Town Board allocates funds to protect farmland

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On Tuesday evening, the Town Board of Red Hook held its first meeting of 2012. They welcomed Councilwoman Brenda Cagle to fill the seat formerly held by Micki Strawinski, who ran for County Legislature instead of standing for reelection. Returning to office were Supervisor Sue Crane and Councilman Harry Colgan, both reelected in November. Also present were Councilmen Bill O’Neill and James Ross, who are in the middle of their four-year terms.

The Board voted unanimously to spend $705,000 from the Community Preservation Fund, for the purchase of development rights of eight parcels along West Kerley Corners Road. The Town is responsible for approximately 25% of the overall cost of the project; 25% is being matched by Scenic Hudson and the Dutchess Land Conservancy, and 50% by the USDA. Over 420 acres of Red Hook farmland, held by 8 landowners, will be permanently protected from development. “I think it’s amazing that all the partners came together, and it’s wonderful to see the Community Preservation Fund in action,” said Councilwoman Brenda Cagle.

The Community Preservation Fund was established in 2006 by town referendum. It is funded by a 2% fee on the portion of real estate transactions which are over the median home value, which is approximately $230,000. It has accumulated $710,000 since taking effect.

The Town Board also continued its discussion of eliminating Red Hook’s term conservation easement program. A public hearing was set for 7:45 PM, in the Red Hook Town Hall, on February 14th.

There was discussion of vacancies in various town committees, including the Agriculture and Open Space Committee, the Community Preservation Fund Advisory Committee, the Conservation Advisory Council, the Design and Hamlet Review Committee, the Economic Development Committee, the Farmland Protection Board, the Greenway & Trails Committee, the Intermunicipal Shared Services Committee, the Intermunicipal Task Force, the St. Margaret’s Committee, and the Sister Cities Working Group, as well as two alternate positions to the Planning Board. Interested residents should contact Town Clerk Sue McCann at smccann@redhook.org or 758-4606.

Meetings of the Red Hook Town Board are held at 7:30 PM in Town Hall on the 2nd Tuesday and 4th Wednesday of the month.

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