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A coalition of 22 groups insist on full environmental review for Troy development

A coalition of 22 community groups, Indigenous leaders and organizations deliver a letter to the City of Troy Common Council insisting on a full environmental review for the Second Avenue Project that is a sacred indigenous site located on the Hudson in North Troy, NY. A delegation of the group, joined by Indigenous leaders, will deliver the letter during Thursday night’s city council meeting to call for the protection of the site.

North Troy, NY: A coalition of local community groups and their allies continues to grow in opposition to the Second Avenue development, a 240-unit housing project that is being proposed on a 5,000-year-old sacred Indigenous site located in one of North Troy’s environmental justice areas.

Organized by the Friends of the Mahicantuck with support from Riverkeeper and Scenic Hudson, a coalition of community groups, Indigenous leaders and organizations insist on a full environmental review of the sacred site at Thursday’s common council meeting.

“To witness the breadth of support by the community and organizations illustrates the commitment of many to protect this site,” said Friends of the Mahicantuck spokesperson Jessica Bennett. “We’re in it for the long haul and with our partners, we will not stop until this land is protected.”

In an overwhelming show of support and unity, the letter was signed by 22 community groups, Indigenous Nations and organizations to call on the city for a full environmental review of the potential significant environmental impacts and to ensure meaningful public input. The coalition includes Anthropocene Alliance, Clean Air Coalition of Greater Ravena Coeymans, Cultivated Arts Cooperative, 2nd Street Farm, Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Mahicantuck, Guilderland Coalition for Responsible Growth, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Media Alliance, PTM Foundation, Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation, Redrum M.C., Riverkeeper, Save the Pinebush, Scenic Hudson, Schaghticoke First Nations, Sierra Club Mohawk Hudson Chapter, The Bioreserve, The White Feather Foundation, TAP, Inc. (Troy Architecture Program), Troy Bike Rescue, Troy Democratic Socialists of America, Waterfall Unity Alliance.

The coalition will use the first in-person meeting of Troy’s city council since the Covid-19 state of emergency to deliver their message ahead of a key decision the Council may make by the end of July.

“The Planning Commissioner made comments in a recent publication that suggests they might delay a decision about the environmental review process until September,” said Bennett. “But if this Type 1 action has just one potential significant environmental impact, then the council as lead agency must make a positive declaration determination within the 20 day State Environmental Quality Review. (SEQR).”

The project presented by the developer Kevin Vandenburgh is not allowed under the current city zoning code and would require a zoning change following the environmental review. The coalition believes that such a rezoning would be inconsistent with several key goals of the City of Troy’s “Realize Troy” Comprehensive Plan that was adopted in 2018 in both Lansingburgh and the proposed project site. N.Y. General Law requires that all city land use regulations are in accordance with its comprehensive plan.

In addition to the letter, the Friends of the Mahicatuck launched an online petition to protect the forest and Indigenous site that has reached over 5,000 signatures. The group also submitted a protest petition signed by two thirds of the Troy homeowners living directly adjacent to the proposed development project site. “I have not met a neighbor that isn’t against this development.” said Bennett who also lives next to the site.

The group has identified alternative project locations such as the Leonard Hospital or the abandoned Price Chopper that are available and close by. The Price Chopper as well as the Second Avenue Development site the group seeks to protect are owned by the Golub Properties Inc. “This sacred site is the last forested area in a quiet, single family neighborhood,” said Bennett. “We are not anti-development. We want the developer to identify an alternative location that is better suited for this kind of project in our city and for this sacred site to be protected forever.”

Contact: FriendsoftheMahicantuck@gmail.com
Jessica Bennett — 516.375.1235

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