Council Sacrifices Pine Bush – Nitido, Hershberg Win
Council Sacrifices Pine Bush
Nitido, Hershberg WinBy Daniel Van Riper
Showing a marked lack of common sense, the Albany Common Council voted 9-6 in favor of rezoning 400 and 495 Rapp Road to build an office park called Drumlin Fields in the shadow of the Albany Dump. If this useless boondoggle gets built, it will have to be heavily subsidised by Albany taxpayers, and will directly cause a property tax hike in the next few years and yield little little revenue in return.
Council member Carol Wallace fought long and hard to preserve this important link in the Pine Bush preserve, but could not persuade enough of her colleagues to put the interests of the City ahead of the right of speculators to recieve subsidies. “We almost made it,” she said.
This vote is a triumph for chairman of the Health and Environment Committee, Tom Nitido, who is an outspoken advocate of Pine Bush destruction. Nitido is fond of repeating the discredited doctrine that suburban sprawl “expands the tax base.” In reality, numerous studies have proven that sprawl “developments” such as Drumlin Fields require massive infusions of taxpayer subsidies and yield little in return.
The vote is also a triumph for lobbyist Daniel Hershberg, who was seen smirking happily outside the council chamber. Hershberg, who hires himself out to land speculators and wields extraordinary power over Common Council members, probably recieves his fees from his clients only after he gains approvals. A master back room manipulator who shuns the light of day, Hershberg has a long history of making promises which neither he nor his clients keep.
This vote is the first time any municipality has gone against the recommendation of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission. Although it is not pristine, and part of it may actually be a brownfield, the acreage is vital link in a contiguous preserve, and can easily be restored to good condition.
Of interest is the possibility that Ice Age Associates, the principal behind Drumlin Fields, may actually be a front group for the rapacious Pyramid Corporation. It seems that their chief lawyer is a person named Tom Shepardson, who takes orders from Michael Shanley, who in turn works for Pyramid.
Everyone who called their council members and other city officials made a difference. Thanks to everyone who took the time to call and write! Widespread political activism has made a difference in Guiderland over the proposed Crossgates expansion, and it can do so in Albany. Politicians in Albany have been put on notice that destruction of the Pine Bush and saddling the taxpayers with debt will not be tolerated.
Save the Pine Bush especially wishes to thank those six members of the Council with the foresite to vote against Drumlin Fields and for Pine Bush Preservation: Carol Wallace, Carolyn McLaughlin, Sarah Curry-Cobb, Richard Conti, Shawn Morris and Nicholas Coluccio.
And by the way, the fight is far from over.
published Apr/May 1999 Newsletter
Last Updated 4/20/99
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