COLONIE: The Town of Colonie held a public hearing
on July 14 for its “Town of Colonie Final Draft Comprehensive Plan.” The
Town began the comprehensive planning process in 2003 with
a town-wide survey, and had held dozens of public meetings
about the plan.
The Town is expected to adopt the plan at its
August 11 meeting. There is still time for the public to comment
about the plan. A copy of the plan can be downloaded at http://www.colonie.org/pedd/compplan/index.htm.
The Pine Bush is mentioned many times in the plan.
In the executive summary, one of the recommendations is to “Conserve natural
and open space resources.” Listed under short-term actions, “Identify
priority areas for open space conservation and develop a funding
Good news in the plan for the Pine Bush is found
in under the heading, “Conserve Natural and Open Space Resources.” The
plan states, “The opportunity to do something about the
remaining open space does still exist. There are still significant
blocks of undeveloped land in the Town, especicially at the
western and northern edges including the Pine Bush and the
Mohawk River Corridor. It is now a critical time for the community
to decide whether and how to conserve some of these remaining
lands for this and future generations. Ten years from now,
many of the options wil have been foreclosed.”
The plan makes an excellent point when it states
that no sewer or water lines should be built in the Kings Road
area of the Pine Bush because such infrastructure construction
would encourage development in the Pine Bush.
The initial survey for the Comprehensive Plan
of the residents of the Town, turned up some extremely interesting
results. For instance, 57% of the respondents consider preserving
open space is a high priority, and 54% feel it is very important
to protect wildlife.
Over the last several months some Colonie citizens
and Save the Pine Bush are proposing that Colonie acquire all
remaining unprotected Pine Bush except for a few farms. There
are sections in Colonie’s Comprehensive Plan that reflect,
or can be used in support of this proposal.
Save the Pine Bush applauds and supports the progressive
and public spirited open space recommendation in the Colonie
Comprehensive Plan. Furthermore we request that the acquisition
portions be applied on a priority basis first to the Pine Bush
then to the Mohawk River Corridor. Within Colonie’s Pine Bush
, we ask for the following priortiy acquisition schedule:
First, all vacant parcels west of the Village
of Colonie bounds and south of Albany Street not under any “Proctection“ designation,
and those under ”Partial Protection“ as designated
by the Pine Bush Commission should be acquired. Acquiring these
parcels by the Town would help prevent more fragmentation, and
ease the work of the Commission. The vacant parcels to the west
of these up to the County line can create a corridor connecting
Schenectady’s Woodlawn Preserve to the Pine Bush Preserve.
Second, Any “Full Protection“ parcel designated by
the Pine Bush Commission which is immediately threatened and
which The Nature Çonservancy and other entities have
difficulty in purchasing.
Funding for acquisiton of local open space may
soon be available via New York Senate Bill #3153. This Bill,
sponsored by Senator Marcellino, allows for up to a 2% tax of
the sale price on Real Property Transfers. This would go to funding
parks , nature preserves, general open space and prserving farms,
and historic places. The bill mandates a referendum first. If
enacted, the bill further mandates the establishment of a citizen
Advisory Board of local residents to review and recommend acquisitions.
The bill is modeled on one passed for town on the east end
of Long Island. There it has since produced $165 million for
protecting much of the Long Island Pine Barrens. Similiar arrangements
are to be found in Maryland and on Cape Cod. We very strongly
urge local support of this bill. Call your local officials
to ask that they be ready to apply for this provision when
it is passed and call your State Senators to urge them to support
At the hearing on the Comprehensive Plan, Town
Supervisor Brizzell appeared very supportive of Pine Bush prservation.
She called upon speakers who she knew would speak about the Pine
Bush first, and thanked the speakers for thier work on Pine Bush
preservation. It ranked as one of the most pleasant public
hearings that I have ever attended!
Printed in August/September 2005 Newsletter