Proposal would change how communities in the Adirondack Park make changes to land

HORICON, N.Y. (NEWS 10) - Many people know of the Constitutional Convention ballot proposal and the one that would take away pensions from government officials convicted of corruption.

There is a third ballot proposal that is being left somewhat forgotten.

“There are 130,00 permanent residences in the Adirondack Park and about 130 little communities,” John Sheehan, Director of Communications for the Adirondack Council, said.

Yet if the town officials of these communities want to make any changes to the land around them, they have to go through the painstakingly long process of creating a constitutional amendment that has to be approved on a statewide ballot.

For example, this bridge located here in the Adirondacks was built over 100 years ago but has been closed since 2009 due to structural problems.

“We discovered that there is a 20 foot New York State-owned forest preserve property on both sides of the river that prevents us from constructing that bridge,” Matt Simpson, Horicon Town Supervisor, said.

This means until there is a constitutional amendment approved by voters statewide, the bridge can not get fixed. Right now, there is a detour around the bridge, but this can severely impact emergency and medical service response time.

“In a rural area where the response time is already extended so you add another 10 minutes and that’s critical time.”

This third ballot proposal would allow for up to 250 acres in the Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves to be used for changes such as this bridge, other road improvements and even broadband.

“Our project would only require less than two-tenths of an acre out of the 250 acres.”

“Before any land comes out of the forest preserve all 250 acres will be replaced by a state purchase so the forest preserve won’t suffer any loss in this,” Sheehan said.

Over the last 30 years, voters have approved six amendments allowing limited Adirondack changes such as constructing water wells.

There appears to be very little opposition to the ballot proposal; however, supporters are worried that many people will think this proposition is related to the constitutional convention proposal and will vote no.


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