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Questions of Illegal Clearing and
The Common Council must consider that this land
was illegally cleared, in violation of the SPDES permit (#4-0130-00007/2002,
issued on 7/6/94) given to Pyramid Crossgates. This permit applies
to Crossgates Mall, the Karner Blue Hill Preserve, and adjacent
properties owned in whole or part or under control of Pyramid Crossgates. Special
Condition #7c in the permit states that prior to any further physical alterations
of this land, the Pyramid Crossgates shall provide proposed development plans
and narratives to the Department of Environmental Conservation for prior review
and if necessary approval. In the event there is no specific Department Permit
or approval required then the Department may still attach conditions to any
such proposed project. Such condition shall be binding on Pyramid
Crossgates and are limited to those conditions necessary to ensure
there are not significant adverse impacts upon the Karner Blue
What good are environmental laws that protect
endangered species and habit, if municipalities do not enforce
them? Pyramid Crossgates, from the day they illegally bulldozed
this property in 1998 until today are in violation of their permit.
The City of Albany should not allow Pyramid Crossgates to get
away with this and should require Pyramid Crossgates to put back
the site to its original state, prior to completing a Draft Environmental
Impact Statement on the proposed Residence Inn.
We feel that this is a reasonable request. The
Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission proved that a parking lot
can be turned into Karner Blue butterfly habitat when a parking
lot was ripped up on Apollo Drive, and the Commission planted
native Pine Bush species of plants. The butterflies returned
to the site.
Because the site of the proposed Residence Inn
is adjacent to the largest site of Karner Blue south of the Thruway,
restoration of the site would most likely be successful, and
Karner Blues would re-inhabit the area.
The Albany Pine Bush is a jewel that the City
of Albany should protect and nuture. The New York State legislature
has recognized the importance of the Pine Bush when it passed
ECL Article 46 to create the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission.
The Federal Government recognizes the importance
of the Karner Blue Butterfly when it listed the butterfly as
an endangered species in 1992. In September, 2003, the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife adopted a Recovery Plan for the Karner Blue.
The Applicant denies that the SPDES permit applies
to this land and deny any association with the clearing. This
is a factual matter that must be answered.
This is the most important
issue the Common Council must address when considering this
project. The owners of the
land bulldozed it. Then, the developers come back a few years
later and said there are no impacts because the land was bulldozed.
What good is SEQRA if a developer can bulldoze the land, and
then say there is no impact, because the land was bulldozed?
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