Friday, August 01, 2008


I was impressed. The meeting Thursday night at City Hall brought together a group of people who would otherwise never meet. All were well behaved.

The Common Fire occupation of 35 Stuyvesant St was the reason for the gathering, and almost everyone voiced their opinion for or against. It was a good exercise for the community.

Many of the supporters crossed the mighty Hudson, from Tivoli, to describe their experience in their current location. Many of the opposition live within two blocks of the Kingston site. For the most part, the opinions split along those lines.

Robert Senor called the meeting for 6pm; I handed out the 150 meeting fliers and Landi provided the crowd with taxation history and the financial woes of the City of Kingston.

Jeff Golden started the meeting with a slide show about global needs, followed by a narrative on the intent of the group. His experience in home modification better be more natural than his presenting skills, but we got the idea.

Robin Mizerak stepped up to walk us through the historic neighborhood and the financial investment several neighbors made on Stuyvesant when the City left it for dead. Both got applause from half of the partisan crowd.

The microphones went around the room until 8:30, allowing everyone the opportunity to speak to the issue and ask questions. Mike Lefever and Sue Cahill were on-hand to offer the latest legal status of the property. With conflicting legislation, the city defines the project as a rooming house, which is strictly out of zoning allowance. Common Fire, no surprise, disagrees.

Leslie Applebee, of E Chestnut, hit it home when she questioned: “How can you spend $80K on preliminary research on a house since November, and not have spoken to the neighbors?” In addition: “ I feel bad that you’ve spent so much to get this far, but I have bought several homes in the area with an average of $20K each from realtor to closing.”

I would add: Who was your realtor and real estate lawyer? We would like to know, so as not to use them ourselves..

Jeff and company were forced to see the need to pay taxes as well as look for another, more compatible space. Those who know the building personally, asked the group to reconsider the location because of the limited space, lack of parking and troubled sewer history. If they plan on being a show place for public tours, they must realize this will compound the parking/traffic issue.

The driveway, it turns out, is owned by the City of Kingston, the shed at the end of it belongs to the church and the grass along 9W belongs to the state.

I’m sure there was a pow-wow across the river to possibly reconsider the location. Common Fire has commendable ideas, and Kingston would be wise to utilize their expertise on energy efficiency, but you can’t claim to want to better the community when suing the community is your first contact.


Anonymous said...

Mike, There are many agencies, including EMPOWER NY and the winterization program which seem to already be funded with grants and taxpayer monies to provide many of the sevices that were discussed.
I respect their ideals and altruism as well. I think all not for prfits should pay taxes. Period. Including Churches.

The only verified 'not for profit' in my life experience has been the the our Nations working families ...smitty

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for covering this. I did a short blip on my blog, as well.

I wanted to let you know that the most recent poll results and commentary are in over there:

And ask a question that occured to me when I was over on R. Cahill's blog [Copied and pasted]:


Do you know of any program Central Hudson has going on that is sending young guys (our experience) door to door offering some free program if you show them your Central Hudson bill?

This was going on a couple days ago on Pine Grove and Summer - and possibly elsewhere... The guys are wearing really weak-looking hard-hats... And, when asked for ID the guy at our door said something to the effect that the form was his ID...

Just wondering... I'll probably put that Q up on the ward blog, as well...

Maybe they are associated with C.H. - but Bob and I certainly thought it was strange (and did NOT go along with the game plan)...


Anyhoot, check out my poll results if you are so inclined / get a chance! They are fodder for evaluation and thought if nothing else!