SPB and Town Agree

Colonie Signs Settlement

By Daniel Van Riper

Attorney Lew Oliver, representing Save the Pine Bush, successfully negotiated an agreement with the Town of Colonie over the future of the town's Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), thus avoiding a costly court case. The agreement, signed April 3rd by State Supreme Court Judge Harold Hughes, allows Colonie to have a GEIS as long as it doesn't include those parts of Colonie that are undeveloped Pine Bush.

In February, Mr. Oliver, representing Save the Pine Bush, won the court case that had the original GEIS declared null and void on the grounds that it was intended to sidestep the environmental review process required by law. Faced with the likely prospect that an appeal would fail, Colonie asked to negotiate with Save the Pine Bush.

Immediately affected by the agreement is the proposed Golden Bear Family Golf Center, a golf driving range covered by, believe it or not, a seventy five foot high inflatable dome. This big lump will separate the eastern part of the Colonie Pine Bush from the western part, will pollute the acquifer with pesticides, and will introduce alien plants to the area. The producers of this ugly thing will now have to generate their own Environmental Impact Statement.

Also affected is the proposed Interpretive Center for the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission. Of course, the Commission needs office space, and a place to explain the Pine Bush to visitors is a fine idea, but the Commission wants to tear down a historic farmhouse in good shape and replace it with some modernistic box. Whatever they have in mind will surely challenge the integrity of the surrounding Pine Bush. Now the Commission has to go through public scrutiny just like everyone else, and yes, Save the Pine Bush is taking a hard look at the whole thing.

Printed April/May 1997


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