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Lyman Terrace Comment Response

Lyman Terrace Comment Response

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Published by Rebecca Lisi

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Published by: Rebecca Lisi on Mar 29, 2012
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ResponsetoPublicCommentsEnvironmentalReviewRecordLymanTerraceDemolitionlDispositionHolyokeHousingAuthorityHolyokeMAMarch28,2012Summary
TheEnvironmentalReviewRecordforthedemolitionanddispositionofLymanTerraceHousingComplex,HolyokeMAhasbeencompletedinaccordancewith24CFRPart58.
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Pursuantto§58.43(c),theCityofHolyokeherebyrespondstopubliccommentsreceivedinresponsetothe
NoticeofFindingofNoSignificantImpact/NoticeofIntenttoRequestApprovalofPropertyDemolitionandDisposition(FONSIINOI)
issuedfortheEnvironmentalReviewRecord(ERR)forthedemolition/dispositionoftheLymanTerraceHousingComplex,HolyokeMA.TheREhaspreparedarevisedversionoftheEnvironmentalAssessmentwhichaddressessubmittedpubliccommentsincludingreclassificationofsomeimpactlevels,clearidentificationofdataandsourcesreliedon,anddetailedstatementsofthereasoningforitsassessment.TheCityofHolyokeOfficeforCommunityDevelopment(OCD)preparedtheERRastheResponsibleEntity(RE)asdefinedby§58.2(a)(7).TheHolyokeHousingAuthorityistheRecipient,asdefinedby§58.2(a)(5),offederalfunds.TheLymanTerracesiteisanoccupiedfederalizedpubliccomplexwhichhasbeentherecipientofHUDfundsandinspectionsfordecades.Thisisimportanttonotebecausetheproposedprojectisdemolitionanddispositionoftheproperty-notnewconstruction,acquisition,orsubstantialrehabilitation.TheEnvironmentalReviewRecord'isdocumentationofanobjectiveinformationgatheringprocessfromanumberofknowledgeablesourcesincludingfederal,stateandlocalagenciesandreputableenvironmentalfirms.InformationforthisERRwasgatheredfromon-linegovernmentagencymappingsourcesandconsultationwithsubjectmattersexperts.Oncetherequiredinformationwascompiled,theREreviewedittodeterminewhetheritrevealedsite,environmentalorotherfactors'whichwouldtriggeradditionalreviewviaanEnvironmentalImpactStatement(EIS).4TheREdeterminedthatthegatheredinformationdidnotrevealsite,environmentalorotherfactorsthatwouldeither
(1)
prohibitfederalfundsfrombeingutilizedforthisprojectoratthissiteastheresultofacomplianceactionor(2)requirethepreparationofanEIS.TheRErecognizesthatthewords
"NoSignificantImpact"
and
"humanenvironment"
maybealarmingorevenoffensivetosomepeople;however,bothphrasesarelegaltermsoriginatingfromtheNationalEnvironmentalPolicyActanddefinedat40CFR1508.13and40CFR1508.14
5,
respectively,andincorporatedbystatuteintotheenvironmentalreviewprocess(24CFR58.4).TheREacknowledgescommunitysentimentinoppositiontothedemolitionofLymanTerrace.ThisERRgeneratedunprecedenteddialogueaboutthefutureofthehousingcomplexandinteractionbetweenlocalgovernmentandthecommunity.However,itistheRE'sresponsibilitytocompletetheEnvironmentalReviewRecordtothebestofitsabilitiesandtosubmitittoHUDasonestepinthemultistepprocessrequiredbyHUDfordemolition/dispositionofapublichousingcomplex."CompletionoftheERRandHUD'sreleaseoftheenvironmentalgrantconditiondoesnotcompeltheHousingAuthoritytomoveforwardwithdemolition/dispositionanddoesnotsupplantotherfederal,stateandlocallawslikerelocationplanningortenants'rights.TheREconfirmsthataftercarefulconsiderationofallpubliccomments,thefindingremains
NoSignificantImpact.
Thisfindingisbaseduponthefactthatcompliancefactorsin24CFRPart58havebeenmetandthatthescaleoftheprojectdoesnotrisetothelevelofanEnvironmentalImpactStatement.
1
 
ResponsetoPublicCommentsTheEnvironmentalReviewRecordwasmadeavailableforpublicviewingintheOfficeforCommunityDevelopmentandattheadministrativeofficeoftheHolyokeHousingAuthority.Asign-inlistwaskeptforpublicreviewoftheEnvironmentalReviewRecordatOCD.7TheOfficeforCommunityDevelopmentislocatedonthefourthfloorofCityHallAnnexandishandicappedaccessiblebyelevatorfromthegroundlevel(nostairs).Infact,theCityofHolyokeRetirementBoard,whichhasanumberofdisabled/infirmvisitors,islocatedonthesecondflooroftheAnnex.Onecommenternoteddifficultyinnavigatingastairwelltoaccesstheelevator,"PubliccommentsweresubmittedtotheOfficeforCommunityDevelopmentviaemail,fax,firstclassmailandhanddelivery.OnlycommentsreceivedbytheOfficeforCommunityDevelopmentandtheHolyokeHousingAuthorityarerespondedtoherein.IntheFONSIINOI,itwassuggestedthatcommentersconfirmreceiptoftheircommentswithOCD.Nocommenterscalledtoconfirmreceiptoftheircomments.AtotaloffortysevenpeoplesubmittedfiftypubliccommentstotheOfficeforCommunityDevelopment."SixteencommentswerereceivedfromLymanTerraceresidents.ThreeCityCouncilorssubmittedcomments.Threecommenterswroteinexplicitsupportofdemolition.CommentswerereceivedfromresidentsofHolyoke,Chicopee,Springfield,Amherst,andWorthington.Manycommentersdidnotprovidetheirmailingaddresses.ALymanTerraceresidentvisitedtheOCDofficeregardinghisre-housingconcernsandwasprovidedwithEnglish-SpanishtranslationservicebyNilkaOrtiz,MayoralAideduringhismeetingwithOCDstaff.WiththeassistanceofMs.Ortizprovidingtranslationanddictationservice,hesubmittedawrittenstatement.SeveralcommenterssubmittedtheirpubliccommentsinSpanish.EnglishtranslationofthosecommentswasprovidedbyNilkaOrtiz,MayoralAideandtheEnglishversionisattachedtotheoriginalsubmittal.NumerousfieldobservationsweremadesinceFall2011inthedevelopmentoftheERR.REstaffresponsibleforthepreparationoftheERRhaveacombined35+yearsofprofessionalplanning,communitydevelopment,andenvironmentalpermittingexperienceintheCityofHolyoke.LymanTerraceiswithinwalkingdistanceoftheRE'sofficeandisvisiblefromtheRE'sofficewindowsonthefourthfloorofCityHallAnnex.BothpreparersareintimatelyfamiliarwithdowntownHolyokeandthesurroundingsofLymanTerrace.EachpubliccommentwasreviewedfortopicsrelatedtotheEnvironmentalReviewincompliancewith§58.75bythreeREstaffmembersincludingtheAdministrator,DeputyAdministratorandOfficeManagertoensurethatcommentswereadequatelycapturedandaddressedinthisresponse.Publiccommentsweregenerallyrelatedtofourthemes-
historicalsignificance,displacement/relocation,properpublication/notificationandfuturedevelopment/useofsite.
Aresponsetoeachthemeisprovidedherein.
1.
HistoricalSignificancePubliccommentexcerpts:"Historical,sociallyvibranthousingunits""LymanTerraceishistorical""LymanTerraceishistoricandshouldbepreserved.""Oldestprojectsinthecountry.""UrgetheHolyokeHistoricalCommissiontofindLymanTerraceofhistoricalsignificance""WouldlikeforERRtomakearevisionaboutLymanTerracethatwillbefairbecausetheseprojectsare72yearsold""LymanTerracehashistoricalsignificance""Historicallandmark""Oneoftheoldestpublichousingdevelopmentsinthenation""Deephistoricalsignificance"
2
 
REResponse:IncompliancewithSection106,theMAStateHistoricPreservationOfficer(MASHPO)attheMassachusettsHistoricalCommission(MHC)wasconsultedandrespondedonDecember28,2011that
"ithasbeendeterminedthatthisprojectisunlikelytoaffectsignificanthistoricorarcheologicalresources".
10
TheRE,nottheHHA,providedMHCwithastandardpacketofobjectiveinformationrequiredbyMHCforprojectreviews.Thisincludedanexplanatorycoverletter,photographs,sitemaps,projectaddressesandtheMHCProjectNotificationForm.MaterialssubmittedtoMHCdidnotetwofactorsraisedbycommenters-thefactthatLymanTerracewasbuiltin1938(andisthereforeover50yrs.old)andthatLymanTerracewasthefirstpublichousingsiteinHolyoke.
ll
MHCdidnotrequestadditionalinformation,although,bytheirowncomplianceguidance,couldhave."TheHolyokeHistoricalCommission(HHC)wasprovidedwiththreeopportunitiestocomment.OnDecember9,2011,theHHCreceivedacopyoftheMHCpacketbycertifiedmailwhichwassignedforbyHHCChairmanOliviaMausel.HHCmetwiththeHolyokeHousingAuthorityinapublicmeetingonJanuary4,2012todiscusstheproject.OnFebruary17,2012,HHCreceivedthe
FindingofNoSignificantImpactandRequestforReleaseofFundsNotice
viacertifiedmailsignedforbyWistariahurstMuseumstaff.OnMarch12,2012,theHHCsubmittedalettertoMayorMorseandtheCityCouncil."TheHHCletterdidnotprovideinformationcontrarytoMHCfindingsnordiditprovidesubstantivehistoricalinformation.TheREprovidedHUDEnvironmentalReviewProcesstrainingtotheHHCinOctober2010andtheHHChascommentedonotherHUDenvironmentalreviews.HHC'sownBylawsindicatethatthey"willcooperatewithandadvise....theOfficeCommunityDevelopment.
,,14
TwocommentersnotedthatLymanTerraceisnothistoricallysignificant.TheREassertsthattheERRisinfullcompliancewithSection106and24CFRPart58forreviewofhistoricandarcheologicalresources.2.DisplacementandRelocationPlanPublicCommentExcerpts:REResponse:"RelocationPlanstatesthattherewouldbenoadditionalSection8voucherstohelprelocatedisplacedresidents.""Displacement.""Decreasesneighborhoodaccessibilitytothepoor.""Additionalstudiesonhowresidentswillbehoused.""Noclearplantoreplaceit.""Relocationplaniscompletelyinadequate.""Notenoughvouchersfortenants.""Neighborhoodgentrification.""Importantresourcetolow-incomeindividuals""Thefailuretoacknowledgethismixedeffect(displacement)meansnoplanninghasgoneintohowtomitigatenegatives""Havenotreceivedalotoforientation(Section8)""Planhasnotgivenusenoughtimeoroptions""Wehaven'thadameetingtotellustheywerethinkingofdemolishining(sic)thesebuildings""TheCityofHolyoke...offerfairandaffordablehousingtoallitsresidents"DisplacementoftenantsisacknowledgedintheEnvironmentalReviewRecordontheEnvironmentalAssessmentChecklist.
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