Author Topic: Are our Town Supervisors breaking the law?  (Read 140 times)

Michael Caswell

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Are our Town Supervisors breaking the law?
« on: April 02, 2019, 09:57:26 pm »
Could our Town Supervisors, a Wayne County Judge, and members of a group known as Stop The Canal ClearCut, be advocating for or actually guilty of "breaking the law"?

There's a Law called THE NATIONAL DAM SAFETY ACT that is addressing potential flood issues like we have with the Erie Canal. It has standardized the approach to Dam Safety in our country and it requires Dam Owners, especially municipal power companies, to fix issues with their Dams.

See THE NATIONAL DAM SAFETY ACT OF 2006 (Public Law 109-460) & 2014
(Title III, Subtitle A of the Conference Report to HR 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act)

Here's a copy of the text of that Law
https://damsafety.org/sites/default/files/National%20Dam%20Safety%20Program%20Background-2014.pdf

This document first spells out by definition, what a DAM is. So now we can put to bed all the CRAP about levees, dams, wooded hillsides, and "special cases for the Erie Canal" or whatever fairy tale folks can come up with to try to pass off the Erie Canal Embankments as something other than DAMS.

Erie Canal embankments DO NOT fall into a category which excludes NYPA from removing vegetation from these earthen embankments.

DEFINITION of a DAM: DAM.-The term 'dam'-

(A) means any artificial barrier that has the ability to impound water, wastewater, or any liquid-borne material, for the purpose of storage or control of water, that-
     (i) is 25 feet or more in height from-
          (I) the natural bed of the stream channel or watercourse measured at the downstream toe of the barrier; or
          (II) if the barrier is not across a stream channel or watercourse, from the lowest elevation of the outside limit of the barrier; to the maximum water storage elevation; or
   
     (ii) has an impounding capacity for maximum storage elevation of 50 acre-feet or more; but

(B) does not include-
      (i) a levee; or   
      (ii) a barrier described in subparagraph (A) that-
             (I) is 6 feet or less in height regardless of storage capacity; or
             (II) has a storage capacity at the maximum water storage elevation that is 15 acre-feet or less regardless of height; unless the barrier, because of the location of the barrier or another physical characteristic of the barrier, is likely to pose a significant threat to human life or property if the barrier fails (as determined by the Director).

These statements define what a Dam is & isn't. Based on the description, ALL of the Erie Canal Embankments in the three towns of Pittsford, Perinton and Brighton meet the definition of a Dam and therefore should be considered Dams.

The embankments around our Towns are more than 25 feet high and all Erie Canal Embankments hold back more than 50 acre-feet of water, about 16 million gallons of potential flood water. That last statement has been confirmed by the Canal Corporation many times publicly.

If fixing the Erie Canal Embankments is not about safety to some folks in Rochester, then it eventually will come down to following the Law. There is NO choice here,  you either agree it's the right thing to do for safety, or it's the right thing to do BECAUSE it's the LAW.

Some of our Town Supervisors, members of a group called STCC and a Wayne County Judge look like they are advocating breaking the law by opposing the proper maintenance of these dams per the Owner's requirements.

Our Town Leaders have FAILED to accept the fact that many of their residents are actually living in DAM HAZARD ZONES.

They have allowed large residential areas to be constructed, potentially in harms way in these Flood Inundation areas.

They have failed to provide remedial maintenance and are actually stopping the NY Canal Corporation from doing this much needed work.

They have failed to provide emergency procedures or a flood alert, in the event of a dam breach, and continue to leave us all without these systems.

And what I find incredible is that these same folks have failed to accept written Engineer Inspection Reports stating quite clearly that these dams are FEMA & DEC Class C HIGH RISK HAZARDS, and worse, they have been unable to conduct thorough inspections BECAUSE OF THE DENSE VEGETATION, which the Dam Inspection Reports recommended be REMOVED.

