posted by
Property Rights Foundation of America®


71 Viaduct Road
Long Eddy
New York 12760
April 16, 2004

State Senator John Bonacic
Room 815
Legislative Office Building
New York 12247

Dear Senator Bonacic:

I am in receipt of your letter dated March 25, 2004 dealing with your "Greenway" proposal for the seventy-five mile long Upper Delaware River Valley.

Apparently, you did not thoroughly read or fully understand my letter dealing with the "Greenway" proposal sent to you, the Upper Delaware Council, all Upper Delaware town, village and city officials and concerned community leaders.

1. Attached to the letter was Property Rights Foundation of America spokesperson Carol W. LaGrasse's 1994 Congressional testimony dealing with the "Greenway" (American Heritage Area) issue.

2. Ms. LaGrasse testified under oath that, "The Hudson River Greenway established by the State Legislature continues southward. The mandatory zoning powers sought by Mr. Hinchey for the Greenway agency were eliminated because of local opposition. The Hinchey Hudson River Heritage Corridor bill would convert the State Greenway to a joint National Park Service / State program, and with the Jeffords' Champlain-Hudson Heritage Corridor proposal would establish federal zoning jurisdiction over fully every county from the Canadian border to the city of New York, down the historic spine of New York State." Based on this precedent, it is obvious that your "Greenway" proposal is not as benign as you think.

3. I am sure you understand that property rights are a very sensitive issue, particularly in Sullivan and Delaware Counties, where people have never forgotten the wholesale condemnation of towns, villages and farms for the New York State reservoir system, the steadily increasing regulation of watershed areas by New York City and the twenty year battle to prevent the National Park Service from condemning the entire Upper Delaware Valley including all its villages and towns.

Why then would you seek to reopen these still festering issues by proposing to turn the Upper Delaware into an unnecessary "Greenway"?

4. Your proposal that the Upper Delaware towns could receive grant money through the "Greenway" is disingenuous. As a very fine and effective state senator, I am sure you would have no trouble moving grant money to the river towns through other channels without the necessity of a "Greenway" designation.

5. Whether you admit it or not, the "Greenway" designation would place an unnecessary third layer of government (The Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic River, the Route 97 Scenic Byway and now the "Greenway") over the river towns.

6. A review of the national literature on "Greenways", including the attachments provided to you, the Upper Delaware Council and the river towns with my last letter, demonstrates that a "Greenway" designation begins a process that inevitably leads to regional zoning and an unnecessary curtailment of property rights.

7. A "Greenway" designation will be like the proverbial camel that puts its nose under the tent and eventually occupies the entire tent. Once started, "Greenway" status will become an attractive nuisance encouraging radical environmental groups and the "no growth" crowd to intervene in local affairs to the detriment of local taxpayers and property owners.

8. While I appreciate your promise that you will be the person writing the "Greenway" legislation, there is no way you can guarantee that at some future point when you are no longer in the legislature the regional zoning regulations and property acquisition elements found in other "Greenways" won't be imposed here. That is why it is best not to even start with such a designation.

9. I am shocked that your staff did not research the down side of this "Greenway" proposal for you. They have done you a great disservice by not doing so.

10. I have taken the liberty of contacting Ms. LaGrasse of the Property Rights Foundation of America and Chuck Cushman of the American Land Rights Association / National Inholders Association about your proposal which is now on their respective radar screens and could eventually become a national issue. You may remember that Mr. Cushman was a key figure in the initial battles over the Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic River twenty years ago.

11. In a telephone conversation with me, Mr. Cushman emphasized that strings are always attached to grants such as you are proposing under the "Greenway" designation and the towns had better understand this. I fail to understand why you think this is so much "free money" that won't ultimately erode the rights of local property owners and the towns and villages of the Upper Delaware.

12. Mr. Cushman, Ms. LaGrasse and other nationally known property rights advocates I have contacted agree that there is more to this proposal than meets the eye. They view this as a covert attempt by the National Park Service, hiding behind state agencies, to subvert the Upper Delaware Council and extend National Park Service control over tens of thousands of acres of privately owned real estate in the Upper Delaware Valley just as Congressman Hinchey originally tried to do along the Hudson. It is no secret that the National Park Service has coveted having that power over property owners along the Upper Delaware for many years.

13. For the reasons stated above, and in the correspondence previously sent to you and the river towns, the Independent Landholders Association continues to urge the Upper Delaware Council and all affected towns, villages and municipalities to send you resolutions expressing their disapproval of this proposal and to rescind any authorizations that may have been given before all the facts were known.

As I stated in my previous letter, you and I have met at a number of Sullivan County Republican and Conservative Party dinners. I look forward to sitting down with you at some future time over a cup of coffee to resolve these issues before they get out of hand.

Quite frankly, we don't need a "Greenway" here. It is a bad idea.


Noel van Swol
Independent Landholders Association

Telephone: 845-887-4728


cc: Property Rights Foundation of America
American Land Rights Association / National Inholders Association
All Upper Delaware Town, Village and City Officials, Upper Delaware Council Members and concerned community leaders


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