This past December, Town Supervisor Michael Grace and Councilmen Greg Bernard, Tom Diana and Ed Lachterman voted to stop collecting the $30 open space fee. Their reasons were, “We have enough green space, so it is no longer needed,” and “We don’t have any pieces of property that we want to buy.” These statements are opinions; not facts. Parcels of land were brought to the town’s attention and ignored because that’s what they preferred to do.
Sounds like it has more to do with taking $400,000 from the open space fund and using it to shore up the town’s budget to keep it within the 2 percent property tax cap.
Forgotten is the promise of Sept. 5, 2000, at the Yorktown Town Board meeting, when Supervisor Linda Cooper said the $30 open space fee would be collected “forever.” The philosophy being that Yorktown will continually preserve open green space. Also, at that meeting, Mr. Bruce Barber shared the results of the town-wide survey, which stated that 85 percent of Yorktown residents were in favor of this fee and wanted to preserve open space.
What’s in a motto? Yonkers: “The City of Gracious Living” is a lot less gracious now. The Bronx: “Yield Not to Evil” is a lot less virtuous now. I lived in both and, like many, moved to Yorktown’s open green space.
Yorktown’s motto is “Progress with Preservation.” But if progress is our main focus, we will surely lose preservation. And I don’t hear much talk of preservation at Town Hall. There will always be real estate developers and lawyers who think preservation gets in their way of business.
Happy new year and enjoy nature.