Waterfront Infrastructure Committee
The Board of Trustees has appointed the Waterfront Infrastructure Committee (“the Committee”) to assist it in providing the Village’s recommendations to British Petroleum (“BP”) as BP begins its remedial design for the waterfront. The charge of the Committee is to create a memorandum that includes a basic infrastructure plan describing the Village’s preferences for the location and key features of parks, an esplanade, roads, and utility infrastructure that can be constructed during the remediation of the BP property.
After years of tests and feasibility studies, the long-awaited clean-up of the 28-acre former Anaconda property at the north end of our waterfront is expected to begin in the next two years. The DEC has issued its assessment of how the off-shore portion of the waterfront would require to be remediated. Once public comments are integrated into this Preliminary Remediation Action Plan (PRAP), NY State will issue a Record of Decision (ROD) early this summer specifying the remedy.
Once this is issued, BP will be moving into the design phase of the clean-up which is envisioned to last between eighteen months and two years. This design phase consists of the detailed engineering planning required to implement the requirements of the ROD.
The Village Board of Trustees (“The Board”) and BP have agreed that it is advisable to install as much site infrastructure as possible during the clean-up process so that future disturbances are minimized. In addition, BP is required, through the 2003 Consent Decree, to provide the Village with a minimum of 6.25 acres of open space (parks and esplanade). BP will also be constructing new bulkheads or other structures along the water’s edge, and the Village should determine locations for river access for piers, boat docks, small boat launches and other water uses so that provisions can be made for them in the river edge design.
BP has asked the Board to provide its engineers with information regarding the location of these site elements and infrastructure so that they can be included in the remedial design for the site. A basic site plan of the parks and roads are sufficient at this stage, though the Village may work with BP’s engineers in the future on design and construction documents for the public spaces (i.e. materials, planting, lighting, drainage, etc.).
The Board of Trustees agreed in January of this year that this advice would be best provided by an ad hoc committee formed of diverse and appropriately skilled village residents. These residents would constitute a Waterfront Infrastructure Committee that will be responsible for delivering a preliminary site infrastructure plan that includes the location of streets, parks and an esplanade, and key water access points for the entire waterfront. The Committee will also work with the Village and BP’s engineers to locate the infrastructure for utilities that must be installed (e.g. sewer lines, underground stream) (possibly under the site’s contact barrier and soil cover) and common utility ducts that can house future utilities.
While the BP site only covers the northern 28 acres of the 42 acre site, it is the opinion of the Board that any Village recommendation, especially in regards to roads, must cover the full site in order for it to be practical and comprehensive. As a result, while the recommendation of the Committee should focus on the BP site, consideration should include recommendations concerning infrastructure on the entire waterfront for planning purposes.
The Board has appointed a Committee of eight Village volunteer residents. One of the Committee’s first orders of business will be to choose its own chair, set its own meeting times and gauge its own schedule.
Meetings will be considered “public”, which means that they must be held in a publicly accessible location (the Municipal Building, the Library or the Community Center) and any member of the public can attend. During any given meeting the Committee may determine whether or not to entertain comments and questions from members of the public who are present.
The Board anticipates that this process may involve several phases that may include the following stages. This suggested process reflects best practice in other similar situations but can be modified by the Committee:
- Committee formation and mobilization
- This includes selection of a chair, establishing dates and schedules, deciding on procedural issues
- Consultant selection
- Definition of requirements, creation of an RFP, and selection of a consultant
- Preliminary review of core documents
- Collecting and reading through relevant existing documentation, including the ROD, Consent Decree, PRAP, Comprehensive Plan, LWRP documents, etc.
- Public Meeting
- The committee will hold an initial public workshop to brainstorm uses, activities and destinations for the public spaces on the waterfront—essentially a program for the public spaces.
- Finalization of Proposed uses for Public Spaces
- The Board and the public will review the program before the committee and its consultant develop the site plan.
- Infrastructure Plan Development
- Based on the proposed program, the committee and consultant will develop one or more a preliminary infrastructure site plans for review by the Board and the public.
- Public Input
- Presentation of the one or more infrastructure site plans to the public, and a chance for public input.
- Further refinement of Infrastructure Site Plan
- Refine infrastructure site plan based on public input.
- BP syndication
- Review of draft with BP for feasibility.
- Infrastructure Site Plan Finalization
- Finalization of infrastructure site plan and associated memorandum.
- Deliverable review
- Presentation of the recommendations to the Board and Public.
Budget and resources
The Board has allocated a budget of $30,000 for the Committee, which is expected to be largely spent on the services of a consultant that will assist the Waterfront Infrastructure Committee in structuring the process, running public meetings, assisting with the drafting of the final committee report and recommendations to the Board of Trustees
The Committee will have access to meeting facilities (as mentioned above) and the services of Village employees to provide video transmission or taping.
The Committee will also have access to input from the consulting engineer that the Village has retained for the duration of this project.
The Committee will produce a memorandum and infrastructure plan describing:
- Likely activities and uses for the parks, open spaces and water-related uses;
- The location and key features of the desired park(s) and esplanade and other open spaces;
- Key waterfront amenities such as boat access points, piers, floating docks, marinas, etc.
- The location and size of the road(s),
- Physical infrastructure to support future development, including sewers, electrical conduits, telecom and other utilities.
This document is an input to BP’s engineering design. Neither the Board nor BP expects it to rise to the level of detail of an engineering or construction document.
It should be noted that the Committee is responsible for producing the report document representing its recommendation: the consultant may make recommendations, offer advice and create infrastructure plans and design documents, However, the content, ultimately, reflects the collective decision of the Committee, with the input of the public. The final document will be formally accepted, reviewed, and approved by the Board of Trustees.
The Committee is expected to produce the recommendation by February 28th, 2013.