Guilderland just enacted six-month moratorium
on development in the western part of town. The Town of Colonie
moratorium in certain segments of town. As both Guilderland and
Colonie contain Pine Bush, one would have expected the Pine Bush
to have been included in the moratoriums as both town supervisors
are on the Pine Bush Commission, but the Pine Bush was left out.
Colonie, at least, has some conscientious citizens and an environmentally
responsible board member, Tom With, who pleaded that the Pine
Bush be included in the Town's moratorium, but so far, they
Moratoriums are only temporary and frequently ineffective
unless some serious anti-sprawl measures can be put in place
moratoriums are in place, They can be useful if lands can be
purchased for conservation, where a little more time makes
Some hands of the state government are trying to aid communities
in countering sprawl such as the Legislature and it's pending
2% property transfer tax for land conservation. Then there's
program of the Department of Agriculture for buying farm development
rights. At the same time, we find that other State hands (namely
the highwaymen of the Thruway Authority and the Department
of Transportation) are steering in the opposite direction towards
paving the way for
A perfect example of why this moratorium should have been
applied to the Pine Bush is the newly proposed housing development,
Woodfields, which, if built, would destroy approximately 100
acres of Pine
Bush. This area contains the western most large sand dune in
Guilderland, with a great hiking and skiing trail, and borders
Also, it borders the woodlot portion of the DiCaprio farm.
We hope that Guilderland Town Supervisor Ken Runion will fulfill
promise to seek to allow no further development in Guilderland’s
contiguous Pine Bush.
The truth of the matter is that suburban towns do not need
more development they have too much already.
Most town leaders think they need more development to maintain
and expand the tax base. With this thinking towns everywhere
encourage build-out border to border, and welcome the mad lemming
mal-distribution of people, goods, services, and work places.
When the Colonie Moratorium was first announced some representatives
of the Colonie business community raised a howl saying: "Businesses
will move to Schenectady and Troy that might locate in Colonie
if we have this moratorium." Well! Isn't that exactly
what environmentalists want? Isn't that what those of us concerned
about dis-urbanization want?
It's the cities that need development, or rather redevelopment
and re-urbanization. Moratoriums followed by return to the
status quo or by "reasonable compromise and balance" plans won’t
work well enough, except for towns that have real electoral
revolutions that thoroughly favor farms, green space, and unique
the cities that need to be able to tap into the 2% property
transfer plan, and any other new environmental revenue sources
to buy land and development rights in nearby and bordering
If a city can buy land in other municipalities in order to
have clean, healthy, water supplies, why can't cites buy
land to promote
a healthy, urban economy? The idea is to derive land protection
revenue from sources that are related to sprawl. This should
prompt more ideas, such as a State-wide land tax on gasoline
and car sales.
How about city land surcharges on non-resident parkers in
garages and lots? The money is all out there for these purposes,
all that is needed, but its mainly going to waste so far.
In buying land, or development rights to block sprawl, the
cities can defend themselves more effectively. In doing
residential, and industrial site location choices will
become more limited, and cities will begin to rise to a higher
for these purposes again. There are more factors that go
into revitalizing cities, but delimiting location choices
a long way in helping
the effort. If this is done aggressively, and on a serious
scale, it can bypass, overcome, or fill in any shortfalls,
of local town
moratoriums and masterplans or the absence of them.