The Town Board, spearheaded by Supervisor Michael Grace, recently changed our tree ordinance to make it easier to cut down trees on private property. The new ordinance also does not cover the town. (Less than a week after it happened, I discovered that the town had cleared a huge swath of trees in some town-owned open space I hike in, with no notice to neighbors.) Many people came to the public hearing to speak out against this, but the board enacted the new law anyway. I don’t recall anyone from the board who voted for this campaigning on this issue or mentioning it at all during their campaigns. I didn’t notice any groundswell of public opinion demanding changes. But they did it anyway.

Now the Town Board, again spearheaded by Supervisor Michael Grace, is about to change the town’s set aside law, which requires that 10 percent of new housing developments over a certain size be affordable housing. They want to repeal it completely, and replace it with a “density” law that will produce little if any affordable housing. Again, I don’t recall anyone from the board campaigning on this issue or mentioning it at all during their campaigns. I didn’t notice any groundswell of public opinion demanding changes. In fact, at the first public hearing, a large number of people turned out to vociferously oppose the repeal of the set aside law. Only one or two people supported it. But in conversations with board members, it appears they are prepared to repeal the set aside law.

What do these two things have in common? These changes help developers. The new tree ordinance makes it easier for developers to cut down the trees they want without the pesky involvement of the public. Repealing the set aside law means developers will make even greater profits without contributing to affordability of housing in Yorktown, even if their developments have a negative impact on affordability of housing. Who cares if your adult kids still live in your basement? Supervisor Grace and the men on the board who follow him (Ed Lachterman, Gregory Bernard and Tom Diana) know what’s best and that’s what’s best for developers.

Please come out to the adjourned date of the public hearing on the set aside law at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1, to tell the board that they need to work for the best interests of the people in this town, not the developers who just want to make profits here and leave.