Open space program moves ahead in Bethlehem

Some local landowners wary of group’s role

— Some large landowners within the town continue to be upset by the Town Board’s decision to go forward with its new open space program.

The Bethlehem Town Board approved the program on Wednesday, March 12, but some residents previously said they felt the new program would allow large quantities of land to be taken off the tax rolls, and landowners could potentially have some of their property rights taken away.

“You want the town to maintain some of its rural character,” said resident Nancy Neff to the Board, “as do the people who own the lands, or they wouldn’t have continued to hold on to them for so long. However, in this constant need to preserve and control, the town is increasing the burden and taking away the pleasure of working the land.”

Neff said she was also concerned that no one who was appointed to the open space committee was a large landowner, and if the town opted to enact new laws concerning open space, landowners would be forced to cooperate instead of willingly participating.

“It seems like an act of coercement,” she said.

Others felt the program was greatly needed, as open space has been a major issue in the town for more than a decade.

Officials and residents have worked to make sure there is a balance between new development and land preservation, and a number of former citizens groups have discussed the topic, such as the Citizens Advisory Committee on Conservation and the more recent Comprehensive Plan Assessment Committee.

The new program is meant to create the criteria the town deems most important, such as recommending the preservation of land, establishing a capital reserve fund for purchases and working on outreach. Once land was obtained, it would also be the group’s mission to decide what would be the best way to preserve the land, through zoning or a land trust.

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keithwiggand 1 year, 10 months ago

Well, received the new assessments on our properties yesterday. Increase of ONLY $412,000.00.

At current rates, that means a tax increase of $9,426.00 in School, and $4,131.00 in Land.

Total increase $13,557.00. What orifice am I going to pull this out of??


Almost all of the increase is on our open, unused land that we let everyone else use for hunting, 4-wheeling, snowmobiling, hiking, etc. etc. etc.

My family has been here for almost 200 years. NEVER put up a posted sign, gate, or any other thing that would discourage our friends and neighbors from using OUR LAND. Our land is covered with trails for people to walk on and enjoy. 12 miles of trails are on ours and adjoining landowners properties, and you won't see a single posted sign.

My family has given land away so the Glenmont firehouse could be built. My family has given land away so the Glenmont Church could be built. My family has given up land-for pennies on the dollar-so the Henry Hudson Park could be built.

Great way to treat people. Just wonderful.

THIS is how the Town of Bethlehem takes care of landowners. THIS is how the Town of Bethlehem encourages keeping GREEN SPACE, which is their favorite topic to talk about.

They don't seem to get it that landowners are the BEST stewards of the land, NOT government.

Notice how much property is for sale in town? Notice how many people are logging their property? Notice all the apartment buildings and crappy looking subdivisions that are being built?

Anyone want to buy a whole bunch of open land?


Welcome to BETHLEHEM.


RufusCornpone 1 year, 10 months ago

Liberals live in a snow globe world...


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