SPECIAL MEETING OF THE TOWN BOARD
OF THE TOWN OF SARATOGA, 12 SPRING ST.,
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Supervisor Thomas Wood opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance
at 1:03 p.m.
Roll call: Linda McCabe, Town Clerk, called the roll. Supervisor Thomas Wood- present, Councilman Charles Hanehan- absent, Councilman Michael McLoughlin – present, Councilman James Jennings – present, Councilman Gary Squires - present
Also present: No one.
Supervisor Thomas Wood explained that due to the absence of Councilman Michael McLoughlin at the regular Town Board meeting last night, there was no quorum and therefore no vote took place on Resolution #16-37. The special meeting held today is due to the deadline for the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) applications with Saratoga County and since he and Councilman Charles Hanehan must recuse themselves due to being related to the applicants, there must be a quorum to vote. Supervisor Thomas Wood then turned the meeting over to Deputy Supervisor Councilman Michael McLoughlin.
On a motion by Councilman Michael McLoughlin and seconded by Councilman James Jennings, the following Resolution #16-37- Purchase of Development Rights – Allen W. Wood II was adopted by vote: Supervisor Thomas Wood - recused, Councilman Charles Hanehan – absent, Councilman Michael McLoughlin – aye, Councilman James Jennings – aye, Councilman Gary Squires – aye.
Carried 3 – 0 (1 recusal )
PURCHASE OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS
ALLEN W. WOOD II PROPERTY
Offered by Councilman Gary Squires
Seconded by Councilman James Jennings
At a special meeting of the Town Board of the Town of Saratoga, County of Saratoga, State of New York, held on January 12, 2016 the following resolution was made as indicated above.
WHEREAS, Wild Wood Farms, The Wood Family Irrevocable Trust, Allen W. Wood II is the owner of certain real property (the “Property”) consisting of approximately 68.31+/- acres on Tax Map Parcel #157.-1-60, located on Grange Hall Road, in the Town of Saratoga, Saratoga County, New York. The Property also includes an abutting parcel approximately 47.92+/- acres on Tax Map Parcel #157.-1-1 along Grange Hall Road in the Town of Northumberland, Saratoga County, New York totaling 116.23+/- acres of viable agricultural land to be placed under a permanent conservation easement ; and
WHEREAS, Saratoga PLAN is a New York not-for-profit corporation within the meaning of Article 49, Title 3 or the Environmental Conservation Law of the State of New York (together with any successor statute, the “ECL”), is organized for, among other purposes, conserving real property, is a tax exempt and qualified organization within the meaning of Sections 501(c)(3), 509(a) and 170(b) (1)(A)(vi) of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”), and is a “qualified organization” to accept, purchase and hold conservation easements under Section 170(h) of the Code of Treasury Regulation Section 1.170A-14(c) ; and
WHEREAS, Article 14, Section 4 of the New York Constitution States: “The policy of this state shall be to conserve and protect its natural resources and scenic beauty and encourage the development and improvement of its agriculture lands for the production of food and other agricultural products”; and
WHEREAS, Section 49-0301 of the ECL states: “The legislature hereby finds and declares that in order to implement the state policy of conserving, preserving and protecting its environmental assets and natural and man-made resources, the preservation of open spaces, the preservation, development and improvement of agricultural and forest lands,...is fundamental to maintenance, enhancement and improvement of...balanced economic growth and quality of life in all areas of the state”; and
WHEREAS, the property is located within Saratoga County’s Agricultural District #1, created pursuant to Article 25-AA of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law (the “AML”). Section 300 states: “It is hereby found and declared that many of the agricultural lands in New York State are in jeopardy of being lost for any agricultural purposes. When nonagricultural development extends into farm areas, competition for limited resources results…it is, therefore, the declared policy of the State to conserve, protect and encourage the development and improvement of its agricultural land for production of food and other agricultural products…It is the purpose of this article to provide a locally-initiated mechanism for the protection and enhancement of New York State’s agricultural lands as a viable segment of the local and state economies and as an economic and environmental resource of major importance”, and
WHEREAS, Article 25-AAA, Section 321 of the AML states: “It is hereby found and declared that agricultural lands are irreplaceable state assets. In an effort to maintain the economic viability and environmental and landscape preservation values associated with agriculture”, the Commissioner is authorized to administer programs to assist counties in developing agriculture and farmland protection plans to assist both county and municipal governments in the implementation of such plans. The Commissioner gives priority to projects that will preserve viable agricultural land, are located in areas facing significant development pressure and serve as buffer for a significant natural public resource containing important ecosystem or habitat characteristics”; and
WHEREAS, the Property is located within Saratoga County, which adopted an Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan in December, 1997 and a Green Infrastructure Plan in November, 2006. The Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan recommends:
a. Support Local PDR Projects
i. “Encourage partnerships between landowners, local governments, private organizations and the county to leverage access to existing state and
federal funds for purchase of development rights (“PDR”).
b. Support Agricultural Conservation Easements
i. “Encourage landowners to learn more about private conservation options
like conservation easements and promote public-private partnerships to expand these efforts”.
The Green Infrastructure Plan recommends:
c. “Help county municipalities and other partners create protection priorities, goals and strategies for the conservation of natural heritage” (pg. 67)
d. Create greenway corridors between natural system hubs, and
WHEREAS, the Property is located within the Town of Saratoga which has adopted a Comprehensive Plan in February 2002. The Plan identifies agriculture as the most important industry in Saratoga, vital to the town’s economic well-being. The Plan recommends:
a. Preserve and encourage agricultural use within the town (pg. 2-1)
i. “Encourage public, private and not for profit groups to purchase or secure by other means development rights from farmland while allowing agricultural use to continue”
b. “Preserve and protect the unique natural areas and plant and animal communities within the town” (pg. 2-2)
i. “Encourage private groups such as Saratoga PLAN to implement conservation easements to protect the town’s unique environmental areas”; and
WHEREAS, the Property consists primarily of productive agricultural land; the Property contains 44% prime soils and 28% soils of statewide importance as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Services; and
WHEREAS, Saratoga PLAN determined that accepting this Easement on the Property will enhance the long-term agriculture values of the Property and promote the use of soil conservation practices, which will further Saratoga PLAN’s charitable purposes of protecting the distinctive rural character of Saratoga County and its lands and waters of significant historic and ecological value; and
WHEREAS, Wild Wood Farms, the Wood Family Irrevocable Trust, Allen W. Wood II, and Saratoga PLAN agree that the purpose of the agricultural conservation easement will be to conserve Viable Agricultural Land by preventing the conversion of the Property to non-farm uses. In achieving such prevention the Property shall be forever reserved for continued Agricultural Use, now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the Town of Saratoga Town Board passed a Resolution on January 12, 2016 at a special Town Board meeting to endorse the submission of an application from Saratoga PLAN, in cooperation with Saratoga County Planning Department, to New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for funding to purchase Development Rights on Wild Wood Farms, the Wood Family Irrevocable Trust, Allen W. Wood II Property and for Saratoga PLAN to hold and uphold a perpetual conservation easement on the land.
Councilman Michael McLoughlin made a motion, seconded by Councilman James
Jennings to adjourn at 1:14 p.m. Supervisor Thomas Wood – aye, Councilman Charles Hanehan – absent, Councilman Michael McLoughlin – aye, Councilman James Jennings – aye, Councilman Gary Squires – aye.
Carried 4 - 0