Property Rights Foundation of America®

 

State: Stop Buying Land

Published January 15, 2011

Letters to the Editor
Adirondack Journal
Warrensburg, NY 12885

Dear Editor:

The seemingly universal accolades for New York State's acquisition at the end of December of development rights from 87,000 acres of forest land in the Adirondacks-at a cost of $30 million-deserves some criticism.

Why is the state spending this sum to eradicate land rights when the state has been unable to balance its budget without firings, program cutbacks, and passing down unfunded mandates that are strangling local governments?

And, why is the state further strangling land ownership in towns already suffering from too much state land ownership? Take Stony Creek, for instance. The state already owns 53 percent of the land, and, with this acquisition, has additionally prohibited all economic activity except logging and limited recreation on 1,230 acres.

The Stony Creek Town Board passed a resolution requesting that the state not acquire conservation easements along Hildebrandt Road, an actively maintained town highway that connects Stony Creek to Athol, where, according to my husband Peter LaGrasse, the chairman of Stony Creek's Board of Assessors, the APA rules would allow a total of twelve houses to be built in Stony Creek along highway frontage on 507 acres of land with good characteristics for building.

The state could have acquired the development rights to the back land and left the road frontage intact, but instead it simply eradicated this modest building potential, although it could be so important in a town of under 700 residents that is held back by the Adirondack Park Agency's high bars to development.

In essence, whenever the state acquires conservation easements, the state is eradicating the much-coveted, very limited development potential allowed by the Adirondack Park Agency's land use bible, the "Land Use and Development Plan Map and State Land Map."

The so-called Adirondack "Park" includes six million acres of land, of which three million acres are owned by the state as "forever wild." Up until December, the state had acquired 700,000 acres of conservation easements in addition to this forever wild land. Now the state has added another 87,000 acres.

The state should not buy one more acre of land in the Adirondacks, neither in full title nor as conservation easements.

The Legislature should wake up and look at the lost biodiversity, the lost hunting, and the loss of potential state revenue by refusing to sustainably harvest the rich timber resource of the forever wild land.

Carol W. LaGrasse
President
Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
Stony Creek

 

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