Posted by & filed under EPA Updates, General Meetings.

Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group Meeting
Tuesday December 9, 2014
41 1st St. Brooklyn NY 11231, Mary Star of the Sea, Community Room



Doug and Pat will return as CAG facilitators in January. Natalie Loney, EPA Region 2 Community Involvement Coordinator, will facilitate the December Meeting.


EPA Update from Natalie Loney:

There is an upcoming Dec 17th meeting with NYC DEP to discuss the technical details of the location and construction of storm water retention tanks; it is the EPAs hope that this conversation remains ongoing


  • Last Thursday Councilmember Steve Levin requested to talk to constituents about the Double D Pool; EPA honored this
  • Levin, Councilmember Brad Lander, Assemblywoman-elect Jo Anne Simon, Daniel Wiley of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s office, and community members had a conversation regarding the Double D pool and siting of retention tanks
  • Upshot of the meeting is that if the pool site is selected, EPA will make efforts to provide temporary facilities


Long Term Control Plan

Basically what EPA’s position is with regard to NYC Long Term Control Plan:

  • Any components of the plan that tie into the elements of the remedy, and all design components will be in support of the remedy that is taking place in the canal. Remedy is the driving force rather than the Long Term Control Plan



CAG Member: what are the details form the meeting?

Sabine Aronowsky (CAG Member): 60 million gallon mistake made by the City wrt one of the outfalls, 120 mil said, 180 mil actual. Concerned about how this might fit in with EPA plans

Natalie Loney: Communication with city is open, and the remedy will be protected, and as we move forward, so this needs to be effective throughout time, and engineering controls to handle outfalls, and engineering considerations will be made. The FIRST FLUSH is a big deal also, and these captures are going to occur with the initial ‘flush’ of water from runoff that contains the greatest levels of hazardous materials

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): How did this mistake occur?

Sabine Aronowsky (CAG Member): They went through and looked at the average and admitted it was wrong

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): What if this occurs elsewhere?

Eymund Diegel (CAG Member): There have always been vague answers/calculations, and have had curious math involved to create numbers that are what the ‘community’ will accept, and there were politics in the numbers. For this reason, there needs to be a control on these umbers and we need metered flows

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): So should we push for Flow Meters?

Natalie Loney: EPA will be pushing for the numbers to make sense, because this remedy needs to be able to last, and so if the numbers are wrong now the remedy needs to be protected

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): I think we want to deal with real numbers?

CAG Member: What is the goal? A goal in reduction of gallons etc?

Natalie Loney: The remedy has a % as a goal for the reduction of CSO, and so does the long term plan (probably)

Eymund Diegel (CAG Member): 3rd avenue storm sewer: High Level Storm Sewer

Will the EPA talk to the DEP about how they will mitigate the First Flush that will come in at the Carroll st bridge? What are the MS4 mitigations to bring the 300appx gallons, and what is the EPA going to do to enforce the standards for the remedy and clean water act?

Natalie Loney: Kristos has asked for the design plans for sponge park, Lightstone, and this sewer? And these may be the prototypes moving forward that can be used at street ends. EPA is expecting the City to provide information to evaluate.


CAG Discussion on Bridging Gowanus

Open floor for conversation


CAG Member: I noticed in the bridging Gowanus document available online that Brad Lander states he wants the CAG’s involvement


We need:

  • Presentation to the CAG (what it is and what it means)
  • Need him to extend the comment period to allow for our input, and to allow for the CAG to hear from Brad (60-Day extension)
  • Brad needs to include three resolutions in the document: water quality, historic preservation, and no recontamination


MOTION to vote on if we should do this: SECONDED

Agenda item for the 27th, to invite Brad Lander


CAG Votes on including on having resolutions be included in the Bridging Gowanus Framework (14 in favor, no opposed) MOTION PASSES


Need extended comment period. Rationale for extending the comment period is to allow for Brad to come here and do the presentation, and any additional comments (beyond the inclusion of 3 CAG resolutions) can be added with the extended comment period


Rita Miller (CAG Member/ Admin Committee)

  • Will call, email, send letterhead
  • CC to all other politicians involved as well, also CC Doug and Patrick
  • Post to the internet




Two meetings

How to handle situation with outreach/comments made in summary/draft summary


In committee notes/summaries

  • When non-committee members feel they have been misrepresented in notes, they can have an opportunity to clarify their notes, and this can be added as a footnote in the coming general meeting.
  • Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): by the charter every committee makes its own internal rules
  • Admin committee: This is only a recommendation


Better self-facilitation

  • From the beginning it was decided there would be a non-hierarchal structure, but this has issues with self-reliance
  • Facilitation committee idea brought forward
  • Each committee chooses a person to lead the committee, and is in charge of meetings/notes/turn taking for general meeting facilitation later on


Fine New-Member Applicants, none of whom were able to attend tonight

  • Two applicants are at other meetings
  • Two applicants are in motorized wheelchairs and are worried about water damage (raining)
  • Others are unable to attend


Sabine Aronowsky (CAG Member): Asks for a motion to allow for these to be considered in January rather than resubmitting their applications due to weather and scheduling issues

Linda Mariano (CAG Member): Seconds this, 5 folks who want to join

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): if they can show up so we can meet them and hear them and approve of them. Anyone who doesn’t come in Jan would need to resubmit

Sabine Aronowsky (CAG Member): Additionally there is a 6th application but some confusion about receipt of application, or actual submission, Admin has not gotten it.

Natalie Loney: What is the usual process with this?

Rita Miller (CAG Member): After the next meeting gets scheduled, an email goes out, and then outreach can get to the information to the applicants


2nd Meeting of Admin Committee

Discussed current membership status

  • Several resignations
  • Josh Skaller, Nathan Elbogen, Ray Howell, Mike, Rich Kampf and Anthony Dean all resigned
  • This brings membership to 31 orgs and 23 at large. 54 full
  • 1**Members that have not responded to our last check, not attended during a period July 2013- October 2014
  • If we cut these folks we get to 47, instead of 59
  • 2**Responded affirmatively to a status check but have attended poorly (fewer than 5) and have attended fewer than 5 meetings (of 13) not in this period
  • Outreach took this list and reached out to folks, some of whom are here.
  • Mixed responses: affirmatives or no response


Admin Committee Recommendations For Non-Responsive Members

  • Recommendation to remove non-responsive members and invite them to re-apply
  • This opens up some membership spots for new members-at-large and organizations
  • There is some concern that methods used to engage with the non-responsive members have been ineffective
    • Emails not sent/received etc.
  • Discussion regarding meeting times, alternates, and locations


Non response: be removed and told they need to reapply

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): If someone has not shown up for meetings in 1.5 years, they should be dropped bc it impacts quorum when we need to vote

Sabine Aronowsky (CAG Member): what about folks who have expressed interest or are interested but do not have availability on Tuesday? What do we do?

Eymund Diegel (CAG Member): The purpose of the CAG is outreach so anyone who wants to be a nonvoting member should be on our mailing list

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): If folks who want to come to meetings and participate that’s great, if we want them to have information also great. people who can come to meetings and vote should be members

Rita Miller (CAG Member): What do we do with these people?

Sean Dixon (CAG Member): Was there a discussion of alternating Tuesdays/Wednesdays? To allow for ppl to come?

Natalie Loney: So are you recommending we shift the meetings?

CAG Member: in the beginning of this we did that and the majority of ppl had availability

Daniel Wiley: Maybe its not such a hard and fast thing, since this is a second Tuesday of the month- and lots of people are here. With a regular variation you can catch people who are unable to attend on that 4th Tuesday

Linda LaViolette (CAG Member): While General Meetings are hard, I try coming to committee meetings and other events in a way that is effective and helpful

Diane Buxbaum (CAG Member): I think that having a regular night of the month when people know when it is, and when they sign up they know what to expect

Victoria Hagman (CAG Member): Huge effort to be here as much as possible, but there are other obligations and meetings/things to deal with and to be asked to resign as a result is unfair and backhanded

Stefan Doerring (CAG Member): Duly noted about passion and I’ve been here for years, but the bottom line is can the CAG function with these absentees

EricMcClure (CAG Member):Can we vote on the people who have disappeared and not responded and clear them out, and can we deal with other folks down the road

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): Agree with Eric and Stefan. Added caveat: just bc you aren’t a member of the CAG doesn’t mean that you are not able to participate; you can still come to meetings and committee members, you just cannot vote, but all of the members of the public

Linda Laviolette: Some folks are here representing Orgs and some are here for the community. Should we consider meeting 6 times a year instead of 12 times a year? And have we had any meetings when we cannot vote because we have no quorum,

Natalie Loney: A couple of things on the table:

  • Voting to remove non-responding members
  • What does being or not being a voting member mean because quorum is based on total voting membership
  • Allowing for non-responding members to get a warning

*these folks have been notified a couple of times, including being told about


MOVE to Motion has been seconded

One of these members (Beth Bingham) in question is here, and notes she has responded about her attendance two months ago, but this was not received

Eric McClure (CAG Member): Can we agree that people get auto reinstated if they want to?

Katia Kelly (CAG Member): Community board 6 will vote you off if you don’t come to a regular number of meetings. First of all answering emails to discuss why you cannot attend, but complete non-response is an indicator of disinterest. Is there a way to have in between membership, where your membership is temporarily suspended so that you don’t get voted off but that you don’t count towards Quorum so that we can have votes happen.

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): We would need to amend the charter.

Sabine Aronowsky (CAG Member): I think we should look at organizational members differently than at large members. There should be some direct outreach to the organization to see if there has been a proxy

Maria Pagano (CAG Member): If looking for a way of doing it, there are groups that have an “excused” or “absent”- these are procedural things

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member):  Again we are going to have to amend the charter

Rita Miller (CAG Member): Requires a lot of input

CAG Member: Can at-large members have an alternate?

A: No alternate for AT LARGE

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): We should talk about that,

CAG Member: I think that would be an incredible way to revise the charter.

Natalie Loney:

We have short-term issue

  • What do we do with these members right now?

Long-term issue

  • What do we do about long-term attendance moving forward? Procedural issues


Ed Tyree (CAG Member): Email is faulty. I had to find out about these meetings via a phone call. I think its important to remember that other meetings are about helping the community, rules are important but you need to think about being flexible with these rules and considering the human factor. need to consider how members are doing things FOR the community, and that needs to be considered otherwise what does any of this mean? Children, family, other obligations are important

Michele de la Uz (CAG Member): (pass)

Rita Miller (CAG Member): Where these emails are, I never heard from them- organizations have an advantage having an alternate,

CAG Member: Agree with this, and also agree with Ed… if we know that we have a designated stand in that might help with folks being here

Ed Tyree (CAG Member): Information is still going to M. Scott at Gowanus, not the correct TA president.

CAG Member (FROGG alternate): You are trying to hard to please all the people all the time, there is no one night that is perfect for everyone. Folks have their priorities, and now you are talking about folks who have made no effort to be involved.

Stefan Doerring (CAG Member): Reiterates that its important to create a functioning CAG

Natalie Loney: What do you want to do tonight?

  • Do we want to vote to remove the five or so members who have been identified as non-responding and non-participating?


Move to Vote to remove these, and invite them to reapply, seconded

  • The Six Names: Christine Gaspar, Ludger Balan, Chandru Murthi, Emily Geyer, Ken (?), (?)
  • Voting to remove: 13
  • Opposed: 4
  • Abstention: 4
  • Six individuals will be notified of their removal and invited to reapply
  • ADMIN committee will do this
  • Current membership now at: 28 organizations, 20 at-large members. 48 TOTAL



Membership is chiefly Gowanus, tiny percentages in Park Slope and Red Hook


Proposals with regard to Facilitation:

  • Recommended to move forward with the Facilitation Committee
  • Propose that two additional At Large members
  • Propose that EPA provide a Facilitator and Note Taker until the design is done
  • Spokespeople: suggested Ariel Krasnow, Lizzie Olesker, and Joseph Alexiou


Natalie Loney:

With regard to Facilitation Committee, no ability to vote on this today

With regard to spokespeople we need to talk to these individuals


Jerry Armer (CAG Member): We should make sure that spokespeople are willing to do the job

Natalie Loney: Post-Jeff Edelstein’s facilitation, we were looking for capacity building and increasing CAG ability to act independently. This conversation will take place over the next 2 CAG meetings.



  • No meetings since last full CAG session,
  • Direct outreach for membership occurred



Meeting at 3rd Ave Hotel

  • Need more members, low attendance at this meeting
  • Contacted John Vetter, no response
  • Committee seems leaderless, and is unsure how it should work
  • NYU sniffing around on the 1st st basin site looking for Indian burial ground site/ revolutionary site
    • Could shed light on if the first revolutionary battle site is in the basin or the street itself



  • Not much for update, Eymund has done some research/mapping with students on local streams that flow into the stormwater.
  • Certain storm drains have clean water flowing into them that go into the CSO overflows, when the cheap solution would be to have direct flows into the canal


Other Business

Discussion of Future of CAG Facilitation and Group Structure

  • There is a clear need for structure and leadership
  • The ability of the CAG to participate in other Canal Related issues will be hampered without some clear guidelines and rules


Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): It’s important to work out a way to function independently, because these folks use up funding

Natalie Loney: A concern that I see with facilitation is that there are many issues not related to the Canal Superfund site, but which the CAG is not able to utilize EPA funding for

Sean Dixon (CAG Member): Outlook on issues that will come up on the next couple of years may not require monthly meetings. Will that be discussed?

Natalie Loney: That is up to you. When CAG was first formed it was made by and for the comm. but CAG might want go in other directions and the EPA wants to make sure that YOUR needs are met, but there are areas we cannot meet those needs (NOT SUPERFUND)

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): As a matter of principle we should be able to walk on our own

Sean Dixon (CAG Member): when will we hear form you about this?

Natalie Loney: I will make sure these conversations get started with Doug before Christmas week

Sabine Aronowsky (CAG Member): Is there an update WRT DEC MGP site plan, we have been told its release is eminent and would its release impact the january meeting agenda

Rita Miller (CAG Member): Brad mentioned that he wanted to work with the CAG on the BG framework. We are inviting him to come to the Jan meeting. We are asking for an extension of comment period. We would like three of our former resolutions included in this framework.

Diane Buxbaum (CAG Member): An extension would be great for other orgs given the holiday timeline

Catherine Zinnel: When things come to my office i respond, assuming that Brad isn’t out of town on the 27th it seems reasonable that he will be here, and just let me know who to contact wrt to making arrangements in Jan.

Louis Kleinman (CAG Member): We should get in the habit of CCing Doug and some other member of the CAG so that person (admin committee) the ability to have information w.o DOUG. It would be good for Electeds to feel they can come to other people besides Electeds

Catherine Zinnel: Its’ a good point when there have been issues, I have been in contact with Individuals who are at the meetings. I need to get put back on the list

Jerry Armer (CAG Member): I think the suggestion made by Lewis is excellent, and so without having someone who fits that category yet, so lets stop wasting time discussing stuff that makes no sense at the moment




ANNOUNCEMENT: Stephen Levin holding 5th annual toy drive, children up to age 12 drop off at 410 Atlantic Ave to Dec 19


Summary of Actions


MOTION to vote on Bridging Gowanus Presentation: SECONDED

Agenda item for the 27th, to invite Brad Lander


CAG Votes on having resolutions be included in the Bridging Gowanus Framework (14 in favor, no opposed) MOTION PASSES


Voting to remove non-responsive members: MOVE to Motion has been seconded


Topics for Future CAG meeting

Continued Strategic Planning

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