2008 was a busy year at Town Hall. In March, the Gardiner Town Board passed the final installment of its revised zoning law and map for the town. This action completed a process that was started in 2002 and included the adoption of an updated Comprehensive Plan, the establishment of the Shawangunk Mountain Protection District and new regulations for Open Space Developments in town. Given the volatility of oil prices and the increased demand for wood-fueled heating, the Board also developed legislation overseeing timber harvesting and outdoor woodburning furnaces—trying to ensure environmental protections while providing residents with viable economic solutions.
In 2008 the Town Board continued its efforts to improve infrastructure in the town. Plans for sidewalks for the central hamlet have been submitted to the DOT for review; the incredibly controversial cell tower on Steve’s lane was extensively reviewed and finally approved; renovations for the Transfer Station (which was damaged in a fire) should be completed by the summer of 2009; and a proposed extension to the sewer system in the commercial light industry area is in the planning stages. The Open Space Planning and Finance Commission worked hard to establish a new program in town that will help to preserve open space and working farms. In conjunction with the Open Space Institute and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, an application was submitted to the state for the preservation of the Kiernan Farm, a grass-fed beef operation located at the base of the Shawangunk Mountains. Notification about this grant is expected in the spring.
Foremost on everyone’s minds for 2009 is assuring that costs are contained while providing residents with the services they need. Several new initiatives were discussed at the January kick-off meeting, including the development of an Emergency Management Plan, an effort to attract new businesses and support existing businesses, the web-casting of Town Board meetings, and an effort to explore new ways to support and promote regional agriculture.
We’re always looking for help. If you have any interest in getting involved, please send me an e-mail: Nadine@gunk.org. I’d love to hear from you!