|Activities and Accomplishments|
The Kingston Uptown Resident’s Alliance (KURA) is a non-partisan association of
residents, both owners and renters. Its purpose is to address the issues that negatively
impact the quality of life for the uptown Kingston neighborhood. To accomplish its
goals, it focuses on the elimination of criminal activities like “In and Out” drug
trafficking and graffiti. It also addresses other nuisances like noise, garbage and
overcrowding. KURA members support the key enforcement agencies of Police, Sheriff,
Code Enforcement and the Alderpersons, with factual information regarding
Filing of ComplaintsKURA members provide valuable services to the area residents by advising them with regard to the filing of complaints and coordination with the enforcement agencies. A number of problem tenants have been evicted or arrested. Landlords who have a reputation for harboring these troublemakers have been summoned to appear before a hearing panel to explain how they are going to abate the nuisances. This is the result of the powerful new Nuisance Abatement Law adopted by our City Government.
General Information MeetingsKURA holds meetings to inform residents about issues that are important to their quality of life. In February it held a meeting at the Backstage Productions to learn about the Nuisance Abatement Law. Don Williams, former DA and author of the law, Don Ryan, who coordinates related activities at the Sheriff’s Department, and Police Chief Gerald Keller were the panel that informed the large group of residents that attended the meeting.
A second general meeting will be held on July 29th at Backstage Productions at 6:30 PM. Don Ryan, Chief Civil Officer, Ulster County Sheriff’s Office will review the Nuisance Abatement Law for those who are not familiar with it and the current status of its implementation. The other speaker will be Paul Ackerman, Assistant Corporation Counsel for Poughkeepsie, who will address a zoning issue that has critical implications for the quality of life of Kingston’s residents.
The Kingston Uptown Residence Alliance will be a co-sponsor of an information meeting with the Kingston Uptown Business Association regarding the project that may alter current traffic patterns and intersections in Uptown Kingston. The proposed traffic changes will have a major impact on Uptown residents and business. It will be held in the County Office building on July 15. The speaker will be Dennis Doyle, Director Ulster County Transportation Council.
Stop Down-ZoningRecently, Kingston’s Corporation Counsel ruled that the current definition of “family” in the zoning code was unconstitutional, even though it had not been challenged in the courts. The proposed definition, which was submitted to the Laws and Rules Committee, defined a family as ”one or more persons occupying a premises…”. There was no limit on the number of persons in such a household. There were no geographic limitations. There was no review and approval process. The implications of this proposal to change the definition of “family” in the code are staggering. In simple terms a boarding house could be placed anywhere in the city. It could be next door to you. Its implications on the quality of life and real estate values would have been devastating.
Although most residents of Kingston were unaware of the proposed change and its implications, KURA took the lead in opposing this absurd change to the law. Five members of KURA made a coordinated presentation to the Law and Rules Committee of the City Council on April 16th to register our concerns. The Committee with the support of the Mayor tabled the proposed law. However, if our current law is unconstitutional, the City of Kingston must find a better definition of the family. KURA also felt that any change to the code should strengthen it to better protect the residents from further downzoning. It reviewed other options and found that the Poughkeepsie definition of family was a good alternative and that it had withstood court challenges. Newburgh and Rochester have also adopted this definition. For more information about why Poughkeepsie changed its definition of “family” and how they successfully defended it in the courts, you may want to attend the July 29th KURA meeting.
Neighborhood Clean-upOn May 23rd, KURA conducted a Clean-up Day in uptown Kingston. In the area covered, volunteers mowed the parkways between the curb and sidewalk. The roadway at the curb was weed whacked, swept and blown clean. Also, the weeds between the blue stone sidewalks were removed and hedges trimmed with the owners’ permission.