2006 Dam Safety Act Information
https://ecna.createaforum.com/general-discussion/the-erie-canal-and-50-acre-feet-why-is-that-so-important/

You might like to ask your Town Supervisor where he stands these days on this topic.
bsmith@townofpittsford.org
william.moehle@townofbrighton.org
channa@perinton.org

You might like to ask your Senator about this also: 
funke@nysenate.gov

For those who want... here's a poll on the ECNA Website where your voice can be heard...let your Town Leaders know how you feel.

https://ecna.createaforum.com/erie-canal-embankment-integrity-program-(eip)/should-pittsford-brighton-perinton-reconsider-their-fight-against-erie-canal-emb/ 

Here are 266 people who support the NYPA for vegetation removal. I closed this petition a while ago, to submit these results. I suspect the numbers supporting this will be much greater now. http://chng.it/SzCkvXKx86


Michael Caswell
Erie Canal Neighbors Association

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Re: Are our Town Supervisors breaking the law?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2019, 08:40:47 am »
It surely looks like they are, or worse yet they are trying to ignore the law hoping it will go away.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 07:45:05 am by Doug K »

Doug K

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Re: Are our Town Supervisors breaking the law?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2019, 09:10:53 am »
Mike, This would have been a great post  to add a survey poll to, the question to Perinton could have been this:


Here's a post based on the eventuality that the STCC will continue its fight against Federal Dam Safety Laws, once again trying to create their own definitions about what constitutes a "dam".

https://ecna.createaforum.com/the-stop-the-clearcut-argument/stcc-unhappy-with-fairport-nextdoor-post-regarding-national-dam-safety-laws/
« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 07:46:29 am by Doug K »

Michael Caswell

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Are our town supervisors complying with the law?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2019, 06:57:26 am »
Could our Town Supervisors, a Wayne County Judge, and members of a group known as Stop The Canal Clear Cut, be advocating for or actually guilty of "breaking the law"?

There's a Law called THE NATIONAL DAM SAFETY ACT that is addressing potential flood issues like we have with the Erie Canal. It has standardized the approach to Dam Safety in our country and it requires Dam Owners, especially municipal power companies, to fix issues with their Dams.

See THE NATIONAL DAM SAFETY ACT OF 2006 (Public Law 109-460) & 2014
(Title III, Subtitle A of the Conference Report to HR 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act)

Here's a copy of the text of that Law
https://damsafety.org/sites/default/files/National%20Dam%20Safety%20Program%20Background-2014.pdf

This document first spells out by definition, what a DAM is. So now we can put to bed all the crap about levees, dams, wooded hillsides, and "special cases for the Erie Canal" or whatever fairy tale folks can come up with to try to pass off the Erie Canal Embankments as something other than DAMS.

Erie Canal embankments DO NOT fall into a category which excludes NYPA from removing vegetation from these earthen embankments.

DEFINITION of a DAM: DAM.-The term 'dam'-

(A) means any artificial barrier that has the ability to impound water, wastewater, or any liquid-borne material, for the purpose of storage or control of water, that-
(i) is 25 feet or more in height from-
(I) the natural bed of the stream channel or watercourse measured at the downstream toe of the barrier; or
(II) if the barrier is not across a stream channel or watercourse, from the lowest elevation of the outside limit of the barrier; to the maximum water storage elevation; or

(ii) has an impounding capacity for maximum storage elevation of 50 acre-feet or more; but

(B) does not include-
(i) a levee; or
(ii) a barrier described in subparagraph (A) that-
(I) is 6 feet or less in height regardless of storage capacity; or
(II) has a storage capacity at the maximum water storage elevation that is 15 acre-feet or less regardless of height; unless the barrier, because of the location of the barrier or another physical characteristic of the barrier, is likely to pose a significant threat to human life or property if the barrier fails (as determined by the Director).

These statements define what a Dam is & isn't. Based on the description, ALL of the Erie Canal Embankments in the three towns of Pittsford, Perinton and Brighton meet the definition of a Dam and therefore should be considered Dams.

The embankments around our Towns are more than 25 feet high and all Erie Canal Embankments hold back more than 50 acre-feet of water, about 16 million gallons of potential flood water. That last statement has been confirmed by the Canal Corporation many times publicly.

If fixing the Erie Canal Embankments is not about safety to some folks in Rochester, then it eventually will come down to following the Law. There is NO choice here, you either agree it's the right thing to do for safety, or it's the right thing to do BECAUSE it's the LAW.

