by: DENNIS YUSKO Staff writer
CLIFTON PARK -- A 142,000-square-foot facility proposed by
along Wood Road would further undermine the area's endangered
butterfly habitats, town residents and area environmentalists
Planning Board. DCG wants to build a warehouse or a
space on 37 acres its owns between the east side of Wood Road
and Route 9.
"We don't know who the tenants are at this point," said
who represented DCG at a recent public hearing.
A segment of the property and areas DCG owns on the west side
of Wood Road
are two of a limited number of Karner blue habitats in the
according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
blues are an endangered species whose habitat in New York is
the Albany-Saratoga region.
Nicholson told the Planning Board that studies of the 37-acre
completed last year indicated the presence of 15 blue lupine
Karner blue butterfly's main food source, but no Karner blues.
DCG would be willing to set aside approximately one acre as
a preserve for
the species as part of the development plan and monitor the
sightings, Nicholson said.
That didn't impress most of the dozen or so speakers at the
like Lynn Jackson of Albany's Save the Pine Bush, opposed the
Jackson argued that the town needs to conduct more environmental
of the property. The Planning Board should require DCG to prepare
to restore the butterflies to the site, and since DCG has hinted
developing the west side of Wood Road, a cumulative study of
of developing both sides of the road should be considered now,
Development within 200 meters of the habitats could render
inhospitable, she said.
"A one-acre preserve is totally inadequate to sustain
the habitat and
butterflies," Jackson said.
Barbara Murphy, a town resident for 40 years, said wiping
out a species
could have unknown consequences. "The profit motive can't
be behind every
action we consider," Murphy said.
Nicholson said traffic studies indicate the project would
have a minimal
impact on the Wood Road-Route 9 intersection.
The opposition to the 142,000-square-foot structure is the
latest in a
series of fights between DCG and area environmentalists over
In January, Save The Pine Bush and 22 area residents petitioned
general counsel, James Ferreira, asking him to enforce a 1994
the state agency made with DCG to protect the Karner blue butterflies
Ferreira declined "because a declaratory ruling is an
of resolving the issues raised in the petition," according
to a statement.
The agency and DCG attorneys are presently discussing measures
lead to permanent conservation of the Karner blue habitat in
In January 2005, Save the Pine Bush, the Audubon Society and
accused the Town Board of mismanaging its Karner blue butterfly
and urged it to rezone the habitats in light industrial zones
fragmentation. No action was taken.
David Gibson of Ballston Lake, conservation chairman for Audubon
called the town's stewardship "disheartening." "Communication
difficult," he said.
The Planning Board took no action on the application.
It will take it up at a future meeting after completing due
all the project's stakeholders, board member Scott Hughes said.