When applicants approach the Ancram Planning Board with a project, Clerk Colleen Lutz prepares the Board with maps that show the site’s topography, soils, wetlands and other natural features. The maps help identify important natural resources such as wetlands and prime agricultural soils, and show the parcel in relation to the land around it. This information helps the municipality ask the right questions and make informed conservation and land use decisions early in the review process, which is also more efficient and cost-effective for the applicant. CONTINUE READING
Community Assistance News
CLC has been working with the County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board and the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation to craft a plan to support and promote local agriculture. Three public meetings are now underway to present and discuss the Draft Plan prior to it being considered for adoption by the County Board of Supervisors. A public hearing will also be scheduled at that time. CONTINUE READING
CLC has organized two ongoing “roundtables” to support local leaders in conservation and community land use efforts. The roundtables bring together leaders at the town level from across Columbia County to learn from each other and share resources.
One roundtable is for members of Conservation Advisory Councils (CAC), which can be appointed by town boards to advise local agencies, especially “time-strapped” planning boards, on issues related to conservation and natural resources. The most recent CAC Roundtable featured guest speakers from Hyde Park. CLC has developed a brochure about Conservation Advisory Councils that towns can use to inform their boards and local citizens about the advantages of having a CAC.
The Trails Roundtable builds off the success of the first Columbia County Trails Conference, organized by CLC in 2011. Advocates gather to discuss how to take advantage of the area’s abundance of abandoned railroad corridors, utility rights-of-way, and other linkages that could add up to a world-class countywide trail network. The next Trails Roundtable will be held in 2013 and will feature a guest speaker. Check back for additional information.
CLC is training municipal volunteers to utilize computer-generated maps in their planning and land use decisions. Last spring, more than three dozen volunteers selected by their town boards took part in trainings using simplified versions of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. They also received a data disk with extensive mapping of Columbia County’s infrastructure and natural resources which can now be used by those towns.
This training program, funded by the Hudson River Greenway, will be expanded in its second year with help from a Hudson River Estuary Program “mini-grant.” The additional funding allows CLC to partner again with Dutchess County Cornell Cooperative Extension’s GIS Resource Educator to offer the training. It also allows CLC to add a new workshop component: Nan Stolzenburg and Don Meltz of Community Planning and Environmental Associates will offer two workshops on the new Environmental Assessment Forms issued by NYSDEC that become mandatory for SEQR reviews on April 1, 2013. These workshops will also include information on GIS-based information resources to help in completing the forms. CONTINUE READING
The next round of public workshops is on October 3.
Columbia Green Community College
Open house starts at 6:30, workshop 7-9
The Columbia Land Conservancy commends DPW for its willingness to give this new mowing schedule a try. After they are closed, landfills are subject to regular monitoring and maintenance by law, but they are increasingly also being managed to support wildlife habitat and provide public recreational opportunities. The new mowing schedule will substantially enhance the habitat value of this property.
Ellen Jouret-Epstein, CLC Community Projects Manager