Town board decides Reader’s Digest developer’s DEIS is deficient

May 1, 2009
by Christine Yeres

At the town board’s regular meeting last Tuesday Barbara Gerrard began her Supervisor’s Report with the announcement that the board would withdraw its agenda item, “Authorization to approve the DEIS,” referring to the latest draft environmental impact statement submitted by Reader’s Digest developer Summit Greenfield.  In a work session immediately preceding the public meeting, the board unanimously found the DEIS incomplete.

Gerrard had explained in the work session that the board’s in-house planner Lincoln Daley and its outside planning consultant Joanne Meder of F.P. Clark had found gaps in the information supplied to the board by Summit Greenfield.  “My personal feeling about the memos we received [from the board’s consultants] is that they were very well thought out,” said Gerrard.

“The DEIS has come a great way, but there are certain gaps in the information,”  Gerrard reported. She was careful to explain that “the conclusions in the document are the conclusions of the applicant [Summit Greenfield], not the town board’s.”  In fact, she told board members and representatives of the developer, “the [DEIS] document is not the town board’s,”  but would become so once the DEIS is found complete, then examined by the board and public through hearings.  Gerrard invited comments from her board.

Robin Stout reiterated his belief that completeness was more important than speed.  Gerrard agreed, and the board’s special counsel Bob Davis suggested that rather than have the applicant fold its answers into the vast multi-volume DEIS document, the board should give Summit a succinct list of the information the board still needs, and require that Summit answer each of the board’s questions on the same document. Davis viewed this as a way to move the SEQR process along so that hearings can begin in late May or early June. The board will next discuss the DEIS publicly on May 12.