Town merges two land preservation committees

Preservation fund advisors and farmland protection group unite

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The Red Hook Community Preservation Fund Advisory Committee and the Farmland Protection Committee have been merged into a single entity.

At the April 26 Town Board meeting, the consolidation proceeded with the approval of the chairpersons of both committees, who will now jointly co-chair the consolidated committee. The measure was passed unanimously.

Discussions about consolidation had been ongoing for several months. Both committees played an active role in guiding landowners through the process of selling development rights to their property and obtaining conservation easements and advising the town government on what farmland and conservations priorities should be.

According to the resolution that passed, merging the committees will “assist the town in providing for consistent, coordinated and prompt review“ of applications for conservation programs. There was unanimous agreement among the board members that consolidating the committees would also improve efficiency without compromising the mission.

The Agriculture and Open Space Committee will remain independent. There had been some discussion of merging all three committees, but it was decided that Agriculture and Open Space’s mission was broader than dealing with land use and conservation programs. As such, it will remain a place for general discussion on agricultural activity in the town.

Cari Watkins-Bates, of Scenic Hudson, said that streamlining the committees would also help land conservation organizations better identify and assist with viable projects in the area.

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