Committee members have been researching various avenues for safeguarding natural space, including options available in the state such as clustered subdivisions, planned unit developments, setting land conservation areas, and even putting fees on developers for the town to purchase and set aside undeveloped land.
Some town residents who already own property with historic significance and innate beauty have been working to create conservation easements with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC). Last month, the MHLC signed land conservation agreements protecting 141 acres with two land owners in the town of Glenville. Dudley Crauer's land located in Wolf Hollow and Calvin Schmidt's property along Hoffmans Fault will be permanently protected from development under terms of the conservation agreements, assuring the long-term protection of their properties.
"People worry they won't have any rights to build on their land if they enter this type of agreement," said Storti. "They want the freedom to put up a house for their son or daughter 10 years from now. These easements protect the space, but still give the owners a couple of lots to build on."
In December, the open space committee held a public forum to hear firsthand the thoughts, concerns, and visions of residents.
"We were thrilled to see that people want a voice in this, that there's a partnership; we're not here to be heavy-handed," said Storti.
One of the committee's major concerns is halting the prevalence of "fragmentation," where streets are boxed in without access to other roads nearby.
"All suburban towns face fragmentation where you can't get from one neighborhood to another," said Storti. "We need to bind those corridors so neighbors are able to visit one another without having to drive in other directions."
After watching the nearby town of Ballston spend months wrestling with updating the master plan and bracing against big-box development, Storti said his committee isn't averse to inking "mini master plans."