16 Year Victory for SPB – Nature Conservancy Buys Land

16 Year Victory for SPB
Nature Conservancy Buys Land

Feb./Mar. 95

Save the Pine Bush had another big victory in December when the State
of New York gave the Nature Conservancy money from the 1994
Environmental Protection Fund to buy 87 acres of prime, beautiful,
Pine Bush.

The property, often referred to as the “Muncie Parcel” is located at
the intersection of Washington Ave. Ext. and Route 155. This 80 acre
parcel is located southeast of the intersection, between the Dunes
housing development and Route 155. The sale also includes a smaller,
seven-acre parcel is across Route 155, a little to the south of Point
of Woods.

The purchase of this land is a tremendous victory for Save the Pine
Bush. SPB has been fighting to save this parcel since 1979, when the
Pine Circle Housing development was proposed to destroy this site.
The housing proposal was withdrawn after action by SPB. At the time
of the purchase, there was still a court injunction against building
on this land.

All through the 1980’s, SPB waged battles over land adjacent to and
nearby the Muncie parcel. No doubt due to the success of our lawsuits
over the adjacent properties, developers were reluctant to make new
proposals for the Muncie parcel.
The next fight came in 1992, when the Woodlands at Pine Ridge Office
Park was proposed. (Oh, what a lovely name. Wouldn’t you like to work
there?) This office development would have left the back 50 acres of
Pine Bush for preserve, and building on 30 acres that fronted on
Washington Ave. To some people, this may have sounded like a
reasonable compromise. However, we knew that the back 50 acres was a
ravine, and could not be built on anyway. It was no compromise!
Additionally, the Muncie parcel is the ecological bridge between the
Blueberry Hill area (other land that was purchased due to SPB’s work)
and the State Preserve, located west of Route 155. SPB has always
maintained that the preservation of Muncie parcel is essential to the
survival of the Pine Bush.

Around this time, SPB was involved in hearings and litigation with
the City of Albany over the building of the landfill in the Pine
Bush. At one time during this legal action, we discussed the
possibility of a settlement with former Mayor Whalen. Save the Pine
Bush had very clear goals going into this negotiation. We wanted the
corridor along Route 155 preserved, along with other essential land
in the Pine Bush. The Muncie parcel was key. We almost came to an
agreement, but Whalen insisted that the front 30 acres of the Muncie
parcel be developed. We said no, we wanted the entire piece.

Save the Pine Bush’s stubbornness in insisting that the entire Muncie
parcel be purchased for preserve has been justified. This is a huge
victory for the Pine Bush!

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