Willow Street Again
Its Not Over ’til Its Over
(There is still time to call your Council Member!)by Lynne Jackson
Dramatic events have happened since our last newsletter, when we made an appeal for Save the Pine Bush supporters to contact their Common Council members and ask them to vote “no” on the Drumlin Fields proposal before the scheduled vote on January 21.
The Common Council did NOT vote on January 21. They received a mountain of phone calls from their constituents! Your voice did make a difference!
Council Member Nicholas Coluccio (the Pine Bush alderman) asked that the vote be postponed so he could look into the traffic issue further.
Council Member Carol Wallace is a staunch supporter of Pine Bush preservation and has worked very hard to defeat the re-zoning of Drumlin Fields. Ms Wallace wrote an impassioned letter to the Common Council opposing Drumlin Fields. In her letter, Ms. Wallace addresses environmental and tax issues, and ends her letter with a description of the lobbying techniques employed by the representatives of the owners of Drumlin Fields:
“. . . I believe that Dan Hershburg [the engineer for the project] and Tom Shepherdson [lawyer for the owners] (very recently the zoning law expert of the city Law Dept) who are the two lead lobbyists on this project have played “good cop/bad cop” with us. Mr. Hershburg is the friendly, wise advisor to the Council who has sent us 2 lbs. of chocolates for the first time and offers to take us to lunch “to explain the FEIS.” Since he is also a lawyer he even writes the legislation for us. Meanwhile Mr. Shepherdson writes us nasty letters accusing us of creating fiscal hardship for his clients because we are taking so long and accusing the Commission and us of a “regulatory taking” of their land because of the implementation guidelines. These are bullying tactics with no basis in law. The implementation guidelines have no enforcement provisions, which he well knows. The land is zoned residential and the owners could build houses any time they want to with no interference from the Council. On the other hand, it is within our rights and duties to make a judgment on all requests for changes in zoning categories. To imply that we are doing something illegal should we choose to follow the implementation guidelines is unacceptable. Furthermore I question his lobbying of us so soon after his departure from the city Law Dept. Such behavior is forbidden at the state level for two years.
“Ice Age Associates are land speculators who knew the land was zoned residential and situated in a sensitive part of the Pine Bush when they bought it in 1996. After the fact they admitted they did not want to build housing because it was not profitable. So why did they buy it? Where did they get the idea that the Council would be a push-over for commercial development so that they could make a huge amount of money? Land speculation is like playing the stock market. No one promises a rose garden. Our job as council members should not be guarantors of huge profits for the development of land but rather decision-makers as to the wisest use for the greatest good for all.”
On Thursday, January 21, 16 people signed up to speak about Drumlin Fields and the Pine Bush. We wish to thank Tom Blandy, Nancy Papish, Tom Ellis, Aaron Mair, Harvey Alexander, George Robinson, Carl Letson, Emma Dixon, and Chris Hawver who took time from their busy schedules to speak for the Pine Bush. Many environmental groups joined Save the Pine Bush and signed a memo opposing Drumlin Fields. Save the Pine Bush wishes to thank the groups and individuals who gave their support and time: Thomas McGuire, David Pisaneschi, Co- Chairs, Committee, Albany Chapter, Adirondack Mountain Club ( ADK); Aaron Mair, Chair, Arbor Hill Environmental Justice Corporation; Jeff Fullmer, State Program Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment; Ann Rabe, Executive Director, Citizens Environment Coalition; Jeff Jones, Communications Director, Environmental Advocates; Judith Enck, Senior Environmental Associate, New York Public Interest Research Group; Emma Dixon, Representative, Pine Bush Coalition; Roger Gray, Chair, Sierra Club Mohawk-Hudson Group. Also, Save the Pine Bush wishes to thank the New York Audubon Society and Cindy Bradley for their letter to the Common Council in opposition to Drumlin Fields.
The fight to defeat Drumlin Fields is not over yet! Call your council member and ask him or her to VOTE NO ON DRUMLIN FIELDS! The calls are working, we just need to keep up the momentum! Call your Common Council member today. To find out who your Common Council representative is, call City Hall at 434-5090.
published Feb/Mar 1999 Newsletter
Last Updated 2/13/99
See Related Articles:
Oppose Drumlin Fields Office Complex -Five Minutes to Help Save the Pine Bush
No matter where you live, please, call an Alderman about Drumlin Fields
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