Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy of NJ, Inc.
P. O. BOX 6217
Hoboken, NJ 0703
Mr. Lawrence Baier
Bureau of Coastal Land Use
Compliance and Enforcement
NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection
Mail Code 401-04C
401 East State Street
PO Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420
November 16, 2015
Re: Proposed Settlement - IMO Lookout Associates, 1275 River Road Associates and Fred Daibes
Dear Mr. Baier
We are writing to provide the comments of the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy (The Conservancy) related to the proposed settlement between the NJDEP and IMO Lookout Associates, 1275 River Road Associates and Fred Daibes (Respondents). NEA 150001-0213-02-003.2.
The proposed Settlement was published in the DEP Bulletin on Oct 21, 2015.
The Conservancy is concerned and disturbed that after multiple years of gross violations of the NJ law and regulations, Respondents appear to be escaping with a minimal fine and an extended time line to comply with the law and the proposed settlement.
The comments from the Conservancy include:
The 120 day period for submittal of a complete design proposal to NJDEP should be shortened to 60 days. Based on the Conservancy’s experience with similar waterfront projects, the design scope of work is relatively straight forward and limited in scope and could readily be completed in 60 days.
The settlement refers to an “attached Site Plan”. No plan has been provided with the agreement.
Approval of the design proposal by the DEP should mean the proposal complies with ALL DEP policies not just “the enforceable policies”. Is there a list or chart of policies of the DEP that are not “enforceable”?
If an application is rejected or deemed deficient by the TRC, the penalties referred to in Paragraph 36 should apply until the submittal date of a version of an application which is not rejected or deemed deficient. Submitting an incomplete or deficient application should not terminate the penalties.
The 60 day period for preparation and filing of the appropriate instrument conveying the easement should be shortened to 30 days. The legal work to prepare the easement with diligent client review could be completed in one week. Thirty days would be more than adequate. This is vital as the Conservancy and the DEP has other cases where the Developer failed to complete the Easement and/or record it properly.
Respondent should be required to submit all applications required for all Federal, State and local approvals within 30 days of receiving TRC's approval. Furthermore, if an application is rejected or deemed deficient by the respective Federal, State or local agency, the penalties referred to in Paragraph 36 shall apply until the submittal date of a version of an application which is not rejected or deemed deficient. Almost all of the design and testing work will be completed as part of the BCLUCE design proposal. Consequently, the final engineering and legal work on any remaining applications can be completed within 30 days.
The concept of 'timely' should not be open ended. Other than information requiring for testing or detailed engineering drawings, timeliness should be deemed to be 10 days.
The penalties set forth in Section 36 should apply to failure to provide timely information.
The Credit of $418,941 for building the Walkway should not be credited to the Respondent until the Walkway is completed. This is especially important as the Respondent has consistently delayed or ignored compliance with DEP directives since 2011.
The Supplemental Environmental Project implies that the Respondent can gain additional credits by funding off-site projects. Please confirm that these projects will be limited to the construction and repair of the Walkway and will comply with all the permitting and compliance regulations of the DEP.
The Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy should receive copies of all applications and communications by and from Respondent.
NJDEP should have the right to assign some or all of the NJDEP's rights to enforce the provisions of Paragraph 32 and 36 to HRWC.
While the Conservancy looks forward to construction and completion of the subject segment of the Walkway, we remain concerned that the prior behavior of the Respondent in this matter will continue. The settlement needs to contain strong incentives and penalties and diligent oversight of the project to ensure prompt compliance by the Respondent.
Donald E. Stitzenberg
Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy