Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Hartford Planning Board Passed What? Part 2

New Hartford is either in the tank for certain developers, or its officials are dumber or weaker than we thought they were.

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 . . .

A NUISANCE.

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?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

The twon has been allowing the stripping of hill/woodlands for decades.And, as stated, this has resulted in severe damage to residents.At this point, all town development should be subjected to a Planned Development type zoning. This will require site treatment review and at least arm impacted property owners with additional legal ammunition. By the way, the Parkway shot is wonderful. It makes one warm to winter--- almost.

Anonymous said...

Good post Strikseslip...
this nonsense goes on all around this area not just good ol NH. Look at that poor horse farmer in Whitestown where they allowed the developer to denude the woods and vegetation next to his farm and created a "mess" and no development to date. they did the same thing behind the town park when Shannon wanted to build his proposed new town offices and clear cut several acres of woodlands, which quickly turned into an ATV park. now the woods and fields are so rutted they are a mosquito and deer fly haven and the terrain is too beat up for hikers or skiers to enjoy. Hopefully this area has reached a point where we will no longer allow senseless and unplanned development and clear-cutting.
It still irks me every time I drive by and see a Lowes and the Hartford where a beautiful orchard once stood. Lowes the Yaegers the developers and the Hartford all did a disservice to the community, and the town allowed this all to happen unchallenged.

Anonymous said...

Example..Jubilee Estates what a mess. Also the flooding in OxfordTowne downstream later
Example..Woodberry Rd problems since it was built.Who fixed it?? Tax dollars not the developers. No more free ride from these developers regardless who knows who or who it is. I for one am tired of paying for these people and those who think they are doing something for the tax base. Look at what it brought..bonding and a 45% tax increase.

Anonymous said...

But then there is the massive amounts of water flowing down Paris Rd then flowing left on to Campion Rd till it forms a lake at the post office and shopping center entrance. Those that can remember should remember that this never happened years ago.

Anonymous said...

It's crazy that the Town's taxpayers had to clean up the storm water mess at Jubilee Estates. You would think that the developer would've been grateful. He was so grateful that he sold two parcels on Oxford Rd to the Town for almost $100k so that the bond money could pay to install a proper detention basin. Thanks Bill Virkler!

Anonymous said...

Two points. In this country, we have what is called property rights. It is part of the very foundation of a democratic/capitalistic system.Laws governing the use of private property should be geared to maintaining the freedom associated with it with public safety, not someone's sense of what is beautiful and what is not. Development per se is not bad or evil. Communities do not stand still; they progress or contract. That does not mean that developers or landowners operate without contraint but any regulatory system ought to encourage the concept of private property rights. Second, the operator of this blog ought to be congradulated for it. Many interesting isues and questions get raised and discussed. It is a type of civic responsibilty and association that is extremely healthy for the area. Thanks, and merry Christmas.

Strikeslip said...

Excellent point about property rights, Anonymous.

Readers -- pay attention to what is happening all around us. The concept of private property is a keystone to our freedom. But private rights are being eroded, most significantly recently by the US Supreme Court in the Kelo v New Haven decision. Locally we see the erosion of property rights in the Water Authority's ignoring of old agreements with land owners along West Canada Creek. These are significant departures from the way business has been done in this country for hundreds of years . . . with the excuse being that these actions are for "the greater good."

Be Wary.

Anonymous said...

Property rights and development also come with responsibilty on the owners, developers and town officials part.
And unfortunately as we have seen all too commonly in the past few years, is there are too many irresponsible land owners, developers and government entities that do whatever THEY deem is right.
The NH Business Park is an excellent example of an owner who
sells a productive orchard to a developer, the developer convinces NH officials that if he builds the Hartford a new bldg, and the town provides the infastructure at taxpayers expense, the park will attract new tenants and prosper around this highly speculative project. Right now all I see besides controversy and confusion, is acres of trees cleared, millions of dollars in tax-payer paid infrastructure, depleted town coffers, no new jobs, and many vacant buildings in the surrounding area.
That is why there needs to be proper planning, laws and codes to protect the rights of ALL concerned. I am a small businessman and property owner in NH, and would love nothing better than to see a development (even on farm-land) that was a successful part of a cohesive and well thought out plan to bring new good-paying jobs to rebuild this crappy economy and to stop the population decline. But we desperately need to stop giving in to, and giving our taxes to; the big corporations and developers who take advantage of desperate communities and cash-strapped farmers. Loan or give the money to grow local small businesses, thats how this area was built, and that's how this area will have a ressurgence.

Anonymous said...

You're somewhat correct with one basic flaw. All that you mention was done with and through duly elected and/or appointed officials. That is the democratic process. The development philosophy you crticize took years and went back to the Kaiser administration or even before. It was up to the citizen/voter to elect and oversee the municipality's laws and regulations as well as how they were implemented.In other words, we live with whom we elect. That is the way our system works. And, as backup we do have legal remedies to challange misconduct.