City Owned Land Up for Grabs

by Lynne Jackson

In an unusal twist of fate, Pine Bush land that is currently publicly held is being considered for development by the City of Schenectady. Called the Woodlawn Wetlands and Dunes Area, it is located in the Pine Bush ecosystem in the City of Schenectady, on the border of Albany County and Niskayuna, east of the Woodlawn Elementary School.

This area is restorable Pine Bush with wetlands, sand dunes, drumlins, and native Pine Bush plants. In the recent past, endangered and threatened Pine Bush species have been found on the site.

This piece of Pine Bush is contiguous with undeveloped (though privately owned) Pine Bush in Colonie which is contiguous to the Pine Bush Preserve. If set aside for Preserve, this land could be an entry-way for Schenectady residents to visit the Pine Bush.

Unlike most currently undeveloped Pine Bush ecosystem that is not part of the Pine Bush Preserve, this land is currently owned by the City and County of Schenectady. To preserve this land, the City Council of the City only needs to vote to make it a Preserve. Acquiring this land for preservation would not cost the City or taxpayers a cent.

However, the City Council’s Development and Planning Committee is considering giving “preferred developer” status to have this approximately 130 acre Pine Bush wetlands made into a 240-unit suburban subdivision. The current proposal before the comittee is to have Woodlawn Associates pay the City $1000 for each lot, and then the developers would build the roads, sewers and subdivision. Woodland Associates want to be given the preferred developer status before doing the environmental studies and other work to determine whether the project is feasible.

The next meeting of the City Council’s Development and Planning Committee will be Monday, May 19 at 5:30 on the second floor of City Hall in Schenectady. Please come to support preservation of this land. For more details about the Committee meeting, please call Lynne Jackson at 434-1954.

In the meantime, please call the Mayor and the City Council members to let them know that Schenectady has an opportunity to preserve its Pine Bush by making the Woodlawn Wetlands and Dunes area a preserve. Preservation of this large track of land will cost the City less, and benefit the citizens a great deal, as well as preserve Schenectady’s Pine Bush. To Contact Your Government Representatives:

Mayor Al Jurczynski — 382-5000
Joseph Allen — 393-5656
Mark Blanchfield — 370-3153
Denise Brucker (City Council President) — 381-6810
Edward Kosiur — 377-8810
Catherine Lewis (Minority Leader) — 382-0579
Frank Maurizio (Majority Leader) — 393-5939
Michael Petta — 346-7324