The Huletts Current

News & Opinion About Huletts Landing, N.Y.

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Ballot Proposal # 3 Helps Forest Preserve Communities While Protecting the Enviornment

October 8th, 2017 · No Comments

Election day will be November 7th this year. Over the next few weeks, the Huletts Current will spotlight some local elections as well as some ballot proposals. Today, Ballot proposal # 3 is explained.

The NY State Senate gave the required second passage to a proposed New York State Constitutional amendment to create a 250-acre Forest Preserve Health and Safety Land Account for the Adirondack and Catskill parks. It will now appear on the November 7th ballot as Proposal # 3.

New York State’s Constitution protects the State’s forest preserve as wild forest land and generally prohibits the lease, sale, exchange, or taking of any forest preserve land. The proposed amendment will create two new exceptions to this broad protection of the forest preserve to make it easier for municipalities to undertake certain health and safety projects.

First, the proposed amendment will create a land account of up to 250 acres of forest preserve land. A town, village, or county can apply to the land account if it has no viable alternative to using forest preserve land for specified health and safety purposes. These purposes are (1) to address bridge hazards or safety on specified highways; (2) to eliminate the hazards of dangerous curves and grades on specified highways; (3) to relocate, reconstruct, and maintain highways; and (4) for water wells and necessary related accessories located within 530 feet of a specified highway, where needed to meet drinking water quality standards. The State will acquire 250 acres to add to the forest preserve to replace the land placed in the health and safety land account, subject to approval by the Legislature.

Second, the proposed amendment will allow bicycle paths and types of public utility lines to be located within the widths of specified highways that cross forest preserve land. The work on the bicycle paths and utility lines must minimize the removal of trees and vegetation. The proposed amendment will allow a stabilization device (such as a guy wire) for an existing utility pole to be located near the width of a highway when necessary to ensure public health and safety and when no other viable option exists. The proposed amendment prohibits the construction of a new intrastate gas or oil pipeline that did not receive necessary state and local permits and approvals by June 1, 2016.

Washington county would be one of the counties eligible to use the Proposal 3 land bank.

A “yes” vote supporting this amendment would: create a 250-acre land bank, which would allow local governments to request state Forest Preserve land for qualifying projects in exchange for the state adding 250 new acres to the preserve; and allow bike paths, sewer lines, and utility lines within the width of highways on preserve land.

A “no” vote opposes this amendment to:
create a 250-acre state Forest Preserve land bank; and allow bike paths, sewer lines, and utility lines within the width of highways on preserve land.

Tags: Adirondacks · NY State · Washington County