Save the Pine Bush Action Alert!
Call your Common Council Member This office complex is on 8 acres of Pine Bush and located at the intersection of Route 155 and Washington Avenue Extension.
Ask to Vote No on Re-Zoning 365 Washington Ave.
In the original management plan written by the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, this land was categorized as “full protection.” This designation was changed in the Commission’s Implementation Guidelines at the request of the owner. This 8 acre parcel contains the classic Pine Bush ecosystem – pitch pine/scrub oak. When traveling south on Route 155, look to your left (east) just before the intersection, and you can see the beautiful, stately, pitch pines.
The Commission itself states in the management plan: “The Management Plan recognizes that areas east and west of Route 155 (especially near the intersection of Washington Avenue Extension) are potentially important dispersal/migrational corridors between the southeastern portion and the main body of the Preserve . . .” (page 36) [emphasis added]. In addition, this parcel is within the flight range of a known Karner Blue site.
Just across Route 155 from this site is the 10-acre Swire parcel, which the State of New York purchased last year for $1.5 million. Like the 365 Washington Ave. Ext. parcel, the Swire parcel is also surrounded on three sides by roads, yet it was purchased for Preserve at an incredibly high price.
The main argument against preserving this land is that it is “cut-off” from the rest of the Pine Bush. However, viewing aerial photographs of the Route 155/Washington Ave. Ext. corridor, show that this site provides a vital link between the southeastern part of the Pine Bush Preserve and the Preserve that is west of Route 155.
The Pine Bush is being destroyed one acre at a time. No longer do developers come in with many-hundred acre proposals, just little ones, an acre at a time. Paving the Pine Bush an acre at a time will destroy it just as surely as paving it all at once.
The Common Council will vote soon on this Pine Bush proposal. Your calls made all of the difference in the world for the Drumlin Fields proposal; six Common Council members voted against it. Unfortunately, we needed one more vote to defeat Drumlin Fields, but it was your calls which resulted in the six votes.
Please call. This 8-parcel in the Pine Bush is important. It provides an important link in the ecosystem. The Preserve is small enough already, and does not need another office complex for a neighbor.
If you do not know who your Common Council member is, call the Albany City Clerk at 434-5090. Please be sure to also call Tom Nitido, chair of the Health and Environment Committee of the Common Council at 453-9052 and .Nicholas Coluccio, council member for the ward in which the Pine Bush is located, at 489-5925.Ward 1 – Carol Wallace, 462-1550 Ward 2 -Carolyn McLaughlin, 462-1458 Ward 3 – Michael L. Brown, 427-0857 Ward 4 – Sarah Curry-Cobb, 463-8864 Ward 5 – Shirley A. Foskey, 465-7414 Ward 6 – Richard Conti, 436-8546 Ward 7 – Shawn Morris, 426-0530 Ward 8 – David R. Torncello, 482-0837 Ward 9 – Thomas P. Nitido, 453-9052 Ward 10 – James R. Scalzo, 434-9936 Ward 11 – Michael J. Hall, 438-3767 Ward 12 – Phillip T. DiPace, 459-3815 Ward 13 – Daniel Herring, 438-7527 Ward 14 – Joseph Igoe, 489-3014 Ward 15 – Nicholas Coluccio, 489-5925 Jerry Jennings, Mayor, 434-5100 Helen Desfosses, President, 458-2166
Albany County has a budget surplus this year of $20 million. This is the perfect time to ask the County to buy land in the Pine Bush for preservation. Members of Save the Pine Bush attended the county budget hearing and recommended purchase of additional land for Preserve. County Legislators also need to hear from their constituents about how important the Pine Bush is and that the budget surplus should be used to purchase more land for the Preserve. In addition, the County Executive, Mike Breslin, is a member of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and is very familiar with the issues of Pine Bush Preservation.
In 1976, the Albany County Legislature passed a bill creating the Albany County Nature and Historical Preserve and a trust fund to purchase land. To the extent of our knowledge, the members of the Trust have never been appointed and no land has ever been purchased by the Preserve.
The language creating the trust is quite eloquent, “. . . which because of their natural beauty, wilderness characteristics, ecological or historical significance, are in the best interests of the residents of Albany County [to purchase].”
Please call your county legislator today and ask them to spend $5 to $10 million of the surplus to purchase land in the Pine Bush, specifically the Hungerkill Valley and land in the Town of Colonie. If you do not live in Albany County, please select a legislator to call. Please let them know that the Pine Bush has international significance and it is up to us to preserve it.
