#LetterToTheEditor #YourVoice #SpotlightNews
Dear Spotlight Editor:
The landscape of our town is rapidly changing and by the end of 2019, Bethlehem may not look much like it does today. I’m not against change, but rapid change and overdevelopment gives me cause for concern. I know many of you are probably thinking these are all done deals and there is nothing left to be said. Perhaps many of you welcome the changes and have no concerns. In any event, I hope we are willing to welcome all viewpoints and understand that through hearing everyone we reach the best solutions. I understand there have been public hearings on these issues, but I’m not sure that the majority of residents have spoken or have been heard.
Overdevelopment and Loss of Town Character: Supervisor VanLuven in the Dec. 19, 2018, issue of The Spotlight states there is nothing the town can do about development and they must allow landowners to do what they want. I think even he would agree that’s a bit naïve and the town has several tools to influence land decisions. The town’s tax policy has encouraged the sale of land by many large landowners, the comprehensive plan and zoning law have failed to adequately gear development to appropriate areas, and the zoning board of appeals has allowed many developers to overdevelop parcels in contradiction to the comprehensive plan and zoning law by granting variances. There is now a survey to determine if open space preservation is important. Of course it is. Open space preservation isn’t only about the town buying land to preserve it. It’s also about making smart development decisions so that green space and trees are preserved when development takes place.
Roundabouts: Despite the current talking points about roundabouts, I just don’t see how they are pedestrian friendly. I just don’t see how any of 9W is pedestrian friendly. Despite the hundreds of times I’ve travelled through the four Slingerlands roundabouts, I’ve only seen a pedestrian once and have never seen a bicyclist. The one pedestrian I did see was a scared looking teenager. I almost pulled aside and yelled for him to jump in my car and I would get him to safety. Talk about a road that desperately needs to be made pedestrian and bicycle friendly. This intersection desperately needs improvement, but can we take a step back and look at the larger picture and let’s give the people who live in Glenmont some of the character, charm, and safety that those in Delmar enjoy.
If you are concerned and have questions, take a moment to email or call your town supervisor and town board to let them know. Even one sentence will do to let them know if you are concerned. They have already heard from the special interests groups promoting their agendas and the vocal minority. They have already said they have decided these are the best options. We have already heard the same sales pitches and been told they never hear from residents.