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Action Alert!


Common Council May Vote on Hotel on
Monday, April 6 at 7:00 PM

Questions? Email Lynne Jackson

Dear All,

The Albany Common Council is poised to vote on the proposed Marriott Hotel in the Pine Bush on Monday, April 6 at 7:00 PM.

This may be the last chance for the public to comment on this project.

ACTION:

Please come to the Common Council meeting at 7:00 and speak at the open public comment period to voice your opposition to the proposed Marriott Hotel.

Location: Albany City Hall, Second Floor, Eagle Street, Albany

Contact your Common Council member by phone or email:
http://www.savethepinebush.org/Action/CommonCouncil.html

Ask your Common Council member to vote NO on the proposed Marriott Hotel.

NOTE:

The Albany Common Council is currently debating a procedural issue to determine if the final vote on the proposed hotel will take place April 6 or April 20. It is essential for EVERYONE who cares about the Pine Bush attend this meeting and express their opposition to the hotel.

If you can, please stay until the end of the meeting - so you CAN WATCH HOW YOUR COMMON COUNCIL MEMBER VOTES. Maybe, with enough eyes on the Common Council, the hotel will be voted down.

For more information, see:
http://www.savethepinebush.org/Action/Hotel.html

Sincerely,

Lynne Jackson
Volunteer, Save the Pine Bush

 


Planning, Economic Development and
Land Use Planning Committee

Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 5:30 PM
Location: Second Floor Courtroom, City Hall
(Please note, the meeting is in the Court Room, NOT the Common Council Chambers, where a Zoning Board meeting will be held)

The Committee will consider the proposed Marriott hotel site. Everyone who cares about the Pine Bush should attend and speak against the proposal.

Read the Findings Statement for the proposed Marriott hotel which is the subject of the meeting.


Events since the Common Council voted to accept the FSEIS

Read Steve Downs Letters to the Common Council about
the rare worm snake in the Pine Bush.
The colony of worm snakes at the hotel site is the only known site of worm snakes in upstate New York:
January 7, 2009
December 31, 2008

The Department of Environmantal wrote two letters to
the Common Council:
November 25, 2008 - not agreeing with the mitigation
December 15, 2008 - DEC proposing more mitigation

The developer's response to DEC of December 19, 2008


Albany Common Council

Voted to accept the Hotel Final Supplemental
Environmental Impact Statement

at its regular meeting, Monday, November 17
TIME: 7:00 PM
WHERE: Albany City Hall, Eagle Street, Albany

Read the Final Supplemental
Environmental Impact Statement
(21.5 MB download)

Scroll down for more information on the proposed hotel


Rare Worm Snake found on the Hotel site!
Its time for the City to do the right thing

ALBANY: In a letter sent to the City of Albany, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental Analyst Angelo Marcuccio detailed the discovery of an Eastern Worm Snake on the site of the proposed hotel in the Pine Bush. Not just near the proposed site, on the site!

Reptiles and amphibians are often considered slimy and scary animals by many people. However, these herps (short for “herpetofauna”, which is the general term for amphibians and reptiles as a group) are extremely important to the viability of ecosystems. Most herp species in New York State are in a state of decline, primarily from loss of habitat. Loss of our herp species is devastating for the environment and devastating for our Pine Bush.

The last time a worm snake was observed in Albany County was in the Pine Bush was near the Karner Blue butterfly hill (and near the proposed hotel site) in the late 1980’s. The snake found this summer is the only worm snake found north of Orange and Putnam counties since the NYS Reptile and Amphibian Atlas was initiated in 1990. The worm snake is native to the Pine Bush. The fact that it has not been observed in the Pine Bush for over 20 years, and now has been found on the proposed site of the hotel is extremely significant.

According to wikipedia, worm snakes are described as being small (about 14” long), and these elusive snakes spend most of their time buried in loose soil or leaf litter. They eat mostly earthworms and sometimes soft-bodied insects. Little is known about their mating habits.

