What Are The Preservation Collective Members Working On?
1) Participating member of the Moonda Creek Watershed Intermunicipal Council on Education and Outreach Committee.
2) Routinely attending Town and Planning Board meetings.
3) Reviewing new site plans/subdivision proposals that come before the Planning Board and raising public awareness to address potential environmental impacts.
4) Following up residents' concerns with specific proposals in Chester including BT Holdings, Camp LaGuardia, Chester Golf, and Bellvale.
5) Hiking the area and documenting a birdseye view of existing and new development. Hikes conducted so far include Town of Chester's Open Space, Goosepond Mountain State Parkland, the Highlands Trail and the Appalachian Trail (check out our facebook page for photos please like us on Facebook:
). See this article from The Chronicle: Chester takes a foliage hike, cleans up historic cemetery.
6) Researching and getting educated on numerous master plans, local laws and codes. We hope to see the town create a Citizens Advisory Committee and/or Conservation Commission to advise the town about preservation, development, and use of the natural and man-made conditions within Chester.
7) Volunteering to assist in community projects e.g. NY-NJ Trail Conference relocation of the Highlands Trail in Chester.
8) Expanding website to promote kid science experiments and activities for the public to have fun and learn more about our environment. See our Kid's Section.
What Else Have The Preservation Collective Members Done?
1) Raised public awareness about new town regulations e.g. clustering as well as various new development proposals e.g. we mailed public hearing reminders to nearby landowners about major subdivision proposals so they could be informed and provide input on projects like BT Holdings and Camp LaGuardia.
2) Researched legality of the Orange County Legislature approving sewer extension of SD#1 to include Camp LaGuardia. Questioned if County violated SEQR in regards to segmentation and lead agency. We forwarded information to the Towns of Chester and Blooming Grove. As a result, Blooming Grove pursued litigation and a Supreme Court ruling annulled the Orange County Legislature’s votes in 2010.
3) Attended public hearings on Orange County Comprehensive Plan amendments (water plan, affordable housing, priority growth areas) and provided comments.
4) Participated in Annual Orange County Earth & Water Festival to provide educational activities to help children learn about the importance of the environment.
5) Supported local Boy Scouts in their beautification project on the Town's Open Space parcel (formerly known as Broadview) and contributed to the Town's annual park and recreation Kite Festival at location.
6) Volunteered to help the Town of Chester submit a NY State Grant application to improve public access on their Open Space property (formerly known as Broadview).
7) Researched concerns by Chester residents living near the C&S Wholesale Grocer expansion for approved 90 foot high, 373,000 square foot building. We questioned if the Chester Town Board violated SEQR when it approved the height of the building before the SEQR review was done by the Lead Agency, the Planning Board. Supported requests from residents for mitigation of visual impacts e.g. enhanced landscaping. See our letter to the editor: "We won't be suing C&S". In 2006, we followed up questions from concerned residents with a letter to Chester about C&S.
8) Conducted informational meetings for residents that live in Chester and Monroe to discuss their concerns about possible water contamination to private groundwater wells as a result of the Henry Farm development on Lakes Road. This project's proposed water supply was only 100-500 feet from Monroe's unlined and uncapped (at the time) landfill with sporadic water sampling in 15 years. As a result, the Town of Monroe decided to move forward with a closure that should have happened a decade earlier according to the NYS-DEC. Routine testing and monitoring of wells will now take place.
9) Conducted informational meetings for residents to discuss their concerns about losing their prized scenic and historic landmark (farmland on Kings Hwy) to a development project named Broad View Estates. We asked the Town to consider re-zoning, transfer of developments or purchase of development rights. The Town Board decided to let residents have the opportunity to vote on the outright purchase of the land on Election Day 2004. As a result, the vote passed 2-1 for preservation of the land as "Open Space for Public Use". We assisted in the suggestions for re-naming the site, now known as Knapp's View.
10) Initiated conversations between the Orange County Land Trust, NY/NJ Trail Conference, Trust for Public Lands, Open Space Institute and Palisades Interstate Park Commission about the management of development patterns and creating green ways to other protected land in Chester. As a result, land was preserved with the McNeil Farm and Chester Golf Club and plans where in progress with the Bellevale subdivision.
11) Supported landowner in Chester to apply to be on the State and National Register of Historic Places. We are pleased to announce that their property, currently known as Fury Brook Farm, was accepted on the NRHP register in 2004.
12) Continued our education on relevant areas of environmental issues and development concerns by attending seminars and conferences. Note, in 2007 a new NY State law went into effect requiring municipal planning and zoning officials to have four hours of training, each year.
Some of the Workshops The Preservation Collective Has Attended Include:
* Case Law Updates by OCMPF regarding court decisions and recent land use legislation relating to planning and zoning boards /County Comprehensive Plan Updates - 2016 (4 hours)
* Hydrogeology Evaluations, Traffic Study Review, Annexation Discussion, Site Plan Review by OCMPF - 2016 (4 hours)
* Form Based Zoning by OCMPF regarding tools for development of new and innovative building and zoning codes based on existing community character - Oct 2015 (2 hours)
* Case Law Updates by OCMPF regarding court decisions and recent land use legislation relating to planning and zoning boards - Nov 2014 (2 hours)
* Land Use and Planning Course by OCMPF regarding scoping process, updated EAF's, lot line changes and other topics of interest for Planning and Zoning Boards - April 2012 (5 hours)
* Land Use and Planning Course by OCMPF regarding design guidelines, approvals, stormwater management and wetlands - Oct 2010 (6 hours)
* Planning for Nature in Your Community by HRE and OCP - Oct-Nov 2009 (4 hours)
* Land Use Planning by Orange County Municipal Planning Federation, Zoning Variances and SEQR Sessions- May 2009 (4 hours)
* NYS Agricultural Districts Law and Agricultural Assessment Program Workshop by Cornell Unv Coop. Ext. OC - Nov 2008 (2 hours)
* Better Site Design Workshop by NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program - Oct 2008 (4 hours)
* Planning and Zoning for Workforce and Affordable Housing Course by Orange County Municipal Planning Federation - April-May 2007 (6 hours)
* Basic Land Use Planning Course by Orange County Municipal Planning Federation - Oct-Nov 2006 (10 hours)
* Advanced Land Use Planning Course by Orange County Municipal Planning Federation. Area-wide Planning and Development - May 2004
* Low Impact Development and Stormwater Management Full Day Seminar - March 2004
* The Wildlife Conservation Society's Metropolitan Conservation Alliance meeting on their inter-municipal biodiversity project - Feb 2004
* Land Use Planning Course by Orange County Municipal Planning Federation. Topics include Open Space Preservation and Growth Management Tools - Sept-Oct 2003 (10 hours)
* Wastewater Management Options for Smart Growth - Oct 2003
* County Historian Workshop conducted by The Preservation Field Service bureau and panel of experts for SHPO - May 2003