Editorial

Three Wrongs Do Not Make A Right

We think that New York State Attorney General, Leticia James, is  very much over-reaching her authority by stepping into what is essentially a local municipal decision between the Town of Chester and a developer wanting to build a very large development of homes in a semi-rural community.  Communities in Orange County have struggled for years to retain its iconic farmland, scenic beauty and countryside identity.  In recent years the struggle has become all the more important now that we, along with all the other members of this earth, face serious questions about taking care of our land in a way that is sustainable.  Probably 98% of the community that wants to halt overdevelopment is doing so with just and serious concerns. And if there is 2% that have a particular bias unrelated to those environmental concerns, they are wrong.  But there are clearly 2% of those pushing for high density housing, and in fact housing that is often illegally restricted, often contrary to code, and therefore dangerous both to themselves and their neighbors,  and who express equally negative comments toward those they are in opposition to, and they are equally wrong.  Two wrongs do not make a right.  We certainly hope that the State Attorney General does not add to it by creating a Third Wrong.  New York has successfully followed Home Rule for a very long time. And it has succeeded for a good reason. There are municipal officials, including planning boards, zoning boards of appeals, and local courts to make these decisions.  They have watched a concerning situation grow, and understand all of the aspects involved, especially the local zoning and environmental protection regulations that help protect not just our views, but our water, and our ability to sustain local livestock, meat and vegetable farming that sustains a relatively healthy population.  Towns developed codes in our area over the last two decades with comprehensive planning that was intended to keep a lookout for when the ongoing building boom would begin to approach “build-out”; that is growth that is reaching its limit and no longer “sustainable”.  There has also been a question of “restricted marking”; questions of whether this and other developments will be open to persons of all races and religions.

We hope that Attorney General James takes the advice of several who responded to her announcement today to come and visit our local municipalities in Orange County, meet the preponderance of kind and gentle people, and have someone ‘in the know’ about planning and environment take her for a tour to the areas that have already extended past reasonable “build-out”. We hope she takes a step back, and has a chance to see the full picture of what is going on in our fast-growing communities, and understands the hopes of ALL in our communities, and that she gives a serious second thought to such a drastic decision.

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