The global picture here is that New York State is losing herps at a serious rate. The local picture is that the Albany Common Council has the opportunity to save the known habitat of a special concern reptile.

What will the Common Council do? Will they say they do not care about the status of reptiles in New York State and allow the North Dakota developer to pave occupied worm snake habitat? Or, will the Common Council do the right thing, and facilitate a land trade between Theraldson and the Harriman Office Campus (that needs a hotel)?

Call or write to your Common Council member today. Tell them you are simply fed up with the City allowing far-away developers to destroy our Pine Bush and its inhabitants!


 

Brief Report on Hotel Hearing:

August 5, 2008

Dear All Pine Bush Supporters,

Last night, it was standing room only at City Hall, when a couple of dozen
supporters of the Pine Bush attended the public hearing about the proposed
hotel.

It was great to see and hear so many people come to support the Pine Bush!

Channel 6 covered the story and Channel 23

The fight is NOT over! Please, take a moment to contact your Common Council
member
and ask them to vote against the proposed hotel in the Pine Bush.

Thank you, everyone, for your support!

Sincerely,

Lynne Jackson


Public Hearing

Proposed Hotel in the Pine Bush

Everyone who cares about the
Pine Bush Please Attend!

Monday, August 4, 7:00 PM

Common Council, Second Floor
Albany City Hall, Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12202

Download the Developer's SDEIS (subject of the hearing)

The Issue:
Should a hotel be
constructed on occupied
Karner Blue Habitat?

ALBANY: Tharaldson Development Company of North Dakota, wants to construct a Residence Inn Mariott hotel on Washington Avenue Extension, adjacent to a known Karner Blue butterfly site and a site that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service recognizes as occupied by Karner Blues.

Sound familiar? Save the Pine Bush has been fighting this development since the hotel project was first proposed in 2003. We won in NYS Supreme Court, that the environmental review was inadequate. The City and the developer appealed our win to the Appellate Division; the oral argument was heard on May 30, and we are still waiting the decision.

In the meantime, while our case winds its way through the court system, the developer has returned with a “Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement” (SDEIS) read more . . .

Go to Common Council Members to Contact them


Residence Inn Hotel Proposal
is Back in Court!

Read about the oral argument here.

UPDATE: The City of Albany has appealed Save the Pine Bush's win of the hotel case to the Appellate Division. The oral arguments for the case will be heard Friday, May 30 at 9:30 AM in the Appellate Division (click here for directions).

The City of Albany is arguing that Save the Pine Bush does not have standing - the right to bring the case to court. The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) is in a crisis. If the court rules that Save the Pine Bush cannot sue the City of Albany for not following SEQRA, then who can?

Everyone who is interested in hearing the case should plan on attending. Lynne Jackson will be walking to the court and leaving her house at 8:30 AM. There is plenty of parking at Lynne's house, and you would be welcome to join her. To make arrangements and for directions, email Lynne.

Read the papers filed by attorney Steve Downs:

Save the Pine Bush Response

Save the Pine Bush Appeal


UPDATE: February 4 , 2008 at 7:00 PM, City Hall, 24 Eagle Street, Albany

The Honorable Dominick Calsolaro has introduced a resolution asking the corporation counsel of the City of Albany to not appeal Save the Pine Bush's win of the hotel case in NYS Supreme Court. The resolution passed, but, the City's lawyer ignored the Common Council's wishes.

Mr. Calsolaro's resolution.

For more information see:
Stop the Hotel! - Ask the Governor and the Mayor To Do the Right Thing, Jan/Feb 08
City Can’t Decide! - More about the Hotel Case, Jan/Feb 08

Here is a pdf of the resolution. Attend the meeting or call or email your Common Council Member and ask them to support this resolution.

UPDATE January 12, 2008: Honorable Dominick Calsolaro, Ward 1, introduces legislation to require the City of Albany withdraw from Appealing Save the Pine Bush's win of the hotel case.


