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Letter To The Editor: For Earth Day- An Environmental Vision For Yorktown

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YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- Yorktown Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email yorktown@dailyvoice.com .

On Earth Day the 22nd of April, many residents will participate in the “Battle of Yorktown;” hundreds of volunteers will be cleaning up roadside trash. I applaud these dedicated volunteers, and I will be joining them. However, many of us believe that Earth Day must be more than a one-day commitment; it must be a commitment for 365 days a year. I believe Yorktown can do better.

Ironically, on April 18th, during Earth Week, Yorktown’s Town Board will hold a public hearing on rewriting the Town’s Wetlands Ordinance. Many residents and environmental experts believe the proposed changes will endanger smaller existing wetlands; we’ve heard majority members of the Board describe them as “little puddles” and “wet blankets on a hot economy.” It is short-sighted to portray wetlands regulations as simply a barrier to development.

In September, the Board repealed the 2010 Tree Law and passed a new, weaker, law, despite public comment mostly opposing the changes and criticism by some members of the Tree Conservation Advisory Commission. The new law allows applicants whose applications are subject to conditions established by the Planning Board to have the conditions reviewed by the Town Board. Such power opens the process up to cronyism. In addition, the new law exempts the roughly 4,000 acres of town-owned property located in neighborhoods throughout the town. We need to revisit the law.

At the December 13th budget meeting, Supervisor Grace recommended eliminating the open space fund collection and diverting these monies into the General Fund, arguing that the Town owns enough open space. I believe that the Town should continue to acquire available open space that can enhance the quality of life of its residents. The members of the majority party on the Town Board have shown through their actions that they value unfettered development over environmental concerns. I hope to gather more ideas that promote green energy and development to build a sustainable Yorktown. It’s time for a change.

Mel Tanzman, Democratic candidate for Yorktown Supervisor

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