You Can Help Save the Pine Bush in The Town of Colonie

Below is a copy of the Final Scoping document for the proposed hotel adjacent to the Karner Blue Butterfly site.

For more information about the project, please see the following:

Crossgates Wants to Build a Hotel in the Pine Bush, Will they never go away? (Sept/Oct 04)

Save the Pine Bush Sues Crossgates Maul and Asks the City to Deny Crossgates Hotel Proposal (Feb/Mar 04)

Crossgates Casts a Dark Shadow
Over the Pine Bush
(Dec 03/Jan 04)



September 20, 2004

Name of Project:
Application of Tharaldson Development Company Residence Inn Albany, New York

Project Location: 124-128R Washington Avenue Extension
City of Albany
Albany County, New York
SEQRA Classification: Type I
Lead Agency: City of Albany Common Council
City Hall
Albany: New York 12207
(518) 434-5090
Contact Person: Richard Nicholson, Historic Preservation Planner
Dept. of Development & Planning
21 Lodge St., Albany, NY 12207
(518) 434-2532 ext.29

Scoping Session: The Common Council will provide a period of time from August 12, 2004 through September 7, 2004 to provide written comments on the draft scope

The Draft Scope for the environmental impact statement was available for review at the Office of the City Clerk (Room 202, City Hall); the Department of Development & Planning (21 Lodge St.); and at the Albany Public Library (Main Library, 155 Washington Avenue). Written comments on the draft scope were accepted through September 7, 2004, at the Office of the City Clerk and the Department of Development & Planning. The Common Council Zoning Committee met and conducted a public hearing to consider and receive comments on the draft scope on August 26, 2004, in the second-floor courtroom in City Hall. This Final Scope incorporates all substantive comments on the Draft Scope.

Application of Tharaldson Development Company for rezoning from R-1B to C-2, area variance and site plan approval by the City of Albany Common Council, the Albany Board of Zoning Appeals and the City of Albany Planning Board and related permits, approvals and compliance determinations from other involved agencies for the construction of a ±124-unit/room Residence Inn including site improvements on, and traffic improvements adjacent to (the “Project”), a ±3.7 acre project site (“Project Site” or “Site”).

On February 19, 2004, the City of Albany Common Council, acting as Lead Agency, adopted a SEQRA resolution and findings for a positive declaration for the proposed Project, which is incorporated herein by reference. Based upon a review of the Applicant’s submitted full Environmental Assessment Form and all other application materials that were prepared for this action, and oral and written comments received, the Lead Agency determined that the proposed Project may have a significant impact on traffic and potential impact to the Karner Blue Butterfly habitat.

The Lead Agency’s determination that the Project may have a significant impact on the environment requires the preparation of an environmental impact statement (“EIS”) to address:

“(o)nly those potential significant adverse environmental impacts that can reasonably be anticipated and / or have been identified in the scoping process. EISs should not contain more detail than is appropriate considering the nature and magnitude of the proposed action and the significance of its potential impacts.” 6 NYCRR § 617.9(b)(2).

This document is the product of Lead Agency’s “scoping” of the issues identified in the positive declaration. “Scoping” means the process by which the Lead Agency identifies the potentially significant adverse impacts related to the proposed Project that are to be addressed in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (“DEIS”), including the content and level of detail of the analysis, the mitigation measures needed and the identification of non-relevant issues. 6 NYCRR § 617.8, § 617.9(b). The primary goals of scoping are to focus the EIS on potentially significant adverse impacts and to eliminate consideration of those impacts that are irrelevant or nonsignificant. 6 NYCRR § 617.8(a), § 617.9(b).

Copies of the Final Scope will be made available to the following:

(A) The Applicant

(B) Involved Agencies:

City of Albany Common Council – Zone Change and potential closing or Alteration of Traffic Pattern on Rapp Road

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation – State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) GP#02-01

Albany Board of Zoning Appeals – Area Variance

City of Albany Planning Board – Site Plan Approval

New York State Department of Transportation – Highway Work Permit (if required)

(C) Interested Agencies:
Albany County Planning Board
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission
Town of Guilderland
United States Fish and Wildlife Department
(D) Persons who have expressed an interest in writing to the Lead Agency.

The DEIS will be prepared in accordance with the requirements set forth in 6 NYCRR §617.9. Sections of the document will be tabbed and separated for the reader’s convenience. The DEIS will contain the following:
I. COVER SHEET: prepared in accordance with 6 NYCRR §617.9 (b) (3).
Specific items will include:
A. Draft Environmental Impact Statement
B. Title
C. Location
D. Lead Agency Identification / Contact Person
E. Name / Address of Preparers / Consultants
F. Date of Acceptance
G. Close of Public Comment Period
H. Date of Public Hearing
II. TABLE OF CONTENTS; prepared in accordance with 6 NYCRR §617.9 (b) (4).
III. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY; prepared in accordance with 6 NYCRR §617.9 (b) (4). Specific items will include:
A. Brief Description of Action
B. History of Previous Actions on the Project Site
C. Summary of Significant Items from Existing Environmental Setting
D. Summary of Potential Impacts
Summary of Measures Proposed by the Applicant to be Incorporated into the Project

Project Site Location. A description of the Project Site location and existing physical conditions with respect to local geography, adjoining roadways, site access and the type and location of nearby existing and proposed development. Existing Physical condition will include a detailed description of previous disturbances of the site.
General Project Description: A description of the proposed development including analysis of developed acreage, green space provisions, description of present zoning, parking, access, lighting, landscaping, screening, stormwater, water and sewer utilities, building design, visual and aesthetic consideration. Site plans will be included directly into the DEIS in reduced form.
Project Purpose, Need and Benefits. A discussion will be included pertaining to background and listing public need, objectives of the project sponsor and benefits of the Proposed Action.
Permits and Approvals. The known approvals required for the Project will be addressed and discussed and factored into the overall approval process.
1. Rezoning – City of Albany Common Council
2. Area Variance for Height – City of Albany Board of Zoning Appeals
3. Site Plan Approval – City Planning Board
4. SPDES Construction Permit for Stormwater GP #02-01 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
5. Building Permit – City of Albany
6. Water System Connection Permit- City of Albany Department of Water & Water Supply
7. Sanitary Sewer System Connection Permit – City of Albany Department of General Services
8. Stormwater Management System Permit – City of Albany Department of General Services
9. Highway Work Permit (if required) – New York State Department of Transportation
10. Sidewalk & Barricade Permit – Department of General Services
11. Closing or Limits on Hours on Rapp Road – Department of General Services and/or City of Albany Common Council
Design and Layout of Project.
1. Building
2. Roads and Parking
a. Alteration of Traffic Patterns on Rapp Road
3. Water Service
4. Sanitary Sewer Service
5. Stormwater Pollution Prevention Design
5. Stormwater Management
6. Miscellaneous Utilities
7. Landscaping
8. Lighting
9. Signage
10. Pedestrian Access
11. Construction and Operation
a. Construction Stage Activities
b. Construction Schedule
c. Operational Activities

V. THE EXISTING ENVIRONMENTAL SETTING of the Project shall include the following:

Geology, Topography and Slope
This section will incorporate, at a minimum, a discussion on the suitability of the site soils, the site topography including areas of slope and proximity to seasonal high groundwater table.

Water Resources
This section will include a discussion of the groundwater resources and surface water resources, including the aquifer.

Transportation and Traffic
This section will incorporate in the Appendix the Traffic Study prepared by Transportation Concepts, and provide a discussion of the existing transportation network, parking and potential alteration of traffic patterns on Rapp Road. A discussion of air quality will be included.

Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology
This section will include a description of the existing vegetation, wildlife, water resources and rare, threatened and endangered species present at the Site. This section will also include a site analysis by a qualified biologist particularly with regard to the presence of suitable habitat for the Karner Blue Butterfly, impact on the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and in particular to the corridor area, and more particularly the Karner Blue Butterfly.

Pine Bush
This section will evaluate the Site and the results of an ecological study will be summarized. This section will analyze cumulative impacts on minimum habitat requirement for Karner Blue Butterfly and Pine Bush ecosystem, including, but not limited to, recent and prior reports/studies concerning the Preserve and Corridor area. A review letter addressed to the Chairman of the Zoning Committee dated November 10, 2003 will be addressed. Included will be the potential for inappropriate uses by Inn residents and a discussion of appropriate measures designed to assist the preserve. Discussion of “taking.” Discussion of other threatened, endangered or of concern species on-site, if any.

F. Community Facilities and Services
This section will provide a brief discussion of police, fire protection, emergency medical services, schools and available public and private utilities. The discussion will include economic impacts of the project.G. Land Use and Zoning
This section will provide a brief discussion of the existing zoning and land uses in the immediate vicinity of the Site and proposed zoning and land use.

H. Cultural Resources
This section will provide a brief discussion of visual resources and historic and archaeological resources. The archeological study will be sent to Dr. Michael Werner, City Archeologist as may be required by the City Code of Albany.

The identification and summary of the Project’s potential adverse impacts.

Measures to be incorporated into the Project will include both Site specific and off-site measures that will be necessary to reduce or avoid the Project’s potential adverse impacts.
Measures to be incorporated into the Project to be discussed might include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Means to minimize traffic impacts and to improve existing traffic flow.
2. Means to maintain an acceptable traffic flow.
3. Means to reduce the impact of invasive species of nearby Pine Bush resources through utilization of native Pine Bush species.
4. Means to increase the protection of nearby Pine Bush resources.
Means to mitigate any other impacts identified in Item VIVIII. REASONABLE ALTERNATIVES (As Appropriate for the Applicant)
A. A discussion of development constraints of the site will be provided.
B. As prescribed in 6 NYCRR § 617.9 (b) (5) (v), the description and evaluation of each alternative should be at a level of detail sufficient to permit a conceptual comparative assessment of its feasibility.
The types of alternatives which might be discussed here include:
No action
Permitted uses on the Site
Alternative scale of project (less building area, fewer parking spaces, more building area, more spaces) considering the objectives and capabilities of the Applicant.
Alternative locations
All alternatives will be evaluated based on the physical resource capability of the site to accommodate the proposed building, utilities and parking arrangement, including ownership and regulatory issues associated with an alternative.

An identification and discussion of any adverse environmental impacts which can not be avoided or adequately mitigated if the proposed action is implemented.



A. Traffic Impact Study
B. Phase I Archeological and Historical Resource Evaluation
C. Stormwater Management Study
D. Biological Review concerning the presence of suitable habitat for the Karner Blue Butterfly