This November’s Election Day gives Bethlehem town residents a chance to vote to protect historic farmlands and open space in our town. The market value of this beautiful land in Glenmont and Selkirk is $4 million and the owner is willing to sell it to us for $3 million. Thanks to forward-thinking and planning by the town, we already have the money needed to make the purchase. Then, when the land is purchased, easements will be put on the land to ensure it is preserved forever as farms and open space.
If the town decides not to buy the land, the current owner stated he will sell it for development. Just picture our town with this beautiful land turned into another giant housing development, or shopping mall, or even into an Amazon-style mega warehouse — how sorry we all will be. Not only will we lose much of the beauty of our town, but our taxes will also take a hit. New sewers, water systems, and roads, all will be built at our expense. There will be more demands on our police department and highway department and, if housing units are brought in, we have more crowded schools and taxpayers will also be saddled with the expense.
The American Farmland Trust reports that 2,000 acres of American farmland are paved over each day, and all around our town we can see what suburban sprawl is doing to us. Yet, a Washington University study shows that farmlands and open space bring higher property values to those living nearby. So, for all these reasons, I am voting YES on Prop 2 on Election Day. Let’s help keep farmers on our farmlands, let’s create parks for our children and let’s keep Bethlehem beautiful.