Shandaken seeks status as Greenway Community

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Shandaken Town Council voted to become a Greenway Community at this month’s board meeting. The vote was unanimous in favor although Councilman Vince Bernstein was absent.
There was little discussion about the measure among board members, but some in the audience needed reassurance that property rights would not be stepped on.
According to Councilwoman Doris Bartlett the designation would have no direct impact on land use.
“They (the Hudson River Greenway Communities Council) can’t change our zoning in any way,” she said.
The Hudson River Valley Greenway Act of 1991 created a process for voluntary regional cooperation among the 242 communities in the 13 counties in the Hudson River Valley. These include both “riverside” communities that border the Hudson River and “countryside” communities with no physical connection to the Hudson River but within the geographic boundary of the Greenway area.
The Greenway works with communities on a voluntary basis to assist in the development of local land use plans and programs related to the Greenway criteria, providing technical assistance and funding for community planning projects. Projects can be undertaken by a single community to address local issues or a group of communities working together to address both local and regional issues.
Typical grants range from $5,000 - $10,000, with greater financial assistance available for projects involving two or more municipalities.
The Greenway Communities Council, a state agency, works with local and county governments to enhance local land use planning and create a voluntary regional planning compact for the Hudson River Valley. The council provides community planning grants and technical assistance to help communities develop a vision for their future and tools to achieve it by balancing economic development and resource protection objectives.
The “Greenway Criteria” identified in the Greenway Act are the basis for the Greenway program, providing an overall vision for voluntary local Greenway plans and projects.
The Criteria include:
Natural and Cultural Resource Protection: Protect, preserve and enhance natural and cultural resources including natural communities, open spaces, historic places, scenic areas and scenic roads.
Regional Planning: Encourage communities to work together to develop mutually beneficial regional strategies for natural and cultural resource protection, economic development, public access and heritage and environmental education.
Economic Development: Encourage economic development that is compatible with the preservation and enhancement of natural and cultural resources with emphasis on agriculture, tourism and the revitalization of existing community centers and waterfronts.
Public Access: Promote increased public access to the Hudson River through the creation of riverside parks and the development of the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail System with linkages to the natural and cultural resources of the Valley.
Heritage and Environmental Education: Promote awareness among residents and visitors about the Valley’s natural, cultural, scenic and historic resources.