1. George Infante, 9 McDonald Rd, Alb. 12209, 449-5822
2. Lucille McKnight, 79 Third Ave., Alb. 12202, 463-9883
3. Donna Robinson, 51 Ten Broeck St., Alb. 12210, 449-2308
4. Virginia Maffia-Tobler, 7 Ichabod Ln, Alb. 12211, 436-8683
5. Fowler Riddick, 344 Livingston Ave., Alb. 12206, 449-7889
6. Julie Denison, 188 Lancaster St., Alb. 12210, 432-9616
7. Ronald Russo, 126 Cardinal Ave., Alb. 12209, 482-6316
8. Nancy Wily, 55 Partridge St., Alb. 12206, 482-5744
9. Paul Collins, 181 S. Main Ave., 12208, 438-0377
10. Joseph Cannizzaro, 10 Tioga Terr, Alb. 12208, 489-4979
11. Gary Domalewicz, 23 Upton Rd., Alb. 12208, 459-1399
12. Frank Commisso, 130 Cottage Ave., Alb. 12203, 438-5387
13. Michael Richardson, 123 Homestead Ave., Alb. 12203, 489-6747
14. Harold Joyce, 183 Winthrop Ave., Alb. 12206, 438-1304
15. Gavin Donohue, 6 Barry Ct., Loundonville, 12211, unpulished number
16. Thomas Morelli, 2307 th Ave., Watervliet, 12189, 273-5058
17. Sean Ward, 21 High St., Green Island, 12183, 273-8710
18. Thomas Grudecki, 326 Ontario St., Cohoes, 12047, 238-0219
19. Gilbert Ethier, 26 Middle St., Cohoes, 12047, 237-9530
20. John Graziano, Jr., 13 Island View Rd, Cohoes, 785-0731
21. James Darbyshire, 73 Mohawk Ave., Latham, 12110, 785-3422
22. Paulette Barlette, 90 Fiddlers Ln, Latham, 12110, 783-7738
23. Jay Sherman, 8 Coronet Ct., Schenectady, 12309, 869-3017
24. Henry Dennis, Jr., 504 Albany-Shaker Rd, Loudonville, 12211, 458-9575
25. Dean Rueckert, 30 Hawthorne Ct., Loudonville, 12211, 458-7286
26. Peter Crummey, 30 Upper Loudon Rd, Loudonville, 12211, 436-5065
27. James Nowicki, 56 Delafied Dr., Alb., 12205, 869-5742
28. Christine Benedict, 27 Reber St., Alb. 12205, 456-3861
29. Jeffrey Bray, 1405 Rocco Dr, Schenectady, 12303, 356-4236
30. Jane Springer, 17 Pine Knob Dr., Alb. 12203, 456-1567
31. Paul Laudato, 6446 Vosburgh Rd., Altamont, 12009, 355-7611
32. Mary Lou Connolly, 110 Mckown Rd West, Alb. 12203, 456-5927
33. Dominick Dececco, 39 Elwood Rd., Slingerlands, 12159, 439-2437
34. David Young, 11 Palmer Ave., Delmar 12054, 439-8513
35. James Ross, 18 Plymouth Ave., Delmar 12054 439-4045
36. Robin Reed, 186 Maple Ave., Selkirk 12158 767-2304
37. Peter Clouse, 13 Einie Dr., Coeymans 12045 756-8495
38. Charles Houghtaling, Jr., 25 New Scotland Ave., Feura Bush 12067 439-5880
39. Alexander Gordon, 144 Beebe Rd., Berne 12023 872-2602
The Town of Guilderland is currently in the process of drafting a master plan. This is one of the best opportunities that advocates of Pine Bush preservation can take to make a difference in what happens to the Pine Bush in Guilderland. The FORCE (Friends Organized for Responsible Community Expansion) web site has all the information you need to make suggestions on the master plan.
Save the Pine Bush proposes the following measures to seek to preserve Guilderland’s portion of the Pine Bush:
1) Establish a “Conservation Abatement Zone” for the entire contiguous Pine Bush within Guilderland. Property owners within this zone would automatically receive a substantial reduction in their taxes. More than the usual Agricultural Valuation Assessment. This would be for owners whether they run farms there, or not. This, of course, is excluding individual suburban houses. The resale value of all houses next to or near such a conservation zone, might soar, and definitely will soar, if additional projected steps proceed. Therefore these owners don’t need an extra abatement. Within the Conservation Abatement Zone; only farming and environmentally compatible uses will be permitted, such as: day camps, or overnight camps with non-permanent tent structures, picnic groves, recreational businesses of the types cited previously, cross-country skiing, outdoor lore schools, etc.
2) Impose, at least, a ten year moratorium on conversions of this Conservation Zoning within the Conservation Abatement Zone. Establish a standing option for any owner affected by the Conservation Zoning within the Conservation Abatement Zone: The option will be, that if they enter into some manner of contractual agreement with a conservation entity, to sell only to that entity within ten years from the signing of the agreement, and for a price agreed upon at such time, that their property taxes will be totally dropped until they sell according to such agreement, or until the ten years run out. This option would equally pertain to the purchase of development rights by a conservation entity.
The FORCE (Friends Organized for Responsible Community Expansion) web site has a copy of the draft plan and information about the upcoming public hearings in May. Go to http://capital.net/~force/;
The most important point to make is that Guilderland has the opportunity to aggressively pursue preserving all of the remaining Pine Bush in its boundaries, and it should do so.
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