Important meeting held at City Hall on October 9, 2007

Read what is missing from the Hotel SDEIS

Read about the current hotel proposal

Read the missing USFWS letter

Call or email your Common Council Member.


The Common Council Planning, Economic Development and Land Use Committee will meet to discuss the proposed hotel SDEIS on
Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at 5:30pm
Albany City Hall, Room 209, 2nd Fl

Public comment will be accepted at the meeting. The only topic will be consideration of whether to accept the proposed hotel SDEIS as complete. The public is welcome to attend.

The complete resolution is:
Resolution number 61.92.07r
Resolution of the Common Council regarding completion of a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) and scheduling a public hearing in accordance with article 8 of the environmental conversation law (SEQRA) and the regulations promulgated thereunder in connection with the Tharaldson Development Company’s application for rezoning of 124-128r Washington Avenue Extension.

Download and read the
proposed Supplemental Environmental
Impact Statement (document is 5.1 MB)


Save the Pine Bush Wins!

Save the Pine Bush wins against the City


Save the Pine Bush
Wins Standing!

Read summary of Judge Ferradino's decision, September 1, 2006

Proposed Hotel in the Pine Bush

Theraldson Group, the largest hotel owner in the US, has proposed a hotel adjacent to a colony of Karner Blue butterflies in the Pine Bush.

Update as of 5/1/06: Save the Pine Bush Sued in March, 2006


WAMC news story about Residence Inn and
proposed office complex

Contact Common Council Members


Court papers file in Hotel Case


Let Your Voice Be Heard

The Albany Common Council will vote on re-zoning for this proposed Residence Inn Hotel.

Citizens may speak for 5 minutes during the Public Comment period.

Date: Monday, December 19, 2005
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Second Floor , Albany City Hall, Eagle Street, Albany, NY
Who should attend: Everyone who wants to see the Pine Bush protected

Everyone who opposes re-zoning this land should attend and make their voices heard.


Summary of Issues

  • The FEIS should NOT be accepted until the US Fish and Wildlife Service is allowed a site visit. The US Fish and Wildlife Service, in a letter commenting on the DEIS, requested a site visit. However, this letter appears to have been lost and was not included or responded to in the FEIS.
  • Proposed Hotel would be 200 meters from Karner Blue site, which is considered "occupied habitat" according to the Federal Karner Blue Recovery Team.
  • In 1998, this land (owned by Pryamid Crossgates Mall), was illegally bulldozed. Now, the developer has come back to say, well, the land has been bulldozed so there is no environmental impact if we build a hotel.
  • The City of Albany needs to decide what its policy on extinction of species is. If built, this hotel would have a significant impact on the ability of the Karner Blue to survive.
  • There are no accommodations for pedestrians or bicycles (see SPB Comments and then the developer's repsonse, "walking or bicycling . . . should be discouraged.").
  • The developer has not said whether or not they will apply for the 485b program of tax deductions (this was not included in the DEIS, it is unknown as to whether the developer answered this question in the FEIS).

Time Line as of November 29. 2005

  • Final Environmental Impact Statement adopted as complete by the Albany Common Council on Monday, November 21
  • Next step is for the Albany Common Council to hold a hearing on whether or not the land should be re-zoned. The hearing is scheduled for Monday, December 5.

Read More

Read Save the Pine Bush Comments on the
Draft Environmental Impact Statement, written April 29, 2005

See Photo of proposed site

Proposed Hotel in the Albany Pine Bush, April 05
Crossgates Casts a Dark Shadow Over the Pine Bush Dec 03/Jan 04
Crossgates Wants to Build a Hotel in the Pine Bush, Will they never go away?,
Sept/Oct 04
Crossgates Hotel Proposal in the Pine Bush -
Scoping Document, Oct 04

Save the Pine Bush Wins Second Round - Win on Hotel Case Upheld by Supreme Court, Aug/Sept 07

 


Want to Get Involved?

Email Lynne Jackson at lynnejackson@mac.com

 

This page last modified April 5, 2009
Contact Save the Pine Bush at pinebush@aol.com.