Letter to the editor – Mt. Rutsen and River Roads

Dear Deputy Dutchess County Public Works Commissioner Robert Balkind and DCDPW Commissioner Noel Knille:

I have learned of your plans to convert the intersection of Mt Rutsen and River Road into a “T” intersection from the current “Y” intersection. Public works are very important but must be done in the context of local, state and federal law. Can you advise if you have coordinated your planning with Rhinebeck Town officials?  I received this information this morning from our county legislator Joel Tyner:

At the March 23rd meeting of the Rhinebeck Town Board, the Dutchess County Department of Public Works’ (DCDPW’s) rushed plans to cut down five 100-year-old trees (in the first week of April!) as part of its plans to turn the River/Mt. Rutsen Road intersection into a “T” (instead of current “Y”) were publicly revealed for the first time.

The Rhinebeck Conservation Advisory Board publicly went on record at this meeting, stating that they did not want these five trees cut down, and further, that the Town of Rhinebeck LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program), approved by the Town Board (and now part of state and federal law), means that the land in question must go through a “coastal assessment form process.”  Sadly, DCDPW is trying to avoid this; Bill Dowden of the CAB noted at the Mar. 23rd meeting that DCDPW had not reached out to CAB either on this issue, and further, that the land in question is also part of the Estates District Scenic Area of Statewide Significance in Rhinebeck (part of the LWRP)http://www.rhinebeck-ny.gov/files/LWRP/Appendix_A.pdf .

It is critical that the planning for this work be done with all relevant parties.
A poorly planned and unsightly road project would destroy the beauty and uniqueness of our nationally recognized historic area. There is a reason that President and Mrs. Clinton choose a site nearby to have their daughter’s wedding. The naturally preserved beauty of the area is very special and before destroying it there should be careful planning and efforts at preservation.
Kind regards, Cate Long