Roman Catholic Diocese Proposes Senior Housing in the Pine Bush Karner Blue in Serious Trouble It is with great sadness that Save the Pine Bush reports that the Roman Catholic Diocese has proposed Avila House Independent Senior Campus in the Pine Bush. This proposed housing would be located behind the Teresian House on Washington Avenue Extension, on an ideal spot for Karner Blue habitat. It is not too late to oppose the development Ñ no approvals have been given yet.
Save the Pine Bush does not oppose the construction of housing for our senior citizens. We only oppose constructing the housing in the Pine Bush. Senior housing can be built anywhere, but the Pine Bush cannot.
For years, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission has worked to preserve a “corridor” or escape route for the Karner Blues to move from the isolated tiny preserve of butterflies at Crossgates Maul to the main part of the Pine Bush. This tenuous corridor is extremely narrow in portions, and, as Karner Blues do not read, let alone follow road signs, the wider the corridor preserved, the more likely the Karner Blues will survive. Area 29 is between the Pine Lane housing development and Teresian House. Already this corridor is narrow, but with if this proposed housing is constructed, it may totally prevent any type of fire-management of the corridor and curtail the possibility of Karner Blues moving through the corridor. To view an aerial photo of the site, go to: http://www.savethepinebush.org/Action/termap.html.
Even the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission believes this site is extremely important to preserve. The land where the proposed senior housing is to be located is called “Area #29”. On page 21 of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission’s Implementation Guidelines, Area 29 received its own paragraph:
“Additionally, corridors critical for linking isolated Karner blue sites with the Preserve are recommended for full protection. This includes areaÊ29. Destruction of this area could: 1) prohibit species migration across major sections of the Preserve, 2) destroy the chance of maintaining existing unprotected corridors, and 3) have significant negative impacts on an adjacent Karner blue butterfly subpopulation.”
Of course, there are other reasons for not building this housing project here. First, the size and shape of the current Pine Bush preserve is not yet adequate for the Pine Bush to survive. This would destroy another 20 acres of Pine Bush. Next, seniors in this development would need to have a car, because nothing is within walking distance. This type of senior housing is typical sprawl, where the only destinations within walking distance are the senior center and Teresian House. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement did not even mention mass transit.
At a time where other cities are desperately trying to bring back the Karner Blue to its original range (re-introductions of Karner Blue are occurring in Ohio, Indiana, and Toronto), it is crazy for Albany to allow the destruction of such important habitat.
Please write to the Bishop to ask him to re-locate the Avila House Independent Senior Campus outside of the Pine Bush. Write: Bishop Howard Hubbard, Roman Catholic Diocese, 40 North Main Street, Albany, NY 12203.
Printed in the August, September, 2001 Newsletter