The Podium

Check this stage periodically for more detail on the latest news and current issues.

Positive Meeting with Town Officials

posted Jan 31, 2009, 12:20 PM by Auburn RRMSEA   [ updated Feb 1, 2009, 9:40 AM ]

On January 29, Coalition representatives had a positive meeting with Supervisor Jack Marren and Board Member Peter Hessney. We discussed our concerns about the impacts the proposed wide stonedust trail through RRMSEA would have on the environment, and on the many existing trail users. We discussed how the project development has gone awry. But mainly we emphasized our vision of the trail through RRMSEA as a major asset to the Town, Community, and Region. We offered our expertise to work with the Town to help gain a "design exception," essentially a waiver to allow this section of trail to remain narrow. We offered to direct our passion and expertise, which has been focused on saving RRMSEA, towards helping Victor develop this area into a showcase for environmental education: offering interpretive walks, developing signs, and otherwise working with school and community. We offered this website as an educational resource to learn about the special biodiversity of the area. RRMSEA is a unique natural resource with a broad user base and many concerned stakeholders. It could be a showcase project, different from any other "rails to trails" conversion, in the region and beyond.

Environmental Assessment

posted Jan 31, 2009, 12:12 PM by Auburn RRMSEA   [ updated Jan 31, 2009, 12:13 PM ]

WIDESPREAD PUBLIC CONTROVERSY and the COALITION'S DOCUMENTATION OF THREATENED PLANT SPECIES.  Many letters were written to the project planners to preserve the Railroad Mills Special Environmental Area (RRMSEA).  For the sake of the protecting the environment and the exceptional user nature experience in RRMSEA, many people asked that  a narrow trail (either leaving the area "as is" or compromising to a 3' ADA-compliant width) be  developed in RRMSEA, instead of the 6' wide stonedust bike path that is being proposed.    

Your letters HAVE made a difference. We recently learned through FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) requests to the feds, state DOT, and Victor that the federal agency (FHWA) is now requiring Victor to complete an EA (Environmental Assessment) for the project to meet requirements of NEPA.   Before this recent change, the feds were allowing a "categorical exclusion", for the project, a much less rigorous process.  The feds have now determined,  because of the "widespread public controversy" on environmental grounds, as well as the threatened species we brought to their attention, that they are bumping up the requirement to an EA - this is a much more rigorous documentation process than the Town had planned on.  It is directly the result of the public input and the Coalition's actions.

This is good news as it gives us more chance to make our case in a public forum.  The timeline is pushed back.  However it does not at all guarantee the preservation of the area.  The project planners haven't changed their outlook:  they are planning to do the necessary documentation for an EA, and still continue to plow ahead undeterred,  and hope to get approval for their 6' path in RRMSEA. 

Victor Herald News

posted Dec 16, 2008, 8:25 PM by Auburn RRMSEA   [ updated Dec 16, 2008, 8:35 PM ]

Victor Herald Town Board Report and Guest Essay came out today. read more: RRMSEA in the News

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