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South County Sewer Corporation (Sterling Forest) - Ruling 2, June 30, 1995

Ruling 2, June 30, 1995

STATE OF NEW YORK : DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

In the Matter of the Application for
State Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System (SPDES) permits pursuant to
Environmental Conservation Law of the
State of New York (ECL) Article 17
and Title 6 of the Official Compilation
of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the
State of New York (6 NYCRR) Parts 750
et seq. as part of a planned community
development on a 17,505 acre site located
within the Towns of Monroe, Tuxedo and
Warwick in Orange County, by

RULING CONCERNING
ADDITIONAL
LEGISLATIVE HEARING
SESSIONS

DEC APPLICATION Nos.
3-3350-00049/00001-0
3-3350-00027/00001-0

SOUTH COUNTY SEWER CORPORATION
PO Box 803
Tuxedo, New York 10987

STERLING FOREST

Summary

Additional legislative hearing sessions will not be scheduled to receive comments about the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS). The attached Notice of Extension of Public Comment Period extends the public comment period from June 30, 1995 to July 26, 1995, and will appear in the Department's Environmental Notice Bulletin on July 12, 1995. The Applicant shall confirm the availability of the DGEIS at each location listed in the Combined Notice.

Additional Hearing Sessions and Extension of the Comment Period

On April 7, 1995, the Office of Hearings issued a Combined Notice of Completion of Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement, Complete Application, and Public Hearing (the Combined Notice) for the captioned matter. The Applicant published the Combined Notice in The Advertiser Photo News, The Warwick Valley Dispatch and the Times Herald Record on April 12, 1995. The Combined Notice appeared in the ENB on April 19, 1995. In addition, the Region 3 Department Staff sent copies of the notice to interested individuals including County and local officials.

The Combined Notice identified the time and place of four legislative hearing sessions: June 13, 1995 at 7:00 P.M. in the Town of Tuxedo, June 15, 1995 at 2:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. in the Town of Warwick, and June 20, 1995 at 7:00 P.M. in the Town of Monroe.

Over 800 people attended the four legislative hearing sessions. They included Congressional representatives, representatives from New Jersey and New York State governments, elected officials from Orange County and the affected towns, local residents, as well as residents from northern New Jersey and the New York City metropolitan area. A total of 118 people spoke. Many individuals filed lengthy comments about the DGEIS with me during the hearing sessions while others mailed comments to the Region 3 Office.

At the legislative hearing session on June 20, 1995 in the Town of Monroe, 49 individuals could not be heard because the session could not continue after 11:30 P.M. Many people requested that I schedule at least one additional legislative hearing session to give those who could not speak, an opportunity to do so. Others requested that any additional legislative hearing session(s) should be after the Labor Day Holiday, since many people would be on vacation during the summer months. Residents from New Jersey asked for a hearing in New Jersey. Residents from New York City asked for a hearing in New York City. Finally, others asked for an extension of the comment period past June 30, 1995.

At the hearing, I agreed to consider these requests. I also agreed to inform the remaining 49 people about whether there would be another legislative hearing session.

Since June 20, 1995, I have received several letters and phone calls from individuals and groups requesting additional legislative hearing sessions and an extension of the comment period.

Because written and oral comments are weighed equally, the Department Staff has proposed that the individuals who requested an opportunity to speak, but could not, be given additional time to file their comments about the DGEIS in writing.

The Applicant does not object to providing additional time for filing written comments to those who could not speak at the public hearing.

The Proposal is located within the Towns of Monroe, Tuxedo and Warwick, Orange County. Consequently, legislative hearing sessions were held in each of the Towns [624.3(b)(2)].

The purpose of the Notice announcing the availability of the DGEIS is to provide for the public review of the application materials and the draft SEQR documents concerning a particular project. The applicable statute and implementing regulations then provide two avenues for the public to provide the Department with information. These are written comments submitted to the Department Staff, and oral comments made at the legislative hearing. Written and oral comments are weighed equally. Therefore, an individual who cannot speak at a legislative hearing, because that person is unable to attend the hearing or there is not enough time to hear all individuals, is not prevented from participating in the public review process.

Based on the information before me, additional legislative hearing sessions will not be scheduled to receive comments about the DGEIS. However, there is a need to extend the period for submitting written comments. Consequently, I hereby extend the comment period to July 26, 1995. Notice of the extended comment period will be published in the ENB on July 12, 1995.

________________________
Daniel P. O'Connell
Administrative Law Judge

Dated: Albany, New York
June 30, 1995

To: Attached Distribution List

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