CEQ: March 28, 2018 Subcommittee Minutes
Minutes

-DRAFT MINUTES-

 

THESE DRAFT MINUTES HAVE BEEN PREPARED BY STAFF AS A RECORD OF WHAT OCCURRED AT THE MEETING. AT THE NEXT MEETING, COUNCIL MEMBERS WILL REVIEW THESE MINUTES AND MIGHT MAKE CORRECTIONS BEFORE APPROVING THEM. READERS SHOULD RELY ON THE APPROVED VERSION FOR A COMPLETELY ACCURATE RECORD.


Minutes of the meeting of the March 28, 2018 Subcommittee on the New Britain Watershed Environmental Study, held in the Holcombe Room on the fifth floor of 79 Elm Street in Hartford.

 

SUBCOMMITTEE MEMBERS PRESENT: Alicea Charamut, Kip Kolesinskas

ALSO IN ATTENDANCE: Susan Merrow (Council Chair), Janet Brooks (by phone), Alison Hilding (by phone), Karl Wagener (Executive Director), Peter Hearn (Environmental Analyst), Blair Frantz (Intern)

At 8:32 AM, Co-chairs Charamut and Kolesinskas convened the meeting.

Kolesinskas and Charamut agreed that following the outline of discussion points that had been provided by Wagener prior to the meeting would be a good way to proceed.

Beginning with the issue of how to receive public comments, Charamut said that an important matter to resolve is the extent of collaboration with the Water Planning Council (WPC), which also has responsibilities for commenting on the proposal and for receiving public input. Nicholas Neeley, staff member at the WPC, said, from the audience, that the WPC will meet next week and could consider using its May meeting as a joint forum for public comment. Brooks made the point that in a public hearing, all comments received must be considered but it is not required that each individual submission be responded to separately.

She said, with regard to a site visit, it cannot be conducted as a public hearing and, consequently, silence must be observed by the participants with regard to the merits of the proposal and its potential impacts.

Wagener said that the report had been posted on the City of New Britain’s website and that a link to the report can be put on the Council’s website for public review. After discussion about the proper timing and venue for public comment, it was decided that the Council will receive written comments from the public prior to preparing the subcommittee’s analysis of the report, and anyone who wishes to attend the April Council meeting to make comments will be welcome to do so.

Gail Lucchina of the Water Planning Council staff said the WPC also wishes to visit the site. Kolesinskas expressed concern about a large number of participants on the site at this time of year, which is crucial for many bird species that are setting up nests and mating and egg laying for amphibians and reptiles. Wagener said members of the subcommittee can attend as participants on the WPC visit and there is no need to hold a separate visit. Mr. Neeley said he will be happy to coordinate with the CEQ on this matter.

The question of format for comments was raised next. Kolesinskas said he has made notes about the report. Wagener said they could be merged with notes that staff had kept when reviewing the report. Charamut said hers were on a spread sheet. Wagener said that the May 23 Council meeting is the deadline by which the Council must approve its comments on the report. The field visit impressions, staff comments and public comments all must be sent to the subcommittee well in advance to produce a draft for consideration.

Having all comments from council members by April 10 would allow for their consideration by the April 25 Council meeting and the subcommittee meeting prior to that meeting. Mr. Neeley reminded the meeting that PA 16-61 requires the posting of a summary of all comments received. Hilding said that people submitting comments should be made aware that their comments are available for public review. Wagener said that language to that effect exists on other state websites and can be adapted for the Council’s site. Wagener said that Mr. Paul Zagorsky had sent the Council a letter with a reminder that the report was to include all underlying data. Wagener asked if the subcommittee wished to have the full schedule of deadlines sent to the whole Council; both co-chairs agreed. It was also agreed that the next subcommittee meeting should be in mid-April.

There was a brief discussion of members' and staff's initial impressions of the report. Kolesinskas said he had reservations about the attention paid to alternatives that might be environmentally preferable. Wagener noted that the required content is different from an environmental impact evaluation under the Connecticut Environmental Policy Act, and that there is no draft and final versions; this report is the report. Charamut said that anyone reading only the Executive Summary would not be aware of any negative consequences.

There being no further business, Charamut made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Kolesinskas, at 9:20.



Content Last Modified on 3/29/2018 5:01:11 PM