Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Village Board Meeting - July 10 (and a rant)

Yes I attended the Village Board Meeting last night. The topic of rezoning the village sandpit area came up after 2.5 hrs of unrelenting and uninteresting reports, discussion and repartee (ok so there wasn't really any repartee). There is an article in todays ADE and at the WNBZ news site concerning the rezoning discussion. Here is what I took home.

It's not really clear to me where the Village is in the SEQR process. If a positive declaration has been made, a draft environmental impact statement must be prepared and made available to the public. 'Scoping', a process that identifies topics the EIS should include is recommended but not required. If scoping is done, there is a requirement for community participation. After a 30 day public comment period on the draft EIS, a public hearing may be held. "All substantive comments become part of the permanent record and must be responded to by the lead agency in the final EIS. The DEC suggests that the lead agency disregard speculative comments and statements that cannot be supported. Read a two page summary of the SEQR process here.

Trustees Olsen and McEneany want to continue the SEQR process and go for a vote to rezone the sandpit area. The problem is that the public hearing is meant to discuss the various impacts the rezone will have on the community and environment. No one knows what the impacts will be without expert consultation, so how can you discuss them?

I can guess what some of the speculative comments will be already because we hear them everyday:

Wal-Mart won't hurt the environment. Yes they will and have done so. Many times. Many times.

Wal-Mart will increase the number of good jobs in the area. This and this study claims otherwise. Oh yeah, while you are at it read this too. They also seem to have a small problem with their female employees. Oh yeah, and don't gripe when they don't pay you for the hours you work.

Wal-Mart will bring in new business to the area. Sorry, this as well as this study says that is unlikely.

Wal-Mart will donate lot's of money to our community. Read this about Wal-Mart Philanthropy. And more here.

Wal-Mart will have no effect on social programs. Wrong again. Read this.

Wal-Mart will bring in badly needed tax revenues. Maybe, but read this first. Better think about increased law enforcement costs while you are at it.

No, none of the above suggested readings address Saranac Lake specifically. But they are a lot better than the truthiness speculation that you hear every day from Wal-Mart supporters.

On the other hand, you don't work there, and you didn't ship the manufacturing jobs overseas, and you weren't responsible for the low wage jobs. Nope, you just spend your money there and provide Wal-Mart with the incentive to continue doing business their way. But "Wal-Mart helps poor people"! That's one way to look at it I guess, but I think "Wal-Mart sells to poor people is much more accurate. And, the more poor people there are, the better Wal-Mart does.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was also at the village board meeting. From the beginning of this whole process there seems to be great haste in rezoning this parcel of property. And of course there has been talk of how $20,000 was thrown out the window because the rezoning process was stopped. Well, this property had NO BUSINESS going through the rezoning process to begin with. And the first step of the SEQR process was flawed.
It is my understanding that when the process began the previous board was only looking at the impacts of rezoning the land. And the conclusion of Andy Abdullah (did I spell his name right) was that if you only rezoned the property, and did nothing else, there would be no impact. Well-duh!
If all you intend to do is rezone and let the property sit there--of course there is no impact.
But what should have entered the picture was 1)rezoning the land and 2)SELLING THE PROPERTY. We all KNEW THIS PROPERTY WAS BEING REZONED TO SELL IT. So why wasn't this aspect considered in part one of the SEQR? It should have. Once you broaden the scope of the SEQR, other factors would have had to of been taken into consideration.
Technically the first part of the SEQR WAS A LIE. We all knew this property was being rezoned so it could be sold. Why go through all that trouble to rezone it and then NOT SELL IT? And we all knew WHO WANTED THIS PROPERTY.
I for one couldn't believe the results of the SEQR after step one was completed. Let's face it, anyone could have told the board what the findings were, and it wouldn't have cost the village $20,000!! If you do nothing but rezone the property, just keep it, sell it to no one, and leave it zoned commercial--OF COURSE THERE ARE NO IMPACTS.
The Mayor and our two new trustees are doing the right thing. Impact studies are needed here. The first step of the SEQR TOLD THE VILLAGE BOARD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. It is time to find out what impact development of this property will have on the village. And an independent party should be hired to do the study--NOT ONE WHO HAS ANY TIES TO WAL-MART.
I was raised that a lie is a lie is a lie. Examining this property with the purpose of rezoning it--KNOWING FULLY WELL YOU INTEND TO SELL IT IS A LIE!