Red Hook considers documenting conservation easement guidelines

Discussion tabled pending review by committees

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At its March 13 meeting, the Red Hook town board discussed adopting a drafted set of guidelines for residents who want to apply for conservation easements on their property, through either the Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program or the Community Preservation Fund (CPF). The guidelines would not change the process, but would help residents understand if they were qualified and what steps they should take.

Cari Watkins-Bates, Scenic Hudson’s Senior Land Project Manager, discussed the organization’s role in easement projects. She told the board that it was important for Scenic Hudson to know what projects the town considers a priority in order to best use its own resources. As such, she suggested that the town be the first point of contact for interested residents and that Scenic Hudson would be willing to sit in on meetings of the Agriculture and Open Spaces Committee.

Chuck Mead of Mead Orchards, who owns three parcels under Conservation Easement, said that the guidelines might be helpful to other farmers who are interested in participating in the program.

When a property is placed under a Conservation Easement, the property owner sells his or her right to develop property to a municipal body or organization, thus preserving the acreage as open space or farmland.

The board tabled the discussion until all relevant committees have had a chance to review the guidelines and offer input.

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