The first thing we want to look at is the new administration in Town Hall. Supervisor Sherwood has shown an interest in allowing greater public input at Town Council meetings. There is a sign-in sheet at the entrance for those who wish to speak at the public input portion of the meeting; and the Supervisor has been allowing adequate time for each speaker to be heard. We certainly applaud him for this!
Also noteworthy is that the Supervisor and Town Board are moving ahead with the creation of an "updated"Master Plan (the current one was adopted in 1995). The town has changed much since the last Master Plan was adopted in 1995. We hope that the topwn will appoint residents to the Committee who have demonstrated an interest in good planning for the town. We need to look ahaed not only a year or two, but twenty and thirty years!
Our town faces a number of new challenges, especially since Mirant Corp. closed and demolished the Lovett Generating Plant. This has been an enormous financial blow to the town, compounded by the recent announcement that US Gypsum is closing the Stony Point plant. The State, which is having serious financial difficulties has announced that it is closing the Stony point Battlefield. This, if it stands, can have a very negative effect on our town. The Battle of Stony Point was one of the first American victories over the British in the Revolutionary War, and ia An important part of local, as well as, national history—- and Stony Point's economic development
The Town Board has constitiuted a new Economic Development Committee, chaired by Councilwoman Luanne Konopko, with the very able assistance of Steve Porath, who is not only a resident, but also Director of the County's REDC (Rockland economic Development Council). A number of interested residents have shown up for the first of many meetings. We believe that a full involvement of the public is the best way to find answers to difficult problems. The Town Board has indicated that they will be following this principle with the new Master Plan Committee. We certainly hope they do make this a truly (!) transparent procedure that will incorporate all the public—not just a select few!
SPACE has also been involved with the State's review of the SEQRA process,and we have had input into the procedure. A recommendation of ours, that appears tohave been considered, is for a method of resolving SEQRAdisputes without the need to resort to an Article 78 lawsuit. There is also currently a dispute between the State, towns, and SEQRA over when public input is allowed. It seems that there is a disparity in the law that currently will not permit public input until an application is "complete" meaning the lead agency has made it's SEQRAfinding (Positive Declaration meaning there is an environmnetal impact that is severe,or Negative Impact meaning there is no sever impact). This may require the state to clarify the law, and is obviously something SPACE will work to cure!
SPACE's own Susan Filgueras is organizing more historic roundtables, and we hope to post shortly, our new schedule.
...and keep an eye out for SPACE's 20th Anniversary Picnic! Of course, we can use some help putting it together. SPACE has accomplished a great deal in the last 20 years, we have a reason to celebrate! If you can help, please contact us!