Objecters Ignored In Final GEIS,
Email Says. But Mayor Disagrees
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Unhappy Concerned Citizens of Oneonta are expected back at tomorrow’s 7 p.m. Common Council meeting.
Common Council is expected to act on the GEIS – generic environmental impact statement – on the D&H railyards redevelopment, and Citizens’ email sent out Sunday says it “dismisses every single comment brought by the public.
“No changes were made at all. And the city is now trying to plow ahead,” it states.
In the email, Concerned Citizens worried that once “approved,” the final GEIS would establish “a baseline for high impact, energy intensive development…not compatible with our community or the environment” and “could fast track unwanted industrial development in the middle of our city.”
First, Mayor Gary Herzig and Council member Russ Southard, whose Ward 6 includes the railyards, disagreed with the Citizens that council is “approving” the GEIS. Instead, Council will be “accepting” it.
“The final GEIS does not do anything but identify environmental factors at the railyard. It doesn’t authorize any project,” said Southard. “Any future project would have to go through its own environmental impact review and have the state issue an impact statement.”
Herzig agreed, “If an actual project is proposed at any time in the future, it will have to get a full environmental review.”
While no changes were made in the GEIS that went before a stormy public hearing in March, each of the approximately 80 public comments were replied to, as required by law, and “not ignored,” the mayor said.
The City of Oneonta’s Common Council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Common Council Chambers.