. Where are the estimates of traffic, water usage, solid and liquid waste production, etc. etc.? Will the Town have the resources to handle these impacts?
If Town Government thinks that such details will come out in the plans and environmental reviews of specific projects as they are proposed in the future, it needs to think again. If the Town's Comprehensive Plan is followed, such projects will only be little segments of the whole defined by the plan. One can imagine a series of "negative declarations" (that projects will not have a significant environmental impact) because individual segments or projects, alone, might indeed be insignificant. However, the same projects, taken together as envisioned by the plan, may spell disaster. This is precisely what should have been addressed in the generic EIS. The Town is obliged to avoid "segmentation" and to address "cumulative impacts." This is not apparent in the environmental impact statement that the Town has accepted. With such environmental unconsciousness, it should be no surprise that Town residents are now forced to pay to fix, e.g., storm water problems that did not exist 20 years ago. You can't see the problem coming if you don't look for it.
The Town Board has bought a bun with no beef.