Some of our Town Supervisors, members of a group called STCC and a Wayne County Judge look like they are advocating breaking the law by opposing the proper maintenance of these dams per the Owner's requirements.

Our Town Leaders have FAILED to accept the fact that many of their residents are actually living in DAM HAZARD ZONES.

They have allowed large residential areas to be constructed, potentially in harms way in these Flood Inundation areas.

They have failed to provide remedial maintenance and are actually stopping the NY Canal Corporation from doing this much needed work.

They have failed to provide emergency procedures or a flood alert, in the event of a dam breach, and continue to leave us all without these systems.

And what I find incredible is that these same folks have failed to accept written Engineer Inspection Reports stating quite clearly that these dams are FEMA & DEC Class C HIGH RISK HAZARDS, and worse, they have been unable to conduct thorough inspections BECAUSE OF THE DENSE VEGETATION, which the Dam Inspection Reports recommended be REMOVED.

2006 Dam Safety Act Information
https://ecna.createaforum.com/general-discussion/the-erie-canal-and-50-acre-feet-why-is-that-so-important/

You might like to ask your Town Supervisor where he stands these days on this topic.
bsmith@townofpittsford.org
william.moehle@townofbrighton.org
channa@perinton.org

You might like to ask your Senator about this also:
funke@nysenate.gov

For those who want... here's a poll on the ECNA Website where your voice can be heard...let your Town Leaders know how you feel.

https://ecna.createaforum.com/erie-canal-embankment-integrity-program-(eip)/should-pittsford-brighton-perinton-reconsider-their-fight-against-erie-canal-emb/

Here are 266 people who support the NYPA for vegetation removal. I closed this petition a while ago, to submit these results. I suspect the numbers supporting this will be much greater now. http://chng.it/SzCkvXKx86
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Doug K

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Mike,

It's a great question, one that I'm sure will create a stir in your Town as concerned residents start to change the narrative from "Trees & Dams" to Safety & Dams once the Embankment Safety Program returns to start clearing these dams in the Fall of 2019

After reading your message again, I am still mystified why Nextdoor thought the post was controversial enough to pull it off the Fairport Nextdoor website. It appears to be just a message questioning what role town & village leadership plays in protecting their residents from unforeseen dangers like these unsafe, nearly invisible, embankment dams. If our Village Leaders had taken a stand against safety of the residents, they would have been met with immediate opposition, which happened in some  villages out this way late in 2017

For those who do not know, this posted message you see here started on the Fairport Nextdoor Website App, where Mike placed it as a warning to his neighbor's. Once it landed there the Leadership of the Stop the Canal ClearCut, one Ms. Agte herself, thought that reporting Mike to Nextdoor was "better" for their MUTUAL neighbors than actually having the conversation about Unsafe Dams in the Fairport community. Mike's message moved the conversation from clearing dams for SAFETY reasons to making sure they are clear to comply with the LAW, per our country's Dam Safety Programs.

You see Ms. Agte doesn't really believe there is any safety issue with these aging, tree INFESTED embankment dams... the worst "invasive" plant species that an Earthen Dam could ever see. From a casual observation it appears the STCC had no defense against Dam Safety Laws being broken so the best plan was to complain to Nextdoor and have more "evidence" against allowing Trees to live on Dams simply removed.

She claimed that Nextdoor is "not" about this sort of topic...  safety of residents for those Nextdoor Neighborhood.

She was wrong also wrong about that... go read their mission statement.



Folks, go and read what Mike has had to combat in the Town of Perinton, Village of Fairport.. the hotbed of STCC activity

https://ecna.createaforum.com/the-stop-the-clearcut-argument/stcc-unhappy-with-fairport-nextdoor-post-regarding-national-dam-safety-laws/

For those in Perinton, Pittsford, Brighton, Fairport...and everyone else who is having a hard time imaging there are DAMS along the Erie Canal

Please, just look at the pictures and stop being so foolish with your own safety and that of your family







Doug K

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So the ECNA is not accused of making "false statements" about the STCC remarks on Nextdoor, here is Ms. Agte's post on her own webpage, trying to explain why Mike's original posting was "all wrong" for Nextdoor.



What's truly amazing is that somehow in her "passion" to insure Mr. Caswell's message about Village Leadership "shirking" on their responsibility would never see the light of day,  Ms. Agte actually accomplished something that Mike would have preferred, but could not do himself...he's not allowed to join the Stop the Canal ClearCut group.

Ms. Agte actually put that Nextdoor post up on the Stop the Canal ClearCut website where it would do the MOST good in educating those who need it most... and I want to personally thank her for doing that... from the Erie Canal Neighbor's Association.


« Last Edit: April 08, 2019, 08:42:25 am by Doug K »

Michael Caswell

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Pittsford Mayor & Supervisor still don't get it.
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2020, 05:32:47 am »
Here's the latest from the STCC web page.

It seems Maier and Agte are still battling along with the mayor and town supervisor.

Elizabeth R. Agte
posted 12 feb

Virginia Borden Maier and I had a very informative meeting with Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith and Pittsford Village Mayor Robert Corby. We all agree that NYPA has no business being in charge of the Canal Corporation, and that the Reimagine the Canal projects are smoke and mirrors. We keep circling back to why the governor is willing to spend $300 million on projects no one wants, and donít honor the historic value of the canal. Why would the state build new infrastructure when itís done a bad job of maintaining what we have? As we have said so many times in the past, and as the mayor said today, we have a 524 mile park that needs to be nurtured, not torn apart, or segmented and drained.
Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature


What amazes me is that they think no one wants this project to succeed, but they are SO wrong. The more people I talk to, the more I realize the message is getting out. Folks are liking the Re-imagine project and do understand why the canal corp is clearing these dangerous embankments.

What is it that these two men don't understand? Is it that they can't read the documents put out by FEMA, ASDSO and USACE?

I can understand a group of environmental "wannabees", with no technical expertise on this crusade, but these two community leaders joining in, that baffles me.

Are they not concerned about how these unsafe Canal Embankments may affect the people they are supposed to serve in their community?

Are they not concerned that the Towns People they represent may be required to get Flood Insurance if they live near or below these dams?

Are they not worried that "denying safety" doesn't resolve the FACT that Canal Embankments in their community are classified as Hazardous?

Ah well!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2020, 02:03:39 pm by Doug K »

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I've included the post from Facebook, just so folks will not think the ECNA is "reading" more into this post than what's there.



Not sure where to start but to say that once again the minority speaks and believes THEY have the answer... when they don't even understand the issues.

Complex issues, like NYS Canal System Safety, are solved by asking many questions and also understanding what's NOT being stated, and for what reasons. This group, it's leaders, and all who subscribe to this rhetoric of safety denial, simply don't care about their communities, for what reason, we don't know.

Once again what you hear is simple in their post... The STCC doesn't like the message, or the messenger, and it seems they have Pittsford Leaders agreeing

This fact has become rather obvious as times goes on...

Case in Point... Unsafe Earthen Embankment Dams.

Having unsafe earthen embankments in our communities is NOT a good thing, and it's not something people can simply "ignore" because they don't want to talk about them or because they don't like the answer on what makes them safe again. That is what this Facebook group and it's Leaders have done, and now they want to convince town & village leaders in Pittsford to do the same.

This group must not think that the safety of residents in these towns matters much, most likely because they live above the flood zones.

They also must not believe that homeowners, who's properties border the canal, have a right to peace of mind knowing their "neighbor's property" next door, won't flood them.

They must not care that people living below unsafe embankments, and in the Flood Hazard Zones those dams create, may be burdened with Flood Insurance premiums to insure they are compensated in the event of a canal breach.

In fact this group still doesn't want to discuss public safety at all, mainly because it puts the existence of their entire group & cause in jeopardy.

So they pedal their message to any and all who are like them, resistant to change and ignorant of the facts & truth regarding Earthen Dam Safety. And they don't go to their own neighborhoods to do this, they choose instead to go to communities they don't live in but have convinced those Town's Leaders to follow their message "because is best for everyone". It's certainly not better for homeowners who have to disclose an "unsafe canal dam" next to their property if they want to sell it someday.

This "environmental" group is pulling the wool over everyone's eyes, and don't care a bit about any facts but the ones they make up.

The tactics of the Stop the Canal Clear-cut group didn't work in Brockport, or Medina, and it didn't work in Albion either. Those communities each had visits by the STCC group, or it's members, and "opted out" of their message. These west-side communities chose the path of public safety for their canal neighborhoods, over a message to ignore the words "unsafe dams" that the Facebook group has been spreading since it started.

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS:

Has anyone else wondered why these Stop the Canal Change (STCC) Leaders are going two towns over from their own canal community to talk about the canal, when their own town has 11 miles of it passing through?

Has anyone asked why they are coming from Fairport to the Pittsford area to spread their message?

Why aren't they trying to convince their own community leaders about all this "terrible work" from the Canal Corporation? Why are they not talking to their own Mayor & Supervisor about fighting the Reimagine Canals Program or resist getting unsafe canal embankments repaired?

Well that's simple...   Fairport & Perinton have learned that improving PUBLIC SAFETY isn't something you try to argue against. The Fairport Office of Community & Economic Development has already come out in FAVOR of the efforts to Reimagine the Canals as a safer, more profitable business model for NY State. The Village Officials in Fairport understand that unsafe embankments can't be allowed to remain in our communities, those unsafe earthen dams are keeping Erie Canal Neighbors in Perinton & Fairport under the threat of flooding, holding their quaint canal town hostage until the safety issues get repaired.

Go look for yourself, here's Fairport's answer.. Support the Reimagine the Canals work... for the best interest of Fairport.

https://fairportoced.org/ 

https://twitter.com/FairportOCED




Pittsford's residents, both Town & Village, should be VERY alarmed when people come from neighboring towns & villages trying to convince Pittford's Town & Village leaders that the canal is "safe" and that any efforts to improve it are a "bad thing" to do. These residents should be asking the same questions the ECNA has been for almost two years of this group...

What is the Stop the Canal Clearcut's answer to fixing UNSAFE NYS CANAL EMBANKMENTS that are threatening the safety of all Erie Canal Neighbors?

Folks, don't hold your breath waiting for that answer, all you will get is a denial of the truth about NYS Canal Safety, by a group & its leaders that don't want to face facts. If that happened then they would also have to explain to their followers how "blind" they have been to that truth about safety.

The Leaders of the STCC boost about a group 600+ strong.. that's quite a bit of disappointment if the leaders have not been forthright about the most important topic of all when it comes to the Canal... that the waterway & all it's structures are safe for the surrounding public to use.

The Canal Corporation HAS already given us ALL a message, Constructive Notice... The NYS Canal Embankments are UNSAFE, anyone living near it should take heed of the warning.

ERIE CANAL CHANGE
NY State has seen a constant churn of change along the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor for over 200 years. It started in 1818 when the idea of a canal crossing the state first became a reality. That churn continued through 3 expansions of the waterway, with the last one taking place about 100 years ago when the NY Barge Canal was made. Now our generation, in 2020,  is faced with new simple truths about this 200 year old canal system... It's unsafe, falling apart, and losing money... and something needs to change.

We can either change those new truths and fix the canal, or think it's all a farce and listen to a group advocating for NO CHANGES.

Embankments will still be unsafe until the RIGHT choice is made...


Pittsford Residents... this is what change means to your community... this is what the Reimagine the Canals programs wants to bring to your town & village. This is also the same for Fairport... this is what the new owners of the NYS Canal System have in mind to resurrect the canal

https://youtu.be/VAHWJyMVtDc


But this lovely Canal Winterscape might NOT become a reality for Pittsford, if this Facebook Group has anything to say about it. And they are working very hard to convince your Mayor & Supervisor to follow them down this rabbit hole into still more STCC Rhetoric

It's up to you Pittsford... Brighton...

Time to act for the best interests of your communities before the decision is given to others NOT from Pittsford

Go take a look at the Reimagine the Canals effort on our website  https://ecna.us/reimagine/
« Last Edit: February 13, 2020, 02:36:06 pm by Doug K »