NO BLASTING NEAR THE PLEASURE LAKE DAM
OUR LETTER TO THE PLANNING BOARD
JIM CREIGHTON'S REMARKS TO THE PLANNING BOARD
May 25, 2018
To The Fallsburg Planning Board,
Fallsburg’s Future is adamantly opposed to allowing blasting on the site of the RalHal development. Granting permission to blast is an unwarranted and unnecessary risk just to save money for the developer. The community is very concerned about damage being caused to the dam and the possibility of damaging the ecosystem of the lake.
Within the SEQR process it was clearly stated the type of rock that had to be removed “are of a composition that will allow removal without blasting.” The record shows that by all accounts, blasting would not be necessary and that jack-hammering or ripping would be the method used for removal of bedrock. The record shows further that the developer would make the effort to minimize any jack-hammering “to be within safe limits.” The language in the record implies that there is an inherent risk in blasting that the developer is aware of and that the final approval was conditional upon the disallowance of the use of blasting. To reverse the conditions upon which the approval was based compromises the entire approval process.
Fallsburg’s Future therefore stands with the Fallsburg Fishing and Boating Club in support of denying any permits for blasting.
Subject: RALHAL proposed blasting and effects upon Pleasure Lake Dam within 1200 feet
Kindly forward this email to the other Planning Board members in connection with the Planning Board agenda item on May 10, 2018 to advise of our serious concerns regarding the request for a blasting permit within 1200 feet of the Pleasure Lake Class C High Hazard Dam.
We have received a copy of the recent report seeking a blasting permit and have significant concerns in light of the assertions and protections set in place during the SEQR process for protection of the Pleasure Lake Dam when site plan approvals were granted.
Our initial review has confirmed that the developer and consultants asserted that no blasting would be required and that they would perform all necessary rock removal by mechanical means (mechanical hammering)
We registered our vigorous opposition to any blasting at the time of the DEIS and FEIS as well as mechanical hammering, but were assured that no blasting would be required and that the hammering would be within safe limits; both the developer and the Town’s engineer Keystone opined that blasting was not necessary.
Specifically, the DEIS indicated - in response to the several concerns noted during the SEQR process regarding potential blasting - that:
“the project engineer has stated that in his experience rock formations in the
county generally and in the vicinity of the project specifically are of a composition that
will allow removal without blasting.”
“The limited areas where bedrock is located at the surface of the property shows the bedrock to be friable and easily ripped apart. The proposed mechanical means of removing any bedrock (if needed) would include limited hammering or ripping. Though the property line is as close as 300 feet to the Pleasure Lake Dam, disturbance to the property is not proposed that close to the dam.” (FEIS, Responses 3.1, January 30, 2012).
It should also be noted that the blasting protocol does not even provide data in the same units of measurement as were provided in the FEIS, thus depriving the planning board of any opportunity to make an “apples to apples” comparison to the statements on the record as they consider this proposal and the potential catastrophic results of a dam failure as a result of any blasting.
We respectfully urge the Planning Board to open a public hearing to consider this request in light of the substantial change from the initial SEQR assertions and to allow a limited record to be created by the Board to ensure the safety of downstream residents and avoid any damages to this critical infrastructure. We expect the NYS DEC Dam Safety Division, Sullivan County OEM/Homeland Security and New York State Office of Emergency Management to have comments in connection with RALHAL’s blasting permit application in light of its proximity within 1200 feet or less of a Class C Dam.
Please note our concerns on the record at the Planning Board meeting and kindly consider our request to deny any blasting permits; if the Planning Board does wish to consider a blasting permit, we respectfully request that an independent engineer be retained to provide an opinion as to the safety of any blasting as to the Pleasure Lake Class C High Hazard Dam and any additional protections or requirements to be included in the blasting protocol to avoid damage to the dam. Our residents are also concerned about the timing and frequency of the proposed blasting.
We also request that the developer and/or the Town provide indemnification for any damage or injury resulting from the effects of blasting upon the Pleasure Lake Dam.
If any decisions are made regarding granting of a blasting permit without an independent assessment and/or indemnification, we respectfully request that we be advised by email within 10 days (unless minutes are posted online within that timeframe). In that event, we expect to seek an injunction and/or seek appropriate relief by an Article 78 proceeding in the Supreme Court so that appropriate measures can be taken to protect public safety and to require appropriate protections to shield the Fallsburg Fishing & Boating Club and downstream residents from any damages.
Thank you for your kind consideration and thorough review of this crucial issue. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or require any further information.
James Creighton, President
Fallsburg Fishing & Boating Club
From: James Creighton <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2018 4:54 PM
To: Denise (Town of Fallsburg Code Enforcement) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: PB agenda 5/10/18
Did RALHAL provide a copy of the blasting plan in electronic format? If so, I respectfully request a copy of it by email (please let me know if you require a formal FOIL notice). If Will has a copy of it in PDF format (or if someone in his or the Supervisor’s/Clerk’s office can scan it), perhaps he (or they) can forward it to me. Obviously, this is a very important issue and we want to be certain that the dam protections and prior protocols remain in place for phase 3.
Please let me know if you consider my request unreasonable for any reason and we can take whatever further action is necessary.
(If I knew this was coming up or that a new blasting request was being considered, I would have gotten a copy of it when I met with supervisor Vegliante and Will Illing had our meeting last week. I will be at a New York State Federation of Lake Association meeting with the NYS DEC in Lake George this week and am unable to come in to the office to view the hard copies.)
Once again, we appreciate all that you do.
James Creighton, President
Fallsburg Fishing & Boating Club