New land conservation agreements to protect Glenville properties

The Schmidt property is mostly wooded and is traversed by Hoffman's Fault. The geological features of the property include a sink hole and springs, as well as unique habitats for diverse plant species.

The MHLC is a nonprofit, community-based organization with a mission to protect land for its natural, recreational, scenic, historical, or productive value. MHLC is working to seal the future of properties with scenic vistas which are often snapped up for housing development, as well as land with scientific, historic or archeological significance.

Local lands needing protection often contain dramatic geological features or historical attributes like Crauer's, once inhabited by Native Americans. The MHLC also seeks to preserve stream and trail corridors that provide access to hiking trails, are wetlands or contain other natural wildlife habitats. The MHLC has set its sights on preserving land in the Hudson and Mohawk River cor-ridors and the Pine Bush in Albany County.

One of the reasons commonly given by people who favor more development of unused property is that the tax base will be broadened, but Jill Knapp, executive director of the MHLC, said this is a myth.

"Evidence shows development does not bring a net gain for taxes," she said.

"Studies show that open space demands far less in services than it pays in tax dollars, but developed land takes out much more in services than it puts in."

Because protected open space is viewed as a good neighbor, the value of nearby properties is often increased, so the value of nearby properties may increase.

"In the long run, the preservation of open space costs the community less than development," said Knapp.

The MHLC, however, does not completely oppose development. "Land trusts do support development when it is well planned to fit the natural, historical and pastoral elements of the area being developed," said Knapp.

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