SYNOPSIS OF EMINENT DOMAIN PROCEDURE LAW
DETERMINATION AND FINDINGS
ULSTER COUNTY MIDTOWN LINEAR PARK- PIN 8761.82
In accordance with Section 204 of the New York State Eminent Domain Procedure Law, a synopsis is hereby given of the Determination and Findings regarding the acquisition of real property rights required for the Ulster County Midtown Linear Park, City of Kingston, County of Ulster, State of New York. The Determination and Findings were adopted by the Ulster County Legislature pursuant to Resolution No. 539, dated December 18, 2019. Copies of the Determination and Findings will be forwarded upon written request without cost.
I. THE PUBLIC USE, BENEFIT, OR PURPOSE TO BE SERVED BY THE PROPOSED PUBLIC PROJECT INCLUDE:
1. Provide and expand non-motorized transportation opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists in the City of Kingston.
2. Expand recreational opportunities for local residents and visitors, including for persons with disabilities and for those of all skill levels and age groups.
3. Transform the midtown Kingston neighborhood by connecting pedestrian access to the only supermarket and major public bus (Ulster County Area Transit) hub in the area, while also revitalizing a blighted corridor by creating a safe recreation space.
II. THE APPROXIMATE LOCATION FOR THE PROPOSED PUBLIC PROJECT AND THE REASONS FOR SELECTION OF THAT LOCATION:
The proposed public Project is located in the City of Kingston extending from Westbrook Lane by Kingston Plaza to Cornell Street in midtown Kingston along the abandoned Ulster & Delaware Railroad right-of-way. The location was selected as it creates a direct and safe off-road connection between midtown Kingston and the Kingston Plaza and uptown Kingston, including the City’s only major supermarket and the public bus transit hub. It also creates much-needed park space for low- and moderate-income residents in midtown Kingston with limited park facilities near their neighborhoods.
The following alternatives were considered for the proposed public Project:
Null Alternative: The No Build “Null” Alternative proposes no action. This alternative does not address any of the Project public purposes. This alternative was retained only as a baseline for comparison to the preferred alternative and does not meet the public purposes of the Project.
Alternative A: This alternative would utilize the existing Ulster and Delaware railroad alignment from I-587 to Westbrook Lane. This alternative meets the public purposes of the Project but was rejected because it would not allow tourism railroad passengers to load at the eastern end of Kingston Plaza.
Alternative B: This alternative would deviate from the Ulster and Delaware railroad alignment and follow the interim trail to the south of that alignment for a distance of 800 feet to 1100 feet between Westbrook Lane and the I-587 underpass. This alternative meets the public purposes of the Project and was determined to be the Preferred Alternative. The Project may reduce or eliminate the 300 remaining feet of track proposed for removal based on future Legislative determinations on the matter.
III. THE GENERAL EFFECT OF THE PROPOSED PUBLIC PROJECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND RESIDENTS OF THE LOCALITY:
State Environmental Quality Review Act Classification: The Project as proposed is classified as a Type I Action per 6 NYCRR Part 617, Subpart 4(b)(9) of Title 6 of the Implementing Regulations of the Official Codes, Rules, and Regulations of New York State (“SEQRA”). The County of Ulster conducted a coordinated review as permitted under SEQRA. After review of the Environmental Assessment and Draft Design Report prepared by the County’s consultants, the County Legislature pursuant to Resolution No. 391 of September 17, 2019, issued a determination of non-significance (“Negative Declaration”) in accordance with SEQRA, identifying the Project as one that will not have a significant adverse effect on the environment.
National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”): This project is being progressed as a NEPA Class II action (Categorical Exclusion). In accordance with the Federal Highway Administration’s regulations in 23 CFR 771.117(c) this is an action which will not have significant environmental effects and does not normally require additional federal approval regarding NEPA. Specifically, this action meets the description in 23 CFR 771.117(c)(3) described as “Construction of bicycle and pedestrian lanes, paths, and facilities”. The NYSDOT/FHWA is the lead agency for the final environmental determination under provisions of NEPA concurrence, which is pending.
The proposed Project has been designed to minimize environmental impacts to the greatest extent possible and maximize positive impacts on the local community. The proposed Project will have no adverse effect on the residents of the locality, cultural resources, or the environment.