by Lynne Jackson
CLIFTON PARK: On June 26, the Town of Clifton Park approved an extension to the site plan on Wood Road, circumventing the State Environmental Quality Review Act and allowing DCG to build a warehouse complex on an inhabited Karner Blue butterfly site.
William Engleman, the intrepid volunteer in the Clifton Park, found out about the meeting just four days prior, and was able to persuade a number of people to attend and speak in opposition to the proposed extension.
Save the Pine Bush sued the Town of Clifton Park over this proposed development and lost last fall. The Judge in the case said that Save the Pine Bush had no “standing” or right to bring the case to court. Because of restrictive judicial rulings, it is almost impossible to establish standing in State Environmental Quality Review Act cases. The merits of the case have never been heard.
According to the the Generic Environmental Impact Statement prepared for the site many years ago, the developer is required to have a plan to protect the Karner Blue. And, if the Karner Blue has been extirpated, then the developer is required to restore the site and the butterflies.
DCG, the developer, did prepare a Karner Blue butterfly plan. However, despite the Freedom of Information Request submitted by Bill Engleman, no member of the public saw the plan prior to its acceptance by the Planning Board. No public comment was ever taken on the Karner Blue butterfly plan.
The Karner Blue butterfly plan written by the developer is so inadequate as to be considered a joke. The plan is so incompetent, it is difficult to even know where to begin to address the problems. From, the size of the proposed site — 9/10ths of an acre to the developer’s plan states that the site will be managed by mowing the land twice a year to the lack of mention of connecting the site to other Karner Blue sites, which is essential to Karner Blue survival.
There were many items on the agenda ahead of the requested extension. The item just before the requested extension was a request to store documents in the basement of a office building. The Planning Board spent at least 20 to 30 minutes carefully weighing all of the issues relating to document storage.
In contrast, when the Planning Board members were deciding whether to give the extension for the site plan for Wood Road, which will destroy this Karner Blue site, there was no discussion!!!
The requested extension issue was heard at 10:08 PM. The public was allowed to speak. Dave Gibson from Audobon, William Engleman, Linda Champaign, and another man, whose name I did not catch and I gave impassioned speeches about the importance of saving the butterfly.
On the advice of the Town Attorney, no discussion was held, and the Planning Board approved the extension 6-1.
Now we know the Town Board of Clifton Park is more concerned about document storage than survival of an endangered species.