GUILDERLAND: The largest roadless area in the Pine Bush is under attack again.
The proposed Woodsfield Estates would be built on 106 acres of Pine Bush along the Hungerkill. The developers propose 46 houses to be built on 26 acres of this parcel.
The Planning Board of the Town of Guilderland is the Lead Agency for the Woodsfield Estates proposal and will hold a hearing on this proposed project on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30 pm at the Guilderland Town Hall.
The developer has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for this housing proposal. Even though houses will only be built on 26 acres, leaving 80 acres Pine Bush, this project will still have an impact on the Pine Bush. Much of the 80 acres left natural cannot be built on anyway, because of the steep ravines. Thus, the land that will be built on is the upland Pine Bush ecosystem.
There are many issues regarding this proposal. Some of these issues are:
Impact of this development on the largest roadless area of Pine Bush in Guilderland: This proposed housing development is located in the largest roadless area in the Pine Bush in Guilderland. This is an area in the western section of the Pine Bush, consisting of the DiCaprio Park, Lone Pine 7, and this development. The significance of this approximately 300 acres is that there are no roads here to cut the ecosystem into fragments. Roadless areas are very important to the ecosystem. Roads, even relatively unused dirt roads, can prevent plant and animal species from crossing from one side to another, thus limiting the area inhabited by plant and animal species, and limiting the biodiversity.
Impact of this development on the ability of the Commission to burn the largest roadless area of Pine Bush in Guilderland: Constructing this development will have a significant impact on the ability of the Commission to fire-manage the entire 300 acres of this roadless area. Fire management may not even be able to occur in this roadless area because of the configuration of houses, the location of the soccer fields, and other physical aspects of the proposed development.
The fact that this land is considered “full protection.” The Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission labeled the site of the proposed Woodsfield Estates site. “full protection” in its current Management Plan. A full protection designation means that no development should occur on this site. A great deal of research in the Pine Bush has occurred in the past six years, giving the Commission a wealth of knowledge about how to manage the Pine Bush Preserve and ensure the survival of the Pine Bush ecosystem. Full Protection in the Management Plan is defined as:
Also, this parcel, in the Plan, is ranked number 8 out of 35, a very high score.
Make your voice heard! Come to the public hearing on this proposal on Wednesday, April 13 at 7:30 pm at the Guilderland Planning Board, Guilderland Town Hall.
Written comments will be received until April 27 and should be addressed to Jan Weston, Town Planner, Guilderland Town hall, PO Box 339, Guilderland, New York 12084