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Bianco, Martorano Receive Sierra Club Endorsement

YORKTOWN, N.Y.—Councilmen Nick Bianco and Jim Martorano spoke of the importance of preserving open space in Yorktown, and received the endorsement from the Sierra Club Friday.

Bianco and Martorano, who are running for re-election in November, spoke at Granite Knolls, an example of how to preserve open space while still promoting active recreation and use of land, they said.

According to Bianco and Martorano, the reasons why people don’t support the preservation of open space is because they feel it costs the town money and because it doesn’t allow for business development—statements that the duo refuted Friday. “What they don’t realize is that it saves us money,” Bianco said.

Babette Ballinger of Green Yorktown and Susan Leifer of the Sierra Club were in attendance Friday to offer their support, and endorsement.

“They’ve developed business metrics that show how conserving space is more economically beneficial to the taxpayer than mixed used development, and I think that’s a really, really good thing, to verify and get the metrics for,” said Leifer, vice chairperson of the Sierra Club for the Lower Hudson Valley. “Having people who understand the value of open land and its importance, and who actually can show that it has business merit for the whole community, I think is really, really important.”

Ballinger noted that both of the councilman, Bianco, who is running for re-election on the Conservative and Republican lines, and Martorano, who is running as a Democrat, were able to work together in support of the environment.

“It’s a pleasure to have both parties, Republican and Democrat represented, by people who care about their community, who care about open space, who have a long sighted vision for the future of our town and understand that good economics is long-sighted vision,” Ballinger said. “Open space represents health, and the quality of life that we all came to Yorktown to achieve.”

Both councilmen said there has to be a balance between the progression of business and economic development, and preserving the natural beauty of Yorktown.

“It’s true, we’re business-friendly and we want to do everything to encourage business to come in because that’s something that we need. But we have to keep in mind that the space that we save is probably a more important legacy than any space that we build on,” Martorano said. “If we can preserve the bucolic nature of Yorktown, we can preserve the streams, the vistas, the rolling fields, we’ve done a lot.”

Bianco, who has served on the Conversation Board, as well as acted as a liaison to the Chamber of Commerce, stressed that it’s possible to still be business-friendly, and preserve open space.

“My job is to educate our fellow council people and Town Board members the value of open space, the economic benefit of open space,” Bianco said. “Yes, we want economic development, and there are appropriate things and appropriate places for it.”

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