Letters to the editor – Meeting August 19th 2009

The Town Board  Meeting

Wednesday, August 19th 2009

  Rhinebeck High School

 Agenda : Freshwater Wetlands Law  A copy of the draft wetlands law – www.rhinebeck-ny.gov.  

The meeting will include final public comments on the new proposed zoning.
 This zoning includes a new draft of the  Freshwater Wetlands Law that puts severe restrictions on property owner’s abilities to use or ever develop their land.  It also has severe ramifications on local workers and craftspeople that need work in a bad economy.  This law sits on top of existing New York State and Federal regulations.

Most people in Rhinebeck don’t even know this law is being considered. It is the Town Board’s duty to let people know what is happening and to get input before passing a law of this magnitude.  It is possible for the rest of the new zoning to get passed while this law gets the public scrutiny it deserves — but that will only happen if people speak up at the meeting  Wednesday and tell the Board how they feel.

If you can’t attend, write a letter and have a friend read it.
Alexa Dull
Wild Acres Farm
Rhinebeck, New York

Re – Proposed Comprehensive Plan

As you may know, the first proposal was to locate dense development behind Stop and Shop along the densely populated Route 9. This appears to have been knocked out because politically powerful people own land there and objected. The second plan with the Rhinecliff location generated too much opposition from too many voters. This new and third proposal involves taking the least developed, most rural, most forested area of Rhinebeck and trashing it. The sole attraction for this version is that there are very few voters directly effected and thus not a mass of people to protest.
Key points
1) The entire area (over 1000 acres) north of Astor Road, west of Old Post Road and south of Hook and Lower Hook is to be designated RA 5. At one time there was talk of designating this area with a minimum lot size of 20 acres, then 10, then 6, and now 5.The original 20 acre proposal was in recognition of the ecological importance of this area, now slated for intense development.

2) The owner (basically one single developer) of this newly designated RA 5 will get development credits even for acreage that cannot be developed. This is an unmitigated disaster. Given the NYS DEC designated Snyder Swamp, the steep, high hills/cliffs to the east of the main trail running north south through the property and the wetlands east of those hills/cliffs, something like thirty to fifty percent of the entire property is unbuildable. In effect, this one radical change in the RA5 zoning will therefore double the number of units that can be built on the buildable land.

3) The RA5 zone is a receiving area for units not built in the higher zoned areas.. This means that if a unit is not built on a twenty acre site in a RA20 district, an extra unit can be built in the RA5 district.

4) In addition to the density created by the above, there is a proposal for what is called a “Planned Conservation District” which would allow for 225 units of clustered development and 10,000 square feet of commercial space. I am not clear as to whether these 225 units are in addition to units that would otherwise be permitted in the RA5 district. The theory is to create some affordable housing (ten percent must be affordable) and to also create a new mini-village. The reality is that the likely location for most of this housing – Astor Flats – is so far from town that only two car families would be able to live there.

Bottom line – on all the buildable land, we can expect at best one and two acre lots. This area abuts the Ferncliff Nature Preserve, includes Snyder Swamp, and abuts the beautiful fields along River Road. Can we really expect the owners of these large estates to keep their land undeveloped when there are buildings on one acre lots across the road from them? Can we expect Snyder Swamp to continue to have its biodiversity with one acre housing lots abutting and draining into it?

Allowing this kind of density next to a nature preserve, next to Snyder Swamp and in an area that acts as a major drainage source for clean water in the Hudson is as anti-conservation as one could get. Calling the 225 units to be built in this area a Planned Conservation District amounts to Orwellian doublespeak. It’s a last ditch effort by the Town who wants to pass this before the next election and really an insult to the concept of smart growth upon which this multi-volume plan is supposedly based.

There is a Town Meeting on August 19th at 7 pm the Rhinebeck High School.

From Rhinebeck’s Jan Greenberg

Comments sought on town of Rhinebeck master plan impact statement

RHINEBECK — The Town Board will take comments Wednesday on the final generic environmental impact statements to be used for proposed comprehensive plan revisions and related zoning law updates.

The session is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rhinebeck High School on North Park Road. It will be conducted simultaneously with the public hearing on the proposed town Freshwater Wetlands Law, which would be included as part of zoning regulations.

The Town Board considered waiting until September for the public hearing but set an earlier date to avoid having a building moratorium lapse before zoning can be updated.

READ ON: www.dailyfreeman.com/articles/2009/08/17/news/doc4a88be055aa12763472800.txt