CLC sponsors education and training programs on land use topics for municipal officials, volunteer boards, and community groups. These sessions are designed to equip communities with the information and skills needed to review, revise, and apply land use regulations and practices. Past topics have ranged from how to incorporate biodiversity in land use planning decisions to presentations on groundwater, stormwater management, and the role of conservation advisory councils. For more information, contact Christine Vanderlan at 518.392.5252, ext. 208 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Land Use Education and Events
RESOURCES FROM PAST COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE EVENTS
On Tuesday, November 19th, our Trails Roundtable welcomed guest speaker Craig Della Penna, a well-known rail trail advocate and former New England Field Representative for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy who has been involved with building trails throughout the northeast for over 15 years. Following a career marketing rail freight, Craig built a new life based upon trail advocacy with a suite of businesses that promote rail trail use — a real estate brokerage, art gallery, equipment rental business, and an award-winning bed & breakfast that sits 8 feet from a rail trail in Western Massachusetts. Craig has also written about the Rutland Line, a potential trail corridor that extends from Vermont down into Columbia County in New Lebanon and Chatham. You can view Craig’s Trails Roundtable presentation here.
A number of Columbia County towns have adopted laws allowing more flexible subdivision designs in exchange for setting land aside as open space. Typically known as conservation or cluster subdivisions, these developments require that open space be conserved permanently by means of a conservation easement. Conservation easements are legal agreements that are not widely understood. At the same time, easements as part of conservation subdivisions present a different set of circumstances and issues than those established by an individual landowner.
This workshop presented two perspectives on conservation development. George Rodenhausen, attorney with Rapport Meyers LLP, underscored the purpose of conservation design and how to achieve it through local laws and procedures.
Tony Colyer-Pendas, Columbia Land Conservancy’s Director of Conservation Development, discussed the ways that land trusts can help municipalities achieve the best outcomes.
A Better Way to Get There
Two Workshops on Rural Road Design & Management
Roads are a major part of our “rural character” in Columbia County. They also take the greatest share of our municipal budgets. Yet we may take for granted their role in environmental quality. This series addressed the many roles that roads can and do play – as major land use and social spaces, as transportation routes and scenic corridors, and through their impact on habitat, water quality and quantity.
This two-part series was design for all local elected officials including highway superintendents, as well as members of planning and zoning boards, zoning review committees, and conservation advisory councils.
The workshops were free of charge. Self-certification forms were provided for 2.0 credit hours for each session (4 hours total). Credit was awarded at the discretion of each municipality.
The GIS Working Group is a forum and support group for municipal volunteers who have participated in CLC-sponsored GIS (Geographic Information System) Map-Reading Trainings held in 2012-13. The trainings provided a package of basic software and interactive computer-based map data for Columbia County that can be used in community planning – for planning and zoning board reviews, comprehensive planning, conservation advisory councils work and similar purposes.
A workshop for municipal board members and interested residents that focused on the value of woodland pools and their wildlife, and the tools you can use to protect them in your community.
Part of an ongoing project to expand and improve Columbia County Trails.
CLC’s Land Use Series presented two trainings on the new NYSDEC Environmental Assessment Forms (EAF) for the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) on March 5 and 30, 2013. The trainings focused on the Short Environmental Assessment Form and the online “Workbook” that has been developed to help municipalities work through the SEQR process. The workbook for the Full EAF is available for public comment through May 20, 2013. The forms will become mandatory for use on October 7, 2013.
Nine Columbia County towns were represented at the Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) Roundtable. The highlight of the evening was a presentation by Claudia Knab-Vispo from the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program (FEP) on work they’ve done on floodplain forests in the County.
The 3rd Roundtable featured guests from the Town of Hyde Park, Emily Svenson, a Town Board member and former CAC member, and Michael Dupree, Planning Board Chair, who spoke about the evolution of their CAC and its relationship with the planning board, particularly how it helps them when working with applicants.
Green infrastructure practices use natural processes to filter pollutants from stormwater runoff and promote groundwater recharge. Learn about the benefits of green infrastructure and tour the library’s green practices.
The roundtable is open to anyone with an interest in Columbia County trails. It will follow up on the first Columbia County Trails Conference held in April 2011 as well as the tremendous planning and design work on county trails since the Conference. Come let us know what you and your group are up to, pool ideas on how to advance trail projects, or just listen in if you need help to get started on trail planning. Staff from the Hudson River Valley Greenway, National Park Service, and others will also join us.
Copake Town Hall
230 Mountain View Road
An update of current efforts to extend the Harlem Valley Rail Trail from Copake Falls to Hillsdale.
For more information, contact Tom Carty of Copake Hillsdale Rail Trail Alliance at 518.610.3008 or Ellen Jouret-Epstein at ellen@clctrustorg or 518.392.5252, ext. 208.
A workshop for municipal boards and interested residents on the importance of wetlands and woodlands for healthy water resources, the role local communities can play in protecting these resources, and the planning tools that can be used.. Featured speakers included Marilyn Wyman, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Greene County; Laura Heady and Karen Strong, Biodiversity Outreach Coordinators, Hudson River Estuary Program. The workshop included an exercise led by Gretchen Stevens, Director, Biodiversity Resources Center, Hudsonia Ltd.
Read notes from the second CAC Roundtable.
A workshop to help municipalities create ”agriculture-friendly” communities, based upon the American Farmland Trust (AFT) resource publication, Planning for Agriculture: A Toolkit for Towns and Counties.
We are holding a public forum to discuss policies around dogs at our public conservation areas. All are invited – people who love to walk their dogs at our public conservation areas and those who use the areas without their pet.
Did you know that there are 19 miles of trails on CLC’s Public Conservation Areas alone? That’s in addition to the other community trails and major trail networks that are underway in the county, including the northern extension of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and Kinderhook-Stuyvesant-Stockport Intermunicipal Trail. Our county has an abundance of abandoned railroad corridors, utility rights-of-way, equestrian trails, and other linkages that could add up to a world-class countywide trail network. Trails are important not only for recreation, education, and personal health, they are also increasingly recognized as an important component in community economic development. On April 2nd, 2011 we convened the first Columbia County Trails Conference on planning for community traills, and we’re enthusiastic about continuing to collaborate to improve trails in the County.
CLC’s introductory workshop on how to form and work with a Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) to protect important natural areas in your town. Many online resources are available.