In a sidebar to yesterday's OD story, it was reported that the Planning Board approved an expansion of the Jewel Ridge development . . . but not without a warning from newest member Elisabetta DeGironimo:
“We’re deforesting the area on top of a watershed,” she said. “I just worry that the town is letting projects be approved that create storm water problems later.”Hello ... Is Anybody Listening?
The Planning Board was warned that the project would create problems off-site, but it went ahead and approved it anyway? I'm sorry, but this just defies common sense . . . and demonstrates that officialdom is more concerned about possible legal repercussions from developers than the health and safety of its residents.
Based on Ms. DeGironimo's statement, it appears that the Town is authorizing . . .
Modern environmental law is grounded in the law of nuisance. Essentially, you can enjoy the use of your own property as long as you do not interfere with your neighbor's use of their property. That's a pretty simple concept that even school children understand. If you foolishly denude your hillside and cause runoff to flow onto your neighbor's property, you have interfered with your neighbor's use of his or her property, you have created a nuisance, and you can be enjoined by a court of law to abate it. But why let the situation get that far? Isn't this why we have planning boards? . . . to anticipate problems and place conditions on projects to stop problems from developing?
The Town of New Hartford knows full well that it has fallen down on the job when it comes to protecting its residents from storm water. The runoff problem has become a public nuisance, and has necessitated taxpayer expenditures on solutions . . . solutions that should have been implemented by the developers that caused the problems. But even after passing a $2M stormwater bond and spending hundreds of thousands on culverts, etc., the old pattern of approving developments that will cause problems continues.
If Town Government is unwilling or incapable of protecting its residents, why have it at all?