Keep environmental review law intact (letter to editor, Journal News)
The City of New Rochelle, like most other cities, is facing difficult choices. One of these choices should be to oppose the proposed “streamlining” of the Environmental Quality Review Act. In the Journal News (10/11/09) Marion Rose gave reasons why the SEQRA process should not reduce the time needed to evaluate proposed new developments.
Suggestions for improving the SEQRA process should be well received in New Rochelle which places a priority on sustainability and conservation. Bringing neighborhoods into the process from the beginning would be advantageous. At present the developers answer citizens’ concerns in the Final Environmental Impact Statement. To quote Ms. Rose, the “answers can be completely besides the point, but the ordinary citizen commenter has no further opportunity to reply unless the lead agency happens to decide otherwise.”
As a resident who has attended many environmental hearings I can attest that I have never been given an opportunity to “rebut the applicant’s comments that are manifestly erroneous.”
Some examples that still need rebuttals are the overloaded sewage plant, the overcrowded schools, the traffic jams, the tax abatements granted by the IDA “after the environmental hearings,” the need for more police, fire and sanitation workers, and the general preservation of the suburban character of New Rochelle.
All residents interested in protecting the environmental review process should protest to state officials on the weakening of this environmental review process. Future generations will inevitably live with the consequences of decisions made today. Protect New Rochelle as Queen City of the Sound.
by Peggy Godfrey
In the Journal News, November 4, 2009