Dear Common Council Members:
It is my understanding that you have re-passed the legislation that had been previously vetoed by Mayor Roefaro with the following additional paragraph:
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Common Council hereby reinstates the original Master Plan Steering Committee's Infrastructure & Waterfront Development sub-committee for the sole purpose of meeting with the NYSDOT to establish a long term plan for the North – South Arterial and to present it's finding to the Common Council no later than January 31, 2012 ...”
Please be advised that as Chairman of the Infrastructure and Waterfront Development Subcommittee (1) I was never, at anytime, consulted and asked my opinion on this proposal by either Mr. Zecca or any other Council Member and (2) that I did not receive a copy of this resolution and was unaware of its exact wording until after the Privilege of the Floor at last night's Council Meeting. Apparently, this resolution had been circulated among Council Members before the vote on overriding the Mayor's veto because it was cited as a reason for some council members to vote to not override. I do not understand why this resolution could not have been e-mailed to my subcommittee members and myself in advance.
Common courtesy should have moved the Council to first inquire of the Infrastructure and Waterfront Development Subcommittee members whether or not we are even available to take on this task.
As I pointed out to you in January, the Utica Master Plan is a fundamentally flawed document. Relative to the Arterial project, it contains no specific vision for the West Utica neighborhood and no discussion of the causes and consequences of sprawl. I requested that you return the Plan to the Steering Committee to fix these flaws. You chose to take no action on my request.
A few weeks later with other members of my subcommittee, we discussed with your economic development committee the Infrastructure Subcommittee's recommendations. I pointed out to you that the Subcommittee made several recommendations, including a Boulevard for the North-South Arterial and several street-connection proposals, that for some reason never appeared in the final draft of the Master Plan. I expressed to you my frustration that our recommendations seemed to be resisted by City Hall. You took no interest in this information, and you requested no changes relative to the Arterial or related street-connection projects.
As I noted at last night's Common Council meeting, under the law you are given a 60-day period after the State's plans are submitted to you to take action on the Arterial project, otherwise the State's plans are deemed approved. I do not know if this period has run yet or not. That is your responsibility to determine, not mine. If the time for response has passed, which official or officials dropped the ball? The Public has a right to know. Additionally you have already been told that Federal approval of this project is expected before the end of this year. Who are you trying to fool with a January 31 deadline?
You had the opportunity to issue a resolution asking the Governor to halt the current project and consider a boulevard-type of project as a substitute. Instead of taking a stand on the issue at hand, you chose to address “Phase 2” -- something that is years away and not currently an issue. It was my understanding, apparently mistaken, that last night you were going to reconsider Mr. Zecca's original resolution to halt Phase 1. Based on the news this morning, this was not done.
Instead, you have chosen to avoid taking a stand on the Arterial project's “wall,” street closures, property takings, and the consequences that will flow, by telling a group of volunteers to meet with the NYSDOT. You are all elected and paid to set policy for Utica – We are not. The Infrastructure and Waterfront Development Subcommittee has already met with NYSDOT and made its recommendations regarding the Arterial and street-connections, which were rejected by you and others at City Hall. Further meetings by us with NYSDOT, at this juncture, would be pointless.
The Infrastructure and Waterfront Development Subcommittee has already done its job.
When are you going to do yours?
Chairman, Infrastructure and Waterfront Development Subcommittee
Shortly after we received Mr. Montecalvo's email, Council Member Ed Bucciero copied us on an email he sent to Brian Thomas, City of Utica Director of Urban Planning. In that email, Mr. Bucciero stated that he had confirmed Mr. Montecalvo's belief that the Council had a 60-day period after the State's plans are received to take action on the Arterial project before the State's plans are deemed approved. Additionally, Mr. Bucciero's email requested that Mr. Thomas provide a copy of the dated NYSDOT’s official Arterial project submission correspondence to the City to determine if the 60-day period has lapsed.
What more can we say that Mr. Montecalvo hasn't already said except to reiterate...when does the Utica Council plan on doing their job?