Report of Established Precedents Concerning Town of Woodstock Water System Boundary, Bisected Water District Properties & Tax Parcels, Pertaining to Woodstock Commons
Excerpts Concerning Municipal Water from Lead Agency Finding Statement
According to the adopted Finding Statement (7/01/2010) of the Woodstock Planning Board, lead agency for the environmental review for Woodstock Commons, “the EIS addresses as follows the probable effects of the proposed development on Municipal and Franchise Utilities:”
“1. Portions of the Project Site lie within both the Woodstock Town Water District and the Woodstock Town Hamlet Sewer District. This circumstance provides the owner of the Project Site legal access to both municipal water and municipal sewer facilities subject to Town Board approval.” The sewer law provides partially included parcels hamlet sewer access. There is no corresponding law for the town water district. Grouping the land parcel as partially in "both" water and sewer districts is pointless. There are separate laws for water and sewer, so no grouping has any relevance.
“2. RUPCO intends to meet as an in-district user the water supply and sanitary sewage requirements of Woodstock Commons by installing on-site improvements and off-site connections to the municipal infrastructure.” Who cares what RUPCO's "intentions" are if they are not supported by law?
“3. The Woodstock Water District operates a Public Water Supply (NY PWS No. 5503394) and serves 743 customers (i.e. metered connections) within the hamlet of Woodstock and extending from the vicinity of Bearsville on its west to The Route 375 vicinity on its east. Portions of Project Site are located within the Water District and Woodstock Commons will utilize the Water District as its sole potable water supply source.” Again, who cares what RUPCO's "intentions" are if they are not supported by law?
“The Water District secures its water supply from drilled gravel wells in the western portion of the District near the Saw Kill. As indicated in the Engineer’s Report these wells have a reported estimated combined capacity of 575 gallons per minute (GPM) [Untrue. This was the design capacity, never tested, and never claimed.] and estimated total safe yield of 400 GPM [Yes, in 1985.] . On the basis of this estimated total safe yield of 400 GPM and based upon 12 hours,
or 720 minutes, of well pumping per day, the estimated daily safe yield of the District’s wells is reported to be 288,000 GPD.” It does not take an engineer to point out the difference between "design capacity" and "reliable capacity." This difference is purely one of language, manipulating it to change the meaning. RUPCO changed the meaning in the water superintendent's letter, and nobody noticed... for a while. RUPCO, in the DEIS, wrote that former Water and Sewer Superintendent Kevin Hunter, in a letter about town water and sewer capacity, "indicated the safe yield of the District's wells to be about 300,000 GPD." This is a quote from DEIS Section 3.9.1. Now let us look at the actual letter written by Kevin Hunter. It says: "The Town's water system was designed to produce 300,000 per day." See, taking the phrase "designed to produce" and rewriting it as "the safe yield" when the last time the water was studies is 24 years prior to the statement, now 26 years ago, is fundamentally dishonest.
“The estimated daily safe yield of 288,000 GPD is more than twice the Water District’s reported 2005 estimated average demand of approximately 140,000 gallons per day (GPD), as set forth in the most recent annual drinking water quality statement (2005) for the District.” Again, 288,000 is not the safe yield. It is RUPCO's lie.
“The Project Site lies within the only area of the Town, the hamlet of Woodstock, within which municipal water and/or municipal sewer facilities have been made available through the creation and operation of special utility districts to accommodate the residential, commercial, civic and institutional uses either existing or proposed to be located there in accordance with Town and County land use plans and related land use and development regulations.” This does not mean that all parcels in the hamlet have legal access to these utilities. More misleading language.
“The Woodstock Commons development will be served by the Woodstock Water District including the District’s water supply wells located near Bearsville and not draw upon the groundwater resources of the Project Site for its domestic water supply. Provision of domestic water service to Woodstock Commons will increase average daily water demand within the
District by 8.2% to 162,500 GPD and consume only 9.1% of the District’s safe yield residual supply of 138,000 GPD.” Again, this statement assumes that Woodstock is capable of producing the quantity of water that individual well tests showed in 1985. No simultaneous well tests were conducted, and no tests have been conducted since 1985. RUPCO simply misleads, lies, and distorts facts at every turn.
Now, a word about "precedent." Guy Thomas Kempe uses this word in the title of his "study," and then once again when showing properties bisected by the water district boundary. However, Guy Thomas Kempe fails to discuss the issue of precedent.
Guy Thomas Kempe is completely off base categorizing activities that occurred prior to the creation of DEC as “precedent.” Precedent is a practice that can be cited when all other conditions and laws are the same. I could cite precedent that says that it is acceptable for women to not be allowed to vote, because it was precedent for so long and for so many women. However, since that time, women have been granted the right to vote, and so that particular precedent is irrelevant. It's hard to believe that I have to explain this, but apparently it is necessary...
Above all else, there IS no town law that says properties bisected by the water district automatically are entitled to service. Somebody on the RUPCO team appears to have invented that law. It does not matter whether the Planning Board slept through the process, the citation is simply incorrect, and even Woodstock Town Attorney Futerfas said so, finally, officially in a letter to DEC, Feb. 2011.
But more about the particulars of the properties in Woodstock that Guy Thomas Kempe says are partially in the water district, and enjoy water service:
Kempe cites all these properties that are quite old, let’s say ranch houses for the most part, built in the 1950’s or 60’s, before the creation of the DEC, and so exempt from DEC rules. I believe the DEC and many of its rules were created by passage of the Environmental Conservation Law of 1970. Some of these houses joining the water district could have occurred with the expansion of the capacity in 1965, when the district approximately doubled in capacity. I do not know what laws governed district expansion then, but Kempe certainly does not report any such laws, which means he does not know what they are, OR they state that these additions were permitted.
As for applications to extend the district in the 1970’s, I am not sure Guy Thomas Kempe is equipped to know whether the water district had approved extensions to partially included districts, in the 1970’s, or on a case by case basis. He is completely off base in trying to apply a 2005 town water law retroactively to activities about which nobody seems to know any details, that occurred in the 1970’s or earlier. He also failed to cite town water law from the period in question, meaning the 1970’s until passage of Town water law of 2005.