March 10, 2005
The Town of Gardiner zoning board of appeals was overruled by Ulster County's state Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Spargo late in February, allowing the proposed Awosting Reserve luxury housing plan on a 2,660-acre site owned by John A. Bradley at the base of the Shawangunk Ridge. Environmental preservationists consider the Shawangunks virtually sacred and covet the remaining privately owned land for 100 percent government ownership. Over recent years, the town of Gardiner has gradually experienced an influx of emigres from urban New York, barely seventy miles away, and the politics have swung toward preservation. Mr. Bradley, an ardent conservationist, applied for 350 luxury housing units for the development, including central sewage, on land he lovingly cared for since buying it over forty years ago. However, the town's building inspector and zoning board of appeals rejected the waste disposal system as inconsistent with the "Agricultural Residential" zoning of the area, and individual septic systems were not feasible. Mr. Bradley is revising the design to include 70 to 80 percent reserved land, in line with his original intentions. The Kingston Daily Freeman quoted him on March 2, 2005, stating, "I really feel that well intentioned, intelligent, thoughtful land owners or land managers will do a better job of caring for the land than the government."