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Maps draw protests

Residents in the town of Ballston are concerned that their property may be in danger because of open space resource maps that the land conservancy commission is using to identify lands targeted for preservation.

The maps are available on the Internet and point out lands that are deemed scenic, historic, agricultural or environmental.

Recently, the town has experienced increasing pressure for development at the cost of open space.

At the town board meeting on July 6, Joyce Bracht of Devils Lane expressed her concern about the LCC trying to target property owned by residents as potential land for preservation. Bracht said she did not want the LCC coming in and taking her land away. She asked the board to get rid of the LCC.

Another resident, Linda Lambert of Eastline Road, said she did not like the maps, which showed her property, to be available online.

It's an invasion of people's right to privacy, she said.

Councilwoman Mary Beth Hynes said all property maps are public record, and anyone can view them.

The town board created the LCC in 1994 to deal with the issue of decreasing farmland and open space because of increasing residential development.

The LCC's main goals are to evaluate potential open space parcels, consider the use of various preservation techniques and recommend policies for preserving agriculture and open space.

The LCC has been using the open space maps as a way of reaching its goals.

Town board candidate Patti Southworth said the panic that residents are feeling because of the LCC is another example of poor communication between town government and the people.

Southworth said when residents called town hall to ask questions about what the LCC was doing, no one could give an answer.

"There is no excuse for that," she said. "Town government needs to be transparent."

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