Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 02.17.22

PFOA SAGA No. 9 – And Off Came the Wheels

As the wheels come off this amateur hour whitewash taking place in Poestenkill, the script of which reads like a low-budget, comic opera version of Theater of the Absurd, anyone who can think for themselves who has been following this on-going farce of an “investigation” into the source of the PFAS in the groundwater of Poestenkill’s “Blighted Zone” that surrounds the Poestenkill transfer station is well aware of the plain fact that we were being hoodwinked when we are told by DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Sean Mahar, the nice suit and haircut from DEC who was present at the now famous Wohlleber/Enck media circus in Poestenkill on 27 September 2021, in a NEWS 10 article titled “Officials no closer to finding source of PFOA contamination in Poestenkill, says councilmember” by Richard Roman that “We have extensive investigative work underway in this community to evaluate any potential sources of groundwater contamination in the vicinity of the Middle School, and have already preliminarily ruled out several potential sources including the transfer station and Poestenkill landfill.”

Indeed, an article titled “On PFOA in Poestenkill” in the August 26, 2021 Advertiser raised that question, to wit:

And as we go from floods in Sand Lake to PFOA in the groundwater serving the Algonquin Middle School in Poestenkill, are we looking at another cover-up or whitewash in the making?

And now, thanks to Freedom of Information, we know conclusively that the answer is yes.

No DEC experts were working directly with the county and the town in a coordinated, science-based approach to investigate this issue and take action.

To the contrary, the only coordinated, science-based approach the record shows was DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Sean Mahar coordinating with the county and Poestenkill to lie to us about the transfer station not being the source of the PFAS in our water.

So as the wheels come, we are left to wonder why so many bought the lie as the truth.

Paul Plante, Poestenkill

North Greenbush Greenspace Fees Need a Closer Look

The pandemic has shown the importance of outdoor recreation as people took to bike paths, hiking trails and parks to stay fit and combat isolation in a socially distanced manner. Many local communities in Rensselaer County have responded by improving their parks or working with local land conservancy groups to expand trails and preserves open to the public. 

Research has shown that bike paths and hiking trails also have a positive economic impact as people often stop for meals or other items following their outdoor activity. There are a variety of ways to fund public outdoor spaces, but one established method is the collection of “greenspace” fees from developers of local real estate projects. The rationale behind these fees is that they compensate the community for the loss of greenspace that the new development will occupy. 

In theory, the greenspace funds collected should be used to preserve undeveloped land for recreational purposes and for open space. The town of North Greenbush town and planning boards are considering or will soon consider proposals that will add hundreds of new condominium and apartment units. The local law setting the greenspace fees was enacted over a decade ago and is currently a one-time $600 fee per unit. When these fees were set, it was unusual for the price of a townhouse in North Greenbush to exceed $250,000 and rents for two bedroom apartments were seldom more than $1,200. Yet many of the newly proposed apartments are projected to rent for about $2,000 per month and condominium prices will be r at least $300,000. The large number of proposed apartments and condominiums will have a significant and permanent impact on the town’s dwindling reserves of open space. The town board must consider enacting an increase in these greenspace fees so that they are more in line with increased rents and housing costs. Open space in town is disappearing and no new parks have been created in some time. Mary Frances Sabo North Greenbush

Mary Frances Sabo

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