The following letter was published in this week’s issue of the Gazette.
To the editor:
Climate change is causing a rise in sea levels. That rise is going to continue for decades to come. Croton is located next to an estuary which is impacted by Atlantic Ocean water levels. Those two facts taken together suggest that we need to start coming up with a plan. But so far, the only near-term actions being taken in Croton are ones which will make matters worse.
In October 2018 Croton, Cortlandt and Buchanan convened a workshop to address the impact of climate change (see my letter in The Gazette, week of June 3/19). At that meeting there was discussion of the projected impact of rising water levels on Croton. In particular there was discussion of Riverside Avenue and Brook Street, including potential buyouts of property and construction of levees in the Hudson River. But our village government has never discussed this with Croton residents—before or since the 2018 workshop. Our Board of Trustees continues to avoid having any discussion of what steps the village will take in light of the floodplain projections.
I realize that dealing with mitigation of the North Riverside and Brook Street floodplain is not as fun as having demonstrations and marches. Instead of demanding action and shifting responsibility on national politicians, it necessitates taking action and making hard choices right here in Croton. So far the only action taken by the Board of Trustees has been to propose rezoning to increase apartment density in the very area which is going to be most impacted by the rising waters. This is the exact opposite of what common sense suggests.
Climate change denial comes in many forms, including people such as our village officials who acknowledge the science but then make a conscious decision to ignore the science.
Croton needs to start doing something more concrete than holding workshops and chanting loudly at demonstrations in Peekskill. We can start by addressing the impact of climate change on Croton rezoning. We can look at the adequacy of the existing building code and permitting process in light of upcoming expansion of the floodplain. We should be looking at the various methods of mitigation. We should start figuring out how much things such as levee construction and property buyouts are going to cost and how we will pay